The death sentences passed on four anti-government protesters in Bahrain on 28 April prompted thousands of appeals, posted by Bahrainis on the European Parliament's Facebook page, for help to get them revoked. Moved by these appeals, committee chairs Gabriele Albertini (Foreign Affairs), Heidi Hautala (Human Rights Sub-Committee) and Angelika Niebler (Delegation for relations with the Arab Peninsula) issued the following joint statement on Tuesday.
"We condemn the death sentences handed down to four Bahrainis on 28 April, and are following developments in Bahrain with deep concern. The European Union firmly opposes to the death penalty, a principle we reiterated in our recent resolution on the EU relations with the Gulf Cooperation Council. Furthermore, we hear that the trial of these four civilians was conducted in a special military court, with only limited access to legal representation, which raises serious doubts about its fairness.
At a time when further trials are taking place, the Bahraini population, especially young people using social networks such as Facebook, is turning to the European Parliament for support. We feel that the Bahraini authorities should listen to their concerns and call on the authorities to impose a moratorium on executions, to ensure fair trials with adequate legal representation and the right to appeal, and to guarantee respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
We reiterate our view that demonstrators have expressed legitimate democratic aspirations and that the government of Bahrain should engage in a meaningful and constructive dialogue with all parties without delay or preconditions, in order to bring about the necessary reforms and restore social consensus in the country. We hope to express these views and to discuss the situation at a meeting with the Ambassador of Bahrain in Brussels in the very near future".