A number of British lawyers and academics have called for the adoption of an ongoing law along the lines of the Magnitsky Act, to implement European Union human rights sanctions against known Bahraini perpetrators.
This came during an interactive symposium organized by the European Center for Rights and Democracies, to search for legal ways to prevent impunity for those involved in human rights violations in Bahrain.
The participants agreed that the only way to reduce the repression against dissidents and civil activists in Bahrain is to impose sanctions by European countries on the personalities responsible for these violations, and some of these personalities are known by name and capacity, as approved by the participants in the symposium.
British lawyer Anahita Moradi proceeded from diagnosing the Bahraini regime to understanding its behavior towards opponents, stressing that “the main concern of all official officials and official bodies is to keep the ruling family in power,” adding that there are legal means to “use the penalties of the Magnitsky law to compel the Bahraini regime.” to pay the price for violating human rights.
The lawyer confirmed that she and the office she works with in London obtained information about the detainees’ suffering of physical torture and psychological torture in order to obtain false confessions from political prisoners to support the politically motivated accusations they face.
According to the British legal expert, the violations do not stop at the investigation stage, but rather go beyond it “to reach the stage of the trial of political prisoners, where the victims face a complete failure to enjoy a fair trial,” and they do not have the right to choose their lawyer, nor can they prepare for a fair trial or challenge any Evidence presented against them.
Anahita Moradi expressed her regret for the “complete failure” to investigate complaints of torture and news of extrajudicial killings, and this situation leads, according to her, to “the persistence of officials in suppressing rights and contributes to more control of the ruling family and its government over the people.”
As for the British lawyer, Michael Pollack, he saw that the Bahraini courts are supposed to apply the law when “they are mostly places of repression, and therefore people do not have any fair courts that they may resort to”, to conclude that this situation is what increases the importance of “special European sanctions.” human rights in order to stop the repression of opponents.
The British lawyer working in a famous law firm in London revealed that he had evidence of human rights violations, saying, “We have started looking at this evidence, and we hope that the Magnitsky Act will help address the impunity that has characterized human rights violations for a long time in Bahrain.” .
Regarding the legal framework for these sanctions that these lawyers aim to impose on those involved in human rights violations in Bahrain, lawyer Michael Pollack stressed that “the EU’s sanctions regimes are broader than the UK, and therefore they will play a major role, especially in places where they cannot go to court. Every travel ban that will be imposed will be across the European Union, and the funds of depositors involved in these violations will be frozen and these are the most effective penalties” from the point of view of the Bahraini legal expert.
For his part, the British academic and assistant professor at Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Mark Jones, said that “the British judicial system is unable to protect the rights of individuals and to respond to their complaints about their suffering from torture, and therefore the only solution before us is international means, including the sanctions of the European Union through the law Magnitsky”.
The author of the book “Political Repression in Bahrain” believes that if Magnitsky’s sanctions on naval officials are adopted, foreign reporters will have to mention the names of those officials who are targeted by sanctions, and this will make it difficult for Bahrain to use Western media to portray itself as a modern and liberal regime.
Based on his experience in the Bahraini regime, the British academic confirmed that since 2011, “we have witnessed the exacerbation of political repression in Bahrain because the regime was able to commit these types of violations without accountability and in full view of the British officials.”
The symposium witnessed an influential intervention by Ali Mushaima, son of the Bahraini opposition leader Hassan Mushaima, who addressed Western governments, and considered that the Magnitsky law “is another test of the extent to which Western governments are serious about respecting the laws, and he believed that Bahrain is the simplest test for that because the crimes of torture in it are clear.” .
The son of the prominent dissident in Bahrain expressed his regret over the position of the British government, which continues to stand “biased in favor of the Al Khalifa regime despite the demand for the application of human rights laws,” highlighting his father’s case, “he is a prisoner of conscience who spent more than 10 years in prison.” He faces an unfair life sentence and is deprived of the necessary health care, which is a systematic policy against all prisoners of conscience in Bahrain.
And Ali Mushaima expressed his hope that the judicial endeavors carried out by British lawyers to “pressure to impose European sanctions against human rights violators and not face obstacles from democratic governments that support dictatorial governments.”