Bahrain- Human Rights Council- Death Penalty- September 2016

The Advocates for Human Rights, together with Lua Lua Center for Human Rights, Gulf Civil Society Associations Forum, Khiam Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture, and the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty, submitted a report to the Human Rights Council addressing the death penalty in Bahrain for that country’s Universal Periodic Review in May 2017.

Since its last Universal Periodic Review in 2012, Bahrain has increasingly imposed the death penalty. In Bahrain, many crimes can result in the death penalty and capital punishment is not limited to the most serious crimes. Capital case suspects are sometimes tortured until they make a confession. Prosecutors then use these confessions to obtain convictions and to justify the death penalty.

During the Universal Periodic Review in 2012, eight countries urged Bahrain to abolish the death penalty, but Bahrain  rejected these recommendations.  Bahraini courts have sentenced at least 11 people to death since 2011 and this number has increased since the last Universal Periodic Review. In January of 2017, Bahrain carried out three executions. 

The authors of the report propose the following recommendations:

  • 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;
  • Amend the Penal Code and the Law of Protecting Society from Terrorist Acts to eliminate the possibility of a death sentence for all crimes not involving intentional killing;
  • Immediately direct all judicial officers to categorically prohibit the introduction of any evidence, including confessions, in cases in which the defendant demonstrates that the evidence was likely to have been obtained through torture;
  • Immediately commute the sentences of all persons sentenced to death to life imprisonment in all cases in which the prosecution relied on evidence obtained through torture and ensure that survivors of torture have prompt access to legal, medical, and financial remedies; and 
  • Direct law enforcement to ensure that individuals have immediate and continuous access to counsel from the time of arrest to the conclusion of trial.