Bahrain says ' HRW torture report 'misleading'

AFP , Tuesday 24 Nov 2015

Bahrain has criticized as misleading a Human Rights Watch report accusing the kingdom's authorities of torturing detainees during interrogation and granting security officials impunity.

The report, published Monday, is "misleading, unbalanced and controversial," said Information Minister Isa al-Hammadi in remarks on the official BNA news agency.

It is "based on false information."

Bahrain has established "independent national watchdogs to probe any alleged illegal practices involving detainees, inmates or others," said Hammadi, adding that such action is taken "seriously" by the kingdom.

"We have a clear policy of cooperation with international organisations which are willing to do so," he said, adding that "Bahrain is no need for politicised watchdogs which work through an agenda," apparently referring to HRW.

New York-based HRW has said regulatory bodies set up after the 2011 to end torture in interrogation and detention facilities "lack independence".

HRW spoke of cases of physical torture amid a "complete lack of accountability for the abuse of detainees."

It said it interviewed 10 detainees "who said they endured coercive interrogations" by authorities.

In another statement on BNA, the government said it was "reviewing" the content of HRW's report, "including a series of anonymous allegations it contains, and recommendations."

It urged HRW to provide the three institutions, controlled by the interior ministry and public prosecutor, "with sufficient information to enable them to conduct effective investigations."

Sunni-ruled Bahrain, a Western ally, has been rocked by a Shia-led uprising since February 2011 with demands ranging from a constitutional monarchy to overthrowing the Al-Khalifa dynasty altogether.

Scores of opponents have been detained, with many facing trial, while others convicted of involvement in violence have been handed heavy sentences, including loss of citizenship and life in prison.

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