BCHR Report Launch: Terrorism Law in Bahrain
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights publishes today a report on the "Protecting Society From Terrorism Acts" of 2006, which was modified in August 2013 to further restrict freedoms. The law, commonly known as the 'terrorism law', has been widely used to crack down on dissidents including human rights defenders, politicians, photographers, and even children.
In 2013 alone, 328 defendants were tried for alleged terrorism crimes in 38 separate cases. According to a review by the BCHR, the majority of these cases lacked adequate evidence, and convictions were based mainly, or entirely, on the defendants’ confessions obtained under reported torture or secret sources that are never revealed. In a sample of twenty cases, the sentences handed down for the 231 defendants totaled more than 2500 years in prison. At the end of 2013, eighteen cases were still before court, in which more than 90 defendants were awaiting a final verdict. Throughout the whole year of 2013, there was an average of one terrorism case every ten days, which is an alarmingly high number for a country with a population as small as Bahrain’s.