Bahrain: Two men facing execution lose last court appeal despite torture-extracted ‘confessions’

Today, the last-ditch efforts for some modicum of justice in Bahrain were crushed when the Court of Cassation reaffirmed the death sentences of Mohamed Ramadhan and Hussain Moosa, despite evidence that the men were tortured during their interrogation. 

Bahrain’s judiciary has decided to blatantly ignore court evidence of torture in the case of Mohamed Ramadhan and Hussain Moosa, and this, despite the repeated violations of the men’s right to a fair trial since their arrest over six years ago
Lynn Maalouf

The two men were convicted of killing a policeman in 2014 following a grossly unfair trial. Their 2015 final death sentence verdict was subject to a re-trial following medical records attesting to the men’s torture, which were submitted by the Special Investigate Unit (SIU) tied to the Ministry of Health. The men have now exhausted all rights of appeal in the judiciary system. Responding to today’s verdict, Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director, said:

“Bahrain’s judiciary has decided to blatantly ignore court evidence of torture in the case of Mohamed Ramadhan and Hussain Moosa, and this, despite the repeated violations of the men’s right to a fair trial since their arrest over six years ago.

The death penalty is abhorrent in all circumstances and should never be used
Lynn Maalouf

“We call on the Bahraini authorities to immediately quash these convictions and death sentences. Instead of condemning to death the victims of this irreparably flawed trial, 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.

“The death penalty is abhorrent in all circumstances and should never be used.”

Background

Security forces arrested Hussain Ali Moosa Hasan Mohamed, a hotel employee, on 21 February 2014. Mohamed Ramadhan Issa Ali Hussain was arrested on 18 February 2014 at Bahrain International Airport where he worked as a member of security staff.

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.

In March 2018 the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) presented medical reports prepared by doctors affiliated to the Ministry of Interior, indicating that the two men 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.

On 8 January 2020,  Bahrain’s High Criminal Court of Appeal reinstated the death sentences of Mohamed Ramadhan and Hussain Moosa.

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime; guilt, innocence or other characteristics of the individual; or the method used by the state to carry out the execution.