The European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights, together with Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain, The Bahraini Centre for Human Rights, The Bahraini Institute for Rights and Democracy, the International Federation for Human Rights and the Justice Human Rights Organisation, welcome the open letter sent to the European Union High Representative Ms Mogherini by 42 members of the European Parliament. The letter, led by Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Mr Javier Nart, underscored the urgent cases of Mr Mohamed Ramadan and Mr Husain Ali Moosa in Bahrain.
Bahraini courts sentenced Mr Ramadan and Mr Moosa to death for their alleged involvement in a bomb explosion that resulted in the death of a policeman in al-Deir village on 14 February 2014 in Bahrain. Mr Ramadan has exhausted all routes of the judicial appeals process on his case, and both men are currently awaiting execution. The execution is awaiting authorization by King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa and could be carried out at any time.
The cases of Mr Ramadan and Mr Moosa are extremely concerning, and represent the problems currently existing within the Bahraini judicial and human rights systems. While in custody of the Bahraini authorities, both Mr Moosa and Mr Ramadan suffered psychological and physical ill-treatment and torture. Mr Moosa was tortured into giving a false coerced confessing. This confession was the key piece of evidence in the case against Mr Moosa and Mr Ramadan, which led to their death sentence.
The letter notes that the European Parliament has previously shown its concern on the case of Mr Ramandan and Mr Moosa. On 24 November 2015, six members of the European Parliament issued a parliamentary question inquiring into the steps the European External Action Service (EEAS) would take to pressure Bahraini authorities to revoke Mr Moosa and Mr Ramadan’s sentences. On 4 February 2016, the European Parliament adopted an Urgency Resolution on the case of Mr Ramandan that also cited the case of Mr Moosa. The Resolution sought to “remind the Bahraini authorities that Article 15 of the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) prohibits the use of any statement made as a result of torture as evidence in any proceedings.” Further, the Resolution noted concerns for Bahrain’s wide discretion in using anti-terror laws to sentence Mr Moosa and Mr Ramadan to death.
MEPs remind Ms. Mogherini that the European Union has a strong stance against any kind of torture or inhuman or degrading treatment. This stance is outlined in the EU Council Guidelines on Torture, other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment adopted in 2001 and updated in 2012.
The letter appeals to the EEAS to “assertively call on the Bahraini government to pardon Mr Ramadan and Mr Moosa and to ask for their immediate release and the dropping of all charges.” MEPs further “encourage the EEAS to share with the European Parliament the concrete actions it is taking, regarding its relations with Bahrain, to ensure that all trials and judicial proceedings are in full compliance with the Rule of Law, international law, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).”
The undersigned NGOs support the MEPs’ call on the Government of Bahrain to respect its human rights obligations and to end torture of detainees. Accordingly, we call on the Bahraini government to drop all charges against Mr Ramadan and Mr Moosa. The European Union should concretely take action to prevent further human rights abuses in Bahrain and stop the wide-spread use of torture and the discriminatory application of loosely-defined anti-terror laws.