Bahrain: Death sentences upheld for two men tortured to ‘confess’

Responding to the news that Bahrain’s High Criminal Court of Appeal today upheld the death sentences of Mohamed Ramadhan and Hussain Moosa, two men convicted in 2014 following a grossly unfair trial that relied heavily on torture-tainted “confessions”, Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director, said:

"Mohamed Ramadhan and Hussain Moosa should never have been convicted on the basis of a fabricated so-called confession extracted through torture. Now, despite the emergence of evidence from the Bahraini government itself supporting the defendants’ reports of torture, the court system has once again upheld the decision to put them to death. This sets a disturbing new precedent in Bahrain’s history of contempt for due legal process.

The death penalty is abhorrent in all circumstances, but its use is even more appalling when applied after an unfair trial
Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International

“The death penalty is abhorrent in all circumstances, but its use is even more appalling when applied after an unfair trial. We call on the Bahraini authorities to immediately quash Ramadhan and Moosa’s convictions and sentences. Instead of condemning the victims of this irreparably flawed trial to death, they must hold to account those responsible for their torture and guarantee that the defendants receive reparations, rehabilitation, and an ironclad guarantee of non-repetition.”

Background 

Security forces arrested Hussain Ali Moosa Hasan Mohamed, a hotel employee, on 21 February 2014, while Mohamed Ramadhan Issa Ali Hussain was arrested on 20 March 2014 at Bahrain International Airport where he worked as a member of security. 

The two men were taken to the Criminal Investigations Department where they were tortured during interrogation. Mohamed Ramadhan refused to sign a “confession”, though he was subjected to beating and electrocution. Hussain Ali Moosa said he was coerced to “confess” and incriminate Mohamed Ramadhan after being suspended by the limbs and beaten for several days. 

On 29 December 2014, a criminal court sentenced Mohamed Ramadhan and Hussain Ali Moosa to death for the killing of a policeman, who died in a bomb explosion in al-Deir, a village northeast of Manama, on 14 February 2014. The High Criminal Court of Appeal upheld their conviction and death sentences on 27 March 2015 and the Court of Cassation confirmed them on 16 November 2015. Ten people who were sentenced with them in the same case to between six years and life in prison also had their sentences upheld. In March 2018 the Special Investigation Unit sent the Office of Public Prosecution a memorandum describing medical reports by doctors of the Ministry of Interior consistent with Mohamed Ramadhan’s claim that he had been tortured and recommended a review of the trial. On 22 October 2018, the Court of Cassation suspended the death sentences and ordered the High Criminal Court of Appeal to re-examine the case under a new panel of judges.