For Immediate Release: June 22, 2011
Washington, D.C.—Today, verdicts of 21 defendants were pronounced in Bahrain’s large political show trial. The verdicts expose the travesty of Bahrain’s military courts, and make the prospects of reconciliation even more remote, said Human Rights First.
“This was not a fair or proper legal process by any standard—there was evidence of torture, denial of proper contact with lawyers and failure to provide basic legal safeguards. This was a sham trial, another stain on Bahrain’s already discredited human rights record,” said HRF’s Brian Dooley, who was refused entry to observe the court hearings on May 12.
Eight of the 21 defendants were sentenced to life in prison, including prominent human rights defender Abdulhadi Al Khawaja. The other 13 were given between two and 15 years imprisonment.
“The verdicts undermine the Bahraini authorities’ attempts to show that normalcy has been restored. They continue to commit serious human rights violations, including pronouncing people guilty after unfair trials,” added Dooley.