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Bahrain court reimposes death penalty for two pro-democracy activists

Rights groups say Mohammed Ramadhan and Hussein Moosa's confessions are false and were obtained under torture
Mohammed Ramadhan, 37, and Hussein Mousa, 33, were leading figures during the Bahraini protests of 2011 (Twitter)

Bahrain’s top criminal court has reimposed the death penalty on two pro-democracy activists using “false confessions” obtained under torture, rights groups said on Wednesday.

Mohammed Ramadhan, 37, and Hussein Moosa, 33, were leading figures during the Bahraini protests of 2011, which were brutally crushed with Saudi and Emirati support.

The pair were arrested in 2014, accused of killing a security officer and attempting to kill people “through terrorist bombing”.

In October 2018, the Court of Cassation overturned previous rulings against Ramadhan and Moosa based on evidence that included a medical report. The Court of Cassation then asked for the death sentences to be reviewed.

However on Wednesday the High Criminal Court of Appeals upheld the previous sentencing.

The verdicts were scheduled on Christmas Day, but after pressure from rights groups, who have highlighted Manama's propensity to hand out such sentences during holidays in the West, the decision was postponed until Wednesday.

The case now moves back to the Court of Cassation, Bahrain's highest judicial authority. If that court approves Wednesday's decision, Ramadhan and Moosa will face execution.

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Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, director of advocacy at the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), said the “ruling is nothing short of a political assassination and a total mockery of justice”.

He added that Ramadhan and Moosa “had their death sentences confirmed despite compelling evidence that they were tortured", which he said "lays bare the corruption of Bahrain’s judiciary".

In a column for Britain's Metro newspaper, Ramadhan said he is facing death for a crime that he did not commit.

He wrote: "My torturers told me as much. ‘We are the ones who determine the verdict,’ they said, as they beat me. They revealed they were waiting for the right case, so they could frame me, as punishment for joining pro-democracy demonstrations."

My torturers told me as much. ‘We are the ones who determine the verdict,’ they said, as they beat me. They revealed they were waiting for the right case, so they could frame me, as punishment for joining pro-democracy demonstrations.

 

Read more: https://metro.co.uk/2020/01/07/execution-crime-i-didnt-commit-12012180/?ito=newsnow-feed?ito=cbshare

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MetroUK | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MetroUK/

My torturers told me as much. ‘We are the ones who determine the verdict,’ they said, as they beat me. They revealed they were waiting for the right case, so they could frame me, as punishment for joining pro-democracy demonstrations.

 

Read more: https://metro.co.uk/2020/01/07/execution-crime-i-didnt-commit-12012180/?ito=newsnow-feed?ito=cbshare

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MetroUK | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MetroUK/

My torturers told me as much. ‘We are the ones who determine the verdict,’ they said, as they beat me. They revealed they were waiting for the right case, so they could frame me, as punishment for joining pro-democracy demonstrations.

 

Read more: https://metro.co.uk/2020/01/07/execution-crime-i-didnt-commit-12012180/?ito=newsnow-feed?ito=cbshare

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MetroUK | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MetroUK/

Harriet McCulloch, the deputy director of rights group Reprieve, said UK taxpayers fund Bahraini institutions and Britain’s role in Ramadhan and Moosa's cases are “deeply troubling, and totally at odds with the UK government’s stated policy of opposing capital punishment in all circumstances”.

Husain Abdulla, the executive director of Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB), said that "this case exemplifies the corrupt and inhumane justice system in Bahrain".

Abdulla added he hopes that through pressure on Bahrain's allies and partners such as the United States and the United Kingdom, Ramadhan and Moosa "may escape an arbitrary and unlawful execution”.

Eight Bahrainis are facing death sentences, with two waiting for the Court of Cassation’s final decision.