Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) said that Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, son of the King of Bahrain, was involved in serious human rights violations in the country.
The organization highlighted what was revealed by reliable reports from several human rights organizations: Nasser bin Hamad was personally involved in torturing opposition figures, human rights defenders and athletes.
According to the organization, torture remains endemic, partly due to the establishment of ostensible oversight mechanisms that operate with little or no independence from the monarchy.
“Only limited efforts have been made to investigate allegations of abuse in Bahrain, and no high-ranking officials have been convicted,” it said.
It noted that in its recent 2021 country report on Bahrain, the US State Department drew attention to numerous human rights violations and restrictions on fundamental freedoms.
This included “torture and cases of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment by the government; harsh, life-threatening conditions in prisons; arbitrary detention; political prisoners; and arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy.”
Moreover, credible reports by many human rights groups indicate that the human rights situation has continued to deteriorate in the eleven years since the government violently suppressed the emergence of a popular pro-democracy movement.
The Bahraini regime’s decision to lift the moratorium on the death penalty in January 2017 led to an increase in the number of death sentences, despite widespread torture and repeated reports of confessions made under duress.
The organization highlighted that it is worrying that the death penalty is still imposed in cases where it is not commensurate with the crime.
Furthermore, she stated, the Al-Khalifa regime continues to suppress civil society and restrict activities related to the fundamental freedom of expression in Bahrain.
“Security forces regularly summon activists, use violence and intimidation to extract false confessions, punish detainees extrajudicially, and suppress dissent,” she said.
“Human rights defenders and political opposition activists continue to be imprisoned for crimes directly related to freedom of expression,” she added.
For years, the regime authorities have flagrantly ignored their obligations under international law and increased their repression of human rights defenders to silence pro-democracy movements and remove all dissenting voices. They have engaged in systematic abuses of peaceful dissidents.
Khalifa authorities have consistently suppressed dissidents, human rights activists, and independent clerics through detention, arbitrary interrogation, and imprisonment under overly broad anti-terrorism and cybercrime laws. They have used this to conceal the destruction of civil society and legitimize it their targeting and attacks on peaceful activists.
Bahrain has effectively criminalized freedom of expression and has taken measures not only to prevent an effective civil society but has also enacted measures to remove all independent media outlets.
Indicative of the extent to which the Bahraini authorities will go to suppress pro-democracy rhetoric is the utter lack of tolerance for freedom of expression, assembly and opinion in any context.
The Khalifa regime has systematically subjected human rights defenders and political opposition activists to harassment and reprisals, whether in Bahrain or abroad.