Mobile  |  About us  |  Photos  |  Videos  |  Subscriptions  |  RSS Feeds  |  Today's Paper  |  Classifieds  |  Contact Us
The Daily Star
SUNDAY, 20 APR 2014
11:58 AM Beirut time
22 °C
Blom Index
Middle East
Follow this story Print RSS Feed ePaper share this
Amnesty calls on Bahrain to free 13 jailed activists
Agence France Presse
Anti-government protesters gather on the street during clashes with riot police in the village of Daih, west of Manama, November 26, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer
Anti-government protesters gather on the street during clashes with riot police in the village of Daih, west of Manama, November 26, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer
A+ A-

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates: Amnesty International urged Bahrain on Friday to release 13 jailed opposition activists, saying doing so would prove the Gulf monarchy is "genuinely committed" to reform and respecting human rights.

Amnesty said the men, who were involved in anti-government protests last year and convicted by a military tribunal on charges that included "setting up terror groups to topple the regime," were prisoners of conscience who should be freed immediately.

All of them maintain their innocence.

The Court of Cassation in Manama is due to decide on Monday whether or not to grant the men's request to be released on bail, with a "small possibility" that their sentences will be quashed, Amnesty said.

"Monday's decision will be a real test for the Bahraini authorities and their allies, if they want to prove once and for all that they are genuinely committed to respecting and protecting human rights," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty's deputy director for the region.

"These men must be immediately and unconditionally released. Their sentences and convictions must be quashed," she added.

Sahraoui urged Bahrain's allies to put pressure on the authorities "to drop the pretence of reform and immediately back up their words with real actions."

In September, an appeals court upheld life sentences for seven of the activists, all Shiite, including leading figure Abdulhadi Khawaja, and jail terms ranging from five to 15 years for the others.

The defendants, who had played leading roles in month-long protests last year demanding democratic reforms, were being retried in a civil court after they were convicted by a special semi-military court of plotting to topple the Sunni ruling family.

Bahrain came under strong criticism from international human rights organisations over last year's crackdown on the Shiite-led protests.

An international panel commissioned by King Hamad to probe the government's clampdown found out that excessive force and torture had been used against protesters and detainees.

Home Middle East
United Arab Emirates

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus

Baabda 2014
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Linked In Follow us on Google+ Subscribe to our Live Feed
Pictures of the day
A selection of images from around the world- Saturday April 19, 2014
View all view all
Rami G. Khouri
Rami G. Khouri
Why Israeli-Palestinian talks fail
Michael Young
Michael Young
Why confuse gibberish with knowledge?
David Ignatius
David Ignatius
Echoes of 1914 characterize the Ukraine crisis
View all view all
Click to View Articles
Privacy Policy | Anti-Spamming Policy | Disclaimer | Copyright Notice
© 2014 The Daily Star - All Rights Reserved - Designed and Developed By IDS