5 Bahrain policemen accused of torture to face trial

AFP , Thursday 29 Dec 2011

The Bahraini Public Prosecution accuses 5 police officers of killing 35 people and torturing 5 detainees to death while in custody during anti-regime protests in 2011, announcing their trial in January 2012

Anti-government protesters with Bahraini flags demonstrate near riot police in Abu Saiba village, west of Manama, Bahrain, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011. (Photo:AP)

The Bahraini authorities announced on Thursday that five police officers accused over the death by torture of two detainees, linked to anti-regime protests earlier this year, would face trial next month.

Nawaf Abdullah Hamza the Public Prosecution was quoted by the official Bahrain News Agency as saying that after examining allegations by the interior ministry of cases of torture and ill treatment, his office had decided to refer one case to the criminal court.

Five police officers have been implicated in the case, he said, adding that "two are accused of having beaten to death two of the detainees, and the three others are accused of failing to report the case."

He said the trial would start on 11 January.

The Shiite-led mass demonstrations which rocked the Sunni-ruled kingdom of Bahrain earlier this year were violently crushed by government forces using live ammunition and heavy-handed tactics.

A special commission appointed to probe the crackdown on the month-long anti-government protests that erupted in March published a report last month denouncing the "excessive and unjustified use of force" by the authorities.

The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry said 35 people were killed in the unrest, including five security personnel, and five detainees who were tortured to death while in custody. Hundreds were also injured.

Earlier on Wednesday, the government announced a policy of "zero tolerance" towards any abuse of political detainees, in line with the recommendations of the probe.

Bahrain has come under pressure from close ally the United States to bring to trial those allegedly responsible for human rights violations.

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