Monday October 31 will be a vital test for Bahrain. Two scheduled court verdicts will give a major indication on whether the regime is taking any notice of international pressure to finally ease off its months-long repressive outburst, a clear signal on where the country’s much-vaunted reform project is really headed.

Opposition figure Khalil Al Halwachi and human rights defender Nabeel Rajab are both due to hear the outcome of their separate sham trials. Al Halwachi, a founder of the opposition Amal group, was arrested in September 2014 and has been tried with 16 others. Like many in custody in Bahrain, he says he has been tortured into making a false confession.


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