Human rights documentation showed that 26 detainees are at imminent risk of execution in Bahrain after exhausting all legal remedies. Most of them were subjected to torture.
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights said that the Bahraini authorities had not conducted serious investigations into these allegations of torture, as Bahraini oversight bodies had proven ineffective.
The centre stated that in most of these cases, the death penalty was imposed in unfair trials. Moreover, three are on death row for drug-related offences unrelated to the murder, even though “the death penalty may only be imposed for the most serious crimes” under Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Bahrain ratified in 2006.
The centre said that the death penalty provision for crimes unrelated to murder and the imposition of this punishment is unfair trials, along with the failure to investigate allegations of torture against prisoners sentenced to death, are grave violations of Bahrain’s international human rights obligations.
According to the 2020/2021 Facts and Figures of the Global Coalition Against the Death Penalty, 144 countries worldwide have abolished the death penalty in law or practice, 55 countries still endorse and use the death penalty, and 18 countries carried out executions in 2020.
In 2020, 1,477 death sentences were handed down in 54 countries, and at least 483 executions were carried out worldwide, the lowest rate in the past ten years.
On December 16, 2020, the United Nations General Assembly voted by an overwhelming majority in favor of a resolution calling for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty. Resolution A/RES/75/183 was the eighth resolution adopted by the General Assembly on this topic. It was adopted by the vast majority of the 123 Member States, reflecting a global trend to move away from the death penalty. But Bahrain was one of 38 countries that voted against the resolution.
While the use of the death penalty is declining worldwide, according to Amnesty International’s analysis, death sentences have increased dramatically in Bahrain since 2011. The Bahraini government lifted its moratorium on the death penalty in January 2017, when it executed three torture victims. They were the first Bahrainis to be executed since March 1996.
In July 2021, Reprieve and the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy found that “execution rates in Bahrain have increased by 20 per cent since 2011. Between 2011 and 2020, at least six executions were carried out (all of whom were allegedly tortured), compared to five executions in the previous decade.
Death sentences in Bahrain have risen by more than 600 per cent in the past decade. Between 2011 and 2020, Bahrain sentenced at least 51 people to death, 65 per cent alleging torture.
The number of people on death row facing imminent execution in Bahrain has increased by 2,500 per cent over the past decade.
The death penalty is the cruellest, inhuman, and degrading punishment. It is ineffective, with most law enforcement professionals agreeing that this punishment does not deter violent crimes. In essence, the death penalty is dehumanizing and violates one of the essential human rights, the right to life.
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights called on the Bahraini government to impose a moratorium on the death penalty and commute all current death sentences in Bahrain.
It also demanded that it ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming to abolish the death penalty and conduct an effective and impartial investigation into allegations of torture and violations of legal procedures against those sentenced to death in Bahraini prisons.