Courts Roundup: 7 Activists Receive Death Sentence, 200 Citizens Sentenced to Life in Prison, including Sheikh Ali Salman
2020-01-05 - 8:48 p
Bahrain Mirror (2019 Roundup): 2019 was one of the bloodiest years that the Bahraini people will never forget. The king has once again exercised his authority to execute two citizens for political reasons, encouraged by the massacre committed by Saudi Arabia against 37 Shiites at once. 2019 also witnessed the execution of two Bahrainis in Saudi Arabia on charges of "smuggling narcotic pills".
Despite the severe criticism Bahrain faces due to its death sentences and executions, the authorities continued to threaten the lives of dissidents. The House of Representatives passed in its session on April 10, 2019 amendments to the Penal Code, toughening the penalty on the use of Molotov cocktails to reach execution.
With regard to death sentences, 2019 recorded verdicts issued from the three levels of courts (first-instance, appeals and cassation courts) against 7 citizens over political reasons and 6 others in criminal cases (drug trafficking and murder). 2019 witnessed Saudi Arabia's executions of 37 Shiite Saudi activists and dissidents, and two Bahrainis in drug cases.
In terms of life sentences, the regime's courts (first-instance, appeals and cassation) issued 200 life sentences, most notably to opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman. 53 of the life sentences were issued in the Zulfiqar Brigades case and 69 in the Bahraini Hezbollah case.
Political Death Sentences
On January 31, 2019, the Appeals Court issued its ruling in a case referred by the cassation court and upheld a death sentence against Mohsen Al-Majed in the case of Jordanian officer Ali Zuraikat's death in Damistan and a bombing case near Imam Zainulabidin Mosque, which led to the martyrdom of Haj Abdulkarim Al-Basri in 2014.
On February 25, 2019, the Appeals Court issued a death sentence against Hussein Abdullah Marhoun in case of killing a policeman in a blast in Diraz in 2017.
On February 25, 2019, the Cassation Court issued a final death sentence against Mohmmad Ibrahim Al-Tok and Mohammad Radhi Abdullah in a bomb blast case in 2015, which claimed the lives of two policemen.
On April 24, 2019, Saudi Arabia announced the execution of 37 Shiite dissidents, in a horrific move that caused a political earthquake in the region. There were children and a disabled person among the executed. Martyr Abdulkarim Al-Hawaj, who was arrested for his sympathy with the people of Bahrain and its revolution, was among the executed. Also, Shiite cleric Sheikh Mohammed Al-Attiyah, one of the most prominent advocates of Sunni-Shiite rapprochement, was executed. Al-Wefaq said the executions represented a political earthquake in the region, as Bahraini streets were swarming with hundreds of angry Bahrainis.
On May 6, 2019, the Court of Cassation upheld capital penalty against Ali Al-Arab and Ahmad Al-Malali over the charge of murdering an officer in Bilad Al-Qadeem in 2017. The sentence was then made final. On July 27, 2019, the authorities executed Al-Arab and Al-Malali after the king approved the sentence. The execution of the death penalty was followed by condemnations and criticism by the United Nations, Britain, France, the European Union and Iran, as well as protests in different areas across Bahrain that the authorities confronted with excessive repression, which led to the martyrdom of Mohammad Ibrahim Al-Moqdad from Bilad Al-Qadeem, after inhaling large quantities of toxic tear gas.
On July 17, 2019, the Bahrain Defence Force issued a statement saying that Officer Yasser Al-Jalahama (located in Qatar) had been sentenced to death in absentia. The Defence Ministry's statement came after Al-Jalahama's comments in "What is Hidden is Worse" program aired on Al-Jazeera Channel, about how the protest was cleared in the Pearl Roundabout, as Al-Jalahama was the leader of the team that stormed the roundabout to suppress peaceful demonstrators.
On November 18, 2019, the Appeals Court adjourned the sentence of death row inmates Mohammad Ramadan and Hussein Mousa in the case of murdering a policeman in Al-Dair, until December 25, 2019. However, on the day of the hearing, the prison administration refused to transfer Ramadan and Mousa to the courtroom for unknown reasons despite their readiness since the early morning, which eventually led to delaying the sentence until the January 8, 2020 session due to their absence.
A final ruling was issued by the Court of Cassation in the case of Ramadan and Mousa but in a rare move, the Public Prosecution said that new evidence had led to referring the case from the Court of Cassation to the Court of Appeals to have a new verdict issued.
Criminal Death Sentences
On February 22, 2019, the Court of Cassation upheld the execution of an Asian national who killed Sheikh Abduljalil Hammoud and chopped his body to dispose of it. The execution was carried out on July 27, 2019 after the king approved the verdict, on the same day that martyrs Ali Al-Arab and Ahmad Al-Malali were executed.
On February 28, 2019, a first-instance court sentenced two defendants to death in a case of smuggling 65 kilograms of drugs into Bahrain.
