Saturday, January 10, 2009

Bahrain Seminar

A seminar I chaired in the Moses Room on December 18, successful in terms of highlighting the worsening human rights situation. But there is a great hou-ha being made by the authorities in Bahrain on imaginary terrorist activities, and their Foreign Minister says he has written to the FCO making vague allegations about the involvement of Bahraini political refugees in the UK. (see / He says that no official request was made to hand them over to Bahrain, but hints that some of them are party to the “terror plot”.
It was highly improper to parade accused persons on TV, labelling them as terrorists, before they have appeared in court, a point made by defence lawyer Mohammed Ahmed. This reduces the chance of fair trials.

Apart from those on trial, others are being framed including Hassan Mushaima, Leader of the Haq Movement, a guest speaker at our seminar. Mr Mushaima was roughed up at the airport when he returned on January 3, and has been banned from leading prayers at the al-Sadiq mosque as he normally does. At the usual prayer time, entrance to the mosque has been denied to worshippers.

There are reasons to suppose that the ‘confessions’ made on TV were extorted by torture, particularly from marks on the bodies of the individuals concerned. However, the lawyers haven’t been granted access to their clients, another serious breach of the rule of law.

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