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Human Rights Watch finds instances of Torture used to gain confessions in trials in Bahrain


The Bahraini courts have sentenced prisoners to the death penalty, violating the state’s laws. HRW is concerned with the safety and the fair trial of the prisoners. In October, a report that describes the situation the prisioner have to deal with on a daily base.

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Since 2011, Bahraini courts have sentenced 51 people to the death penalty. According to Human Rights Watch (‘HRW’), Bahraini courts with the death penalty violate the human rights (‘HR’) of those indicted, inhibiting their right to a fair trial.

In Bahrain, executing capital punishment requires the monarch’s consent. Therefore, the men have not been executed because of the lacking consent. Crimes in Bahraini legislation stipulates that “serious crimes” are punishable by the death penalty. These “serious crimes” include apostasy and drug trafficking, which, comparably, would not be considered “serious” in other jurisdictions.

The death penalty is not forbidden under international law; however, it is not promoted or encouraged by international law. Most countries find the death penalty cruel and too definite as punishment. The violation of HR does appear when international organisations inspect prisons. Women state that they are tortured and raped after being brought to the police station and arrested during a protest.  The violation of HR is not only with the death penalty in Bahrain, but other human rights are not respected.

The report of the HRW states that in multiple cases, defendants were convicted based on confessions obtained through poor treatment and torture. According to the reports, the courts have not applied the requirements of International and Bahraini law.  Both oblige the courts to investigate any instances of torture and ill-treatment. Confessions of this nature can only be admitted into evidence once the investigation finds no instances of torture.

Michael Page, Deputy Middle East director at HRW, stated:

“The many human rights violations that underlie these death sentences reflect not a justice system but a pattern of injustice”.

“Bahraini officials routinely proclaim that the government respects fundamental human rights, but in case after case, courts relied on coerced confessions despite defendants’ credible claims of torture and ill-treatment”.

ACHRS expresses concern over the men that are on death row. ACHRS condemns the violation of their right to a fair trial and life. These convicted men face execution due to false confessions.

ACHRS encourages Bahrain to improve its legal system to support fair trials and sentences.

Picture source: AFP (Agence France-Presse )

(, HRW, Death Penalty Information, Al Jazeera and BBC UK)

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