On February 28, 2019, the Court of Appeals upheld a death sentence of two Asian nationals convicted of murdering another and getting rid of his body by putting it in a bag and throwing it in a garbage container in Manama.
On September 25, 2019, Saudi Arabia executed Bahraini Ammar Abdulaziz Mansour Ali Hassan in the eastern region on charges of smuggling narcotic pills.
On October 30, 2019, the Appeals Court upheld a death sentence against a 40-year-old Arab in a case of killing an Asian and writing Shiite phrases in the crime scene to give a false impression that the killer is Shiite.
On October 30, 2019, the Court of Appeals upheld the execution of a Bahraini who killed an Asian with a hammer and attempted to kill another for a robbery.
On November 12, 2019, Saudi Arabia executed Bahraini Ali Mohsen Kadhem Hassan, in Al-Joof region for smuggling narcotic pills.
The courts of the regime kicked off their life imprisonment verdicts with a final life sentence issued against Bahraini opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman. The courts (first-instance, appeals and cassation) have issued a total of 200 life sentences against citizens over political reasons.
The most prominent cases in which citizens were sentenced to life in prison were the case of the Zulfiqar Brigades, where 53 life sentences were issued and the case of Bahraini Hezbollah that resulted in 69 life terms against citizens. The courts sentenced hundreds of citizens to prison terms ranging from 6 months to 15 years over politically-motivated cases.
Below is a timeline of cases in which citizens were sentenced to life imprisonment:
On January 28, 2019, the Court of Cassation upheld a final life term against opposition leader and Al-Wefaq Secretary-General Sheikh Ali Salman.
On January 28, 2019, the Court of Appeals upheld life sentences against 53 citizens in the Zulfiqar Brigades case, and on July 2, 2019, the Court of Cassation upheld the sentences but overruled the withdrawal of citizenships.
On January 31, 2019, the Appeals Court upheld in the case referred by the cassation court life sentences against 22 citizens, as well as a death sentence against Mohsen Al-Majed in the case of killing Jordanian officer Ali Zuraikat in Damistan and a bombing case near Imam Zainulabidin Mosque, which led to the martyrdom of Haj Abdulkarim Al-Basi in 2014.
On February 7, 2019, the Fourth High Criminal Court (first degree) handed down a life term to 7 defendants accused of receiving training in Iraqi Hezbollah camps.
On February 20, 2019, the Fourth High Criminal Court (first degree) handed down a life term to 3 defendants accused of receiving training in Iraqi Hezbollah camps.
On February 20, 2019, the Fourth High Criminal Court (first degree) sentenced 6 defendants to life imprisonment over fleeing through Bahrain to Iran and receiving military training.
On February 28, 2019, the Fourth High Criminal Court (first degree) issued a life term against activist Ali Al-Shuweikh, who was deported from the Netherlands to Bahrain after his asylum request was rejected, on the charge of "covering up wanted persons".
On March 4, 2019, the Court of Appeals upheld a life sentence against a citizen in the revolutionary intelligence board case.
On March 14, 2019, the Appeals Court upheld a life sentence against two citizens accused of shooting at police and training on the use of explosives in Iraq.
On March 19, 2019, the Appeals Court upheld a life sentence against a citizen accused of detonating a bomb in the Abu Saiba area on February 24, 2017, injuring a policeman and damaging the windows of a mosque.
On April 9, 2019, the Court of Cassation upheld a life sentence against two men in the Al-Imam army case.
On April 16, 2019, the Fourth High Criminal Court (first degree) presided over by Judge Badr Abdulatif Al-Abdullah sentenced 69 citizens to life imprisonment in the case of Bahraini Hezbollah, the largest number of sentences handed down to citizens in a single case. The judge also ordered the revocation of the citizenship of 138 of them. This was condemned by the UN and Amnesty International which considered what happened a mockery of justice. On November 12 and 23, the Cassation Court overruled the citizenship revocation and upheld the prison sentences against the defendants.
On May 7, 2019, the Court of Cassation upheld a life sentence against 8 citizens in Al-Basta Group case.
On June 14, 2019, the Court of Appeals upheld a life sentence against four people in Karana Blast case.
On June 19, 2019, the Appeals Court upheld a life sentence against a defendant in a case of receiving training in the Republic of Iraq camps.
On October 31, 2019, the First High Criminal Court (first degree) sentenced a defendant to life in prison in over charges of receiving training in the Iraqi Popular Mobilization camps.
On November 1, 2019, the Fourth High Criminal Court (first degree) sentenced 5 defendants to life imprisonment in the case of joining Saraya Al-Ashtar.
On November 28, 2019, the First High Criminal Court (first degree) sentenced 5 defendants to life in prison in the case of bombing a number of ATMs in 2018 and 2019.
On December 11, 2019, the First High Criminal Court (first degree) sentenced 8 defendants to life imprisonment in the case of joining the February 14 coalition and the Al-Wafaa Islamic Party.