BHRC urges the King of Bahrain to halt executions of two men convicted on basis of confession allegedly extracted under torture

The Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (“BHRC”) has called on the King of Bahrain to suspend or commute the death sentences of Mohamed Ramadan and Husain Ali Moosa in an open letter sent today. Mr Ramadan and Mr Moosa were convicted of carrying out a 2014 bombing in Bahrain. Both men allege that police tortured them into making false confessions. The two men have exhausted all avenues of appeal and are at imminent risk of execution. The open letter follows the decision by Bahrain’s highest court of appeal to uphold the death sentences against the two men on 13 July 2020. BHRC submitted an amicus curiae brief (third party intervention) to the Court of Cassation on 29 June 2020. BHRC considers the convictions in these cases to be fundamentally flawed, in accordance with both Bahrain’s domestic law and international law. The amicus outlines the failings of the Court of Appeal ruling, in particular:
  • Failure to consider and take account of the fact that both men were refused access to lawyers and independent medical examination during the interrogations and all stages of the investigative process up to trial, and refusal to allow independent medical evidence at trial or on appeal.
  • Failure to consider independent medical opinion which showed the Ministry of Interior medical examinations lacked independence, were “superficial”, and were inadequate, and listed multiple examples of non-compliance with the requirements of the Istanbul Protocol (the internationally recognised international standards).
  • Failure to address the due process and lack of independent medical evidence in the context of a complete lack of corroboration of the confession evidence.
Pete Weatherby QC, Executive Committee member of BHRC and author of the amicus, said: “The convictions in this case are fundamentally flawed, the trial court failed to uphold basic due process safeguards such as access to lawyers and access to independent medical doctors and failed to hear independent medical evidence. The convictions are wholly inconsistent with Bahrain’s domestic law provisions and international obligations, and the allegations of torture are credible and deeply disturbing. In the face of such doubt, the King of Bahrain should act without delay to commute these sentences. Under the constitution the King has to ratify death sentences and he should prevent the killing of these two men.” BHRC opposes the death penalty in all circumstances and further calls on the King of Bahrain to renounce the use of the death penalty and return to moratorium, and to abolition, in line with the tide of international opinion against the continuance of capital punishment.