The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has called on the Bahraini government to immediately and unconditionally release 18 Bahrainis who were convicted in an “unfair” mass trial for their alleged involvement in a “terrorist cell.”
On May 15, 2018, the Supreme Criminal Court indicted, in a mass criminal trial, 138 defendants for their involvement in a terrorist cell called the “Zulfiqar Brigades.”
The UN team considered that the imprisonment of these individuals violates many international human rights rules and laws, and therefore their detention is considered “arbitrary”.
According to the Panel, imprisonment or severe deprivation of liberty and violations of international law are practices that may constitute crimes against humanity.
The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention noted that the current situation regarding the Corona epidemic and the threat it poses in places of detention should prompt the Bahraini government to take measures to ensure the immediate release of the 18 persons, and to ensure that they receive medical care.
Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain welcomed the team’s report, and urged the Bahraini government to take the required measures without any delay.
The Bahraini government’s alleged abuses against them included: arrests without a warrant, enforced disappearances, torture such as beatings, electric shocks, deprivation of food and drink, and threats of sexual assault.
According to the organization, two of the defendants were minors when they were arrested, and many of the defendants stated that they had been forced to make false confessions under torture.