Bahrain—Human Rights Committee—Death Penalty—June 2018

The Advocates for Human Rights submitted a report on the death penalty in Bahrain for the 123rd Session of the Human Rights Committee.

In 2017, Bahrain resumed executions. Because Bahraini law does not limit the death penalty to the most serious crimes, Bahraini authorities involve the death penalty with increasing frequency, specifically in cases targeting government critics accused of committing vaguely defined terrorism offenses. Since 2011, Bahrain has increasingly sentenced people to death in politically motivated cases, using the threat of terrorism as a pretext for violating the civil rights of individuals who criticize the government.  The government is reported to prosecute individuals for their political beliefs, and coerces confessions. These cases, which are tried in military courts, have led to convictions and death sentences.

The authors of the report propose the following recommendations for the Government of Bahrain:

  • Replace the death penalty with a sentence that is fair, proportionate, and respects international human rights standards;
  • Impose an official moratorium on the death penalty immediately, both going forward and for persons currently on death row.
  • Ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and align domestic legislation to conform with the Protocol;
  • Immediately direct all judicial officers not to impose a sentence of death in any case in which the prosecution has not proven that the defendant committed an intentional killing;
  • Immediately extend standing invitations to: The Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Executions; the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers; the Special Rapporteur on Torture; the Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association, and the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism.