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Bahraini regime urged to stop trying civilians before military courts

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This file picture shows the entrance to the building of Bahrain’s Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs in the capital Manama.

A non-governmental human rights body in Bahrain has called upon the Manama regime to stop trying civilians before military courts and to abolish death penalty, as the ruling Al Khalifah regime presses ahead with its clampdown on human rights activists.

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), in a report published on Friday, pointed to violations against Bahraini civilians during military trials, stating that defendants were slapped with death sentences in most cases.

“The Military Judiciary does not apply the safeguards of fair trials given in article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” the BCHR’s report read.

“Defendants at the Military Prosecution do not enjoy the basic rights such as the right to defend themselves against the charges,” it said.

The rights group further noted that civilian defendants appearing before the military’s judiciary, which is not subject to legal and human rights observations, are “in danger of being subjected to torture, physical coercion, and detention in solitary confinement.”

The BCHR then called on the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to urge the Manama regime to reform its judicial system.

Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the country in mid-February 2011.

They are demanding that the Al Khalifah regime relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established. Manama has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent. On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to assist Bahrain in its crackdown.

On March 5, 2017, Bahrain’s parliament approved the trial of civilians at military tribunals in a measure blasted by human rights campaigners as being tantamount to imposition of an undeclared martial law countrywide.

Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah ratified the constitutional amendment on April 3, 2017.

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