EU on death sentences in Bahrain

Statement by the High Representative, Catherine Ashton, on death sentences in Bahrain
Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission, made today the following statement:

“I am deeply concerned about the imminent risk of execution of four Bahraini nationals sentenced to death by a military court on 28 April for the alleged murder of two police officers during antigovernment protests in March. The charges are serious, but the fact that civilians were tried before a military court behind closed doors, is a further cause for concern.

In accordance with international human rights conventions that Bahrain has signed up to, every person has the right to a fair trial including the right of effective appeal. Anyone sentenced to death has the right to seek pardon or commutation of the sentence, which may be granted in all cases.

The EU is firmly opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances and calls on Bahrain to reestablish a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.

I also call for the full investigation of all alleged human rights violations committed during the past months as well as the immediate release of all political prisoners.

These death sentences risk further exacerbating recent tensions in Bahrain and as such, present an obstacle to national reconciliation. Reconciliation requires dialogue to be started without delay and without preconditions, enabling real reforms which are the only viable solution to successfully addressing the challenges the country is facing.”

Council of the European Union

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