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Amnesty International Calls for an Independent Investigation by the Special Investigation Unit in Bahrain

Amnesty International has called on the Bahraini authorities to effectively hold accountable those involved in violations of the rights of children.

Regarding the kingdom’s terrible human rights record, this came in a tweet published by the human rights organization, following the Bahraini Ministry of Interior’s release of 4 minors who were tried as adults.

“We welcome the release of four minors who were tried as adults and take note of the Ombudsman news of opening an investigation into the case. What is needed is an independent investigation by the Special Investigation Unit in Bahrain in view of holding those responsible accountable. ” Said Amnesty International.

On March 11, the Fourth High Criminal Court issued a ruling to release the four minors. After their imprisonment sentence of 6 months was replaced by a rehabilitation program. The minors are: Muhammad Jaafar, Syed Hassan Amin, Faris Hussein and Hussein Abdul Rasoul. Their ages range from 16 to 17 years.

Earlier, Amnesty International condemned the authorities ’trial of these four over political cases and their questioning before the investigation office without the presence of a lawyer.

In a statement, the organization condemned the procedures for trying minors before the Supreme Criminal Court and considering them as adults. Their trial was in contradiction to child laws and international standards previously ratified by the government of Bahrain.

The authorities accuse the children of gathering, rioting, and possession of Molotov cocktails on February 14, 2020.

A human rights defender in a prominent international organization, called on the United Kingdom, the United States and other governments to ensure that their security support for Bahrain was not used to torture and humiliate children.

Bill Van Esveld, the associate children’s rights director at HRW, said that the instances of abuse against children in Bahrain are the latest example in a long record of harm done to children in the country.

“The UK, US and other governments should ensure that their security support to Bahrain is not being used to torture and humiliate kids,” he said.

HRW has called for action to be taken and for the children to be released.

“Bahrain should release all children when there are alternatives to detention and drop abusive charges against them,” the report read.

Esveld added that the purpose of these violations was “to send a repressive message.”

Two human rights groups revealed in a joint investigative investigation on Wednesday that about 13 children, between the ages of 11 and 17, were arrested from early to mid-February.

Last month, small protests took place across parts of Bahrain to mark the 10th anniversary of the 2011 uprising. The sporadic protests were not as big as in previous years due to a heavy police presence and coronavirus restrictions.

According to HRW, the Bahraini authorities have used preemptive or arbitrary arrests to deter people from protesting around major events, such as the Formula One races.

Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, the advocacy director at the UK-based Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), condemned the way the police treat children in the country.

“A police officer who threatens a 13-year-old with rape or electric shocks from a car battery is an abominable stain on Bahrain’s reputation,” he told HRW

The 2011 protests were quickly crushed after the Bahraini government brought in troops from neighbouring Gulf states, mostly Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The government has since cracked down heavily on dissent, banning opposition parties and jailing dozens of activists and journalists.

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