MANAMA, Bahrain - The High Court of Bahrain has upheld death sentences against two pro-democracy activists who were charged and convicted of bombing a police convoy in 2014 which resulted in the death of an officer.
According to Reuters it was the final appeal for the pair who human rights groups say were convicted on confessions they gave while being tortured.
The two men Mohammed Ramadhan and Husain Moosa will now be executed.
"Today, the last-ditch efforts for some modicum of justice in Bahrain were crushed when the Court of Cassation reaffirmed the death sentences of Mohamed Ramadhan and Hussain Moosa, despite evidence that the men were tortured during their interrogation," a statement issued by Amnesty International on Monday said.
Bahrain's judiciary has decided to blatantly ignore court evidence of torture in the case of Mohamed Ramadhan and Hussain Moosa, and this, despite the repeated violations of the men's right to a fair trial since their arrest over six years ago
"Their 2015 final death sentence verdict was subject to a re-trial following medical records attesting to the men's torture, which were submitted by the Special Investigate Unit (SIU) tied to the Ministry of Health," the Amnesty statement said, describing the trial as "grossly unfair."
The men have now exhausted all rights of appeal in the judiciary system.
"Bahrain's judiciary has decided to blatantly ignore court evidence of torture in the case of Mohamed Ramadhan and Hussain Moosa, and this, despite the repeated violations of the men's right to a fair trial since their arrest over six years ago," Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International's Middle East Research Director, said Monday.
"We call on the Bahraini authorities to immediately quash these convictions and death sentences. Instead of condemning to death the victims of this irreparably flawed trial, they must hold to account those responsible for their torture and guarantee that the defendants receive reparations, rehabilitation, and an ironclad guarantee of non-repetition."
Background (Amnesty International):
Security forces arrested Hussain Ali Moosa Hasan Mohamed, a hotel employee, on 21 February 2014. Mohamed Ramadhan Issa Ali Hussain was arrested on 20 March 2014 at Bahrain International Airport where he worked as a member of security staff.
The two men were taken to the Criminal Investigations Department where they were tortured during interrogation. Mohamed Ramadhan refused to sign a "confession", though he was subjected to beating and electrocution. Hussain Ali Moosa said he was coerced to "confess" and incriminate Mohamed Ramadhan after being suspended by the limbs and beaten for several days.
On 29 December 2014, a criminal court sentenced Mohamed Ramadhan and Hussain Ali Moosa to death for the killing of a policeman, who died in a bomb explosion in al-Deir, a village northeast of Manama, on 14 February 2014.
The High Criminal Court of Appeal upheld their conviction and death sentences on 27 March 2015 and the Court of Cassation confirmed them on 16 November 2015.
In March 2018 the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) presented medical reports prepared by doctors affiliated to the Ministry of Interior, indicating that the two men had been tortured; and recommended a review of the trial. On 22 October 2018, the Court of Cassation suspended the death sentences and ordered the High Criminal Court of Appeal to re-examine the case under a new panel of judges.
On 8 January 2020, Bahrain's High Criminal Court of Appeal reinstated the death sentences of Mohamed Ramadhan and Hussain Moosa.
The Bahrain government insists the case involving the men met all requirements of a fair trial, and the initial judgment was followed by a second trial that examined the allegations of abuse, according to a report from the Reuters Thomson news agency.
"Each of the defendants had an attorney present with him throughout all the stages of the trial," said Haroon Al Zayani, head of the public prosecutor's technical bureau, in a statement obtained by Reuters.
The chronology of medical reports showed confessions were obtained "in full consciousness and voluntarily, without any physical or verbal coercion," he said.
The tiny kingdom, which is connected by a causeway to Saudi Arabia, has a government headed by a Sunni royal family while the population of the country is largely Shi'ite. The head of state is King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. There has been public dissent going back as far as the 1990s when the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, then-named the Le Meridien Hotel, was bombed. There was a major break-out of dissent in 2011 which resulted in troops from Saudi Arabia and the UAE rushing to help quash protests.
Bahrain is the home of the U.S. Fifth Fleet.
(Photo credit: LuaLuaTV/ABNA.com).