BFHR Calls for Freezing Bahrain's Membership in ICCPR after Sheikh Ali Salman’s Life Sentence
2018-11-05 - 5:33 p
Bahrain Mirror: The Bahrain Forum for Human Rights (BFHR) called on member states of the Human Rights Council to freeze Bahrain's membership in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which the government had joined under Law No. 56 of 2006 issued on August 12, 2006; considering that sentencing the Bahraini opposition leader, Sheikh Ali Salman, and prominent members of Al-Wefaq, Sheikh Hassan Sultan and Ali Al-Aswad, to life in prison is a continuation of the project of completely closing down the democratic space in Bahrain.
BFHR said that freezing of Bahrain's membership in the ICCPR has to come especially with the rise in the level of systematic violations and arbitrary sentences, including death sentences, revocations of nationalities, arbitrary arrests, torture, extrajudicial killings, religious persecution and failure to implement the recommendations of the Independent Commission of Inquiry and the Human Rights Council. The BFHR considered that sentencing the Bahraini opposition leader, Sheikh Ali Salman, and prominent members of Al-Wefaq, Sheikh Hassan Sultan and Ali Al-Aswad, to life in prison is a continuation of the project of completely closing down the democratic space in Bahrain, which reflects the continuation of what the OHCHR called sentences of political persecution, due to the record of the judiciary in cases related to freedom of expression.
The BFHR said that the judiciary failed to refute the 118 legal loopholes that confirm the invalidity of investigations and the invalidity of the testimony of secret witnesses, in addition to the report submitted by the Norwegian expert Erik Hilstad and the report prepared by the first forensic expert, Ahmed Obaid, before the UAE judiciary in the Arab laboratory for technical detection, which revealed where the phone call was cut. In addition, the prosecution was not able to respond to the written testimony of the constitutional law professor, Chibli Wajdi Mallat, about his role in the US-Gulf initiative in cooperation with the Assistant Secretary of State at the time, Jeffrey Feltman, which confirms the maliciousness of the lawsuit.
The forum added that the investigations and monitoring of the calls were made according to invalid procedures and not according to the law or by order from the judiciary, and there were several fabrications made by secret witnesses and the Public Prosecution. The BFHR noted that articles 127 bis, 223 bis and 223 bis (a) of the Code of Criminal Procedure are unconstitutional because they violate article 20 (c) and article 31 of the Constitution and its general principles, which are based on protecting the accused's right to defense and equality before the judiciary.
It pointed out that the judiciary deliberately referred the case to the same court and the same judge who sentenced Sheikh Ali Salman in the previous case to 9 years in prison (it was then amended to four years), as well as the same prosecutor who handled the previous case. The BFHR noted that the previous case has been widely criticized by United Nations experts, international human rights organizations and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The BFHR added that the confidentiality of the lawyer-client relationship was violated by the Jaw Prison administration, which seized 45 pages of Sheikh Salman's personal argument, thus breaching the right to defense.
The Bahrain Forum for Human Rights explained that the evidence was forged by counterfeiting the papers and cutting the phone call between Sheikh Ali Salman and the former Prime Minister of Qatar, Hamad bin Jassim. In addition, the BFHR pointed out the absurdity of the prosecution evidence as the Public Prosecution accused Sheikh Ali Salman with the same acts that he was accused of in the previous case, but it changed the charges and the penalty articles, after failing to prove the acts in the case in which he was sentenced to four years in prison.