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Parliamentary questions
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24 November 2017
Question for written answer E-007230-17
to the Commission (Vice-President/High Representative)
Rule 130
Ana Gomes (S&D)

 Subject:  VP/HR — Bahrain: first military trials of civilians since 2011
 Answer in writing 

In April 2017, the King of Bahrain ratified a constitutional amendment granting military courts the right to try civilians deemed to be a threat to Bahrain’s national ‘independence, sovereignty and security’. However, the amendment is likely to be used to try, before a military court, any civilian charged under anti-terrorism laws, including peaceful activists prosecuted on fabricated charges.

Military courts last operated in Bahrain under the 2011 state of national emergency, facilitating the authorities’ suppression of pro-democracy protesters, and the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) report concluded that they systematically violated the fundamental principles of a fair trial.

On 23 October 2017, four defendants facing political charges, namely Sayed Alawi Sayed Husain Al-Alawi, Sayed Fadhel Abbas Hassan Radhi, Muhammed Abdulhassan Al-Mutaghwi and Muhammad Husain Al-Shehabi, appeared before the military court. None of them has been allowed to meet their lawyers and they have been denied regular contact with their families.

1. In the light of the extensive due process violations in the use of military courts to try civilians, what steps will the VP/HR take to ensure the release of the four defendants?

2. What actions will the VP/HR undertake against Bahrain’s recurring violation of human rights, including the right to a fair trial?

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