Halt Trial Based on Forced Confessions

bahrain protest

Target: Interior Minister Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa

Goal: Halt the conviction of two women who were charged with crimes using confessions extracted during torture

Two women, Nafeesa al-‘Asfoor and Rayhana al-Mousawi, have been charged in High Criminal Court in Bahrain on charges of ‘possession of explosives’ and ‘planning to commit terrorist acts.’ The charges came after the two women were arrested attempting to enter the Formula 1 circuit during a protest at the Bahrain Grand Prix car racing event last year. Both women deny the charges. Rayhana al-Mousawi claims that she was tortured and forced to sign a ‘confession’ during her time in detention. She also claims that when she told the court that she was tortured, the prosecution threatened to send her back to where she had been tortured unless she signed the confession. The judge asked her to leave the courtroom and did nothing to look further into the allegations. The government must immediately suspend the charges against them until these allegations are pursued.

Both women have submitted complaints to the Special Investigations Unit to have their allegations properly investigated. No results of the investigation have been made public and no one has been punished for the mistreatment that the women suffered.

Cases like those of these two women are common in Bahrain, despite an uprising there three years ago that brought supposed reforms to the country. Prisoners of conscience remain in prison and the rights of freedom of expression and assembly are still being brutally suppressed by the government. Protesters are often handed lengthy prison sentences. Some have been jailed for up to ten years for tweeting about injustices suffered. The government must do more to protect its people from injustice and ill treatment at the hands of security services. Sign this petition