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The United Nations Committee against Torture of Bahrain

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The United Nations Committee against Torture on Friday called on Bahrain to release prominent activist Nabeel Rajab from more than nine months of solitary confinement and investigate widespread allegations of ill-treatment and torture of detainees. Bahrain’s mainly Shiite Muslim-led opposition has faced a government crackdown since last year in the  Persian Gulf kingdom. The Western-allied government closed down the main opposition al-Wefaq group, arrested Rajab and revoked the citizenship of Shiite spiritual leader Ayatollah Isa Qassim. The United Nations panel, composed of 10 independent experts, conducted its first review of Bahrain’s record in five years at a session ending on Friday, Reuters reported. Abdulla Faisal Aldosari, the Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs who led Bahrain’s delegation, said it faced national security challenges but was acting on torture complaints. So far 52 cases had been brought to criminal courts in which 101 suspects had been found guilty of torture, he said. The UN experts, in their findings, urged authorities to “put an end to the solitary confinement of Mr. Nabeel Rajab and ensure that he is provided with adequate medical assistance and redress”. His solitary confinement “is reported to have exceeded nine months during which he has been denied adequate medical care”. The UN experts cited “continued, numerous and consistent allegations of widespread torture and ill-treatment of persons deprived of their liberty in all places of detention” in Bahrain. A “climate of impunity” seemed to be prevailing, with few convictions and light sentences, they said. The panel voiced concern at reports of coerced confessions obtained under torture, including those of three men executed in January and two men facing the death penalty, Mohammed Ramadhan and Hussain Ali Moosa. The panel suggested that the latter be retried. It also said that Bahrain should ensure that people arrested on criminal charges, including under the terror act, be brought before a judge within 48 hours. Authorities should also consider repealing provisions that allow civilians to be tried in military courts and improve conditions, especially in Jaw prison where inmates rioted in January.

 

PGCC’s ‘Baseless’ allegations denounced by Iran

On Wednesday Bahram Qassemi dismissed as repetitive and unfounded the allegations raised by the PGCC in its summit in Bahrain earlier in the same day. His comments came hours after the six PGCC members (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) accused Iran of interfering in the internal affairs of regional countries and questioned Iran’s sovereignty over the three Persian Gulf islands of the Greater Tunb, the Lesser Tunb, and Abu Musa; Qassemi underlined that the three islands remain to be an indispensable part of the country.

Qassemi also highlighted Iran’s policy of respect for good neighborliness and non-interference in the internal affairs of others, criticizing attempts by certain PGCC members at inciting sectarian and religious strife and he called on the other Arab country to take advantage from the  capacities of international organizations, like  UN, to strengthen stability and security instead of provoking tensions and weakening relations.

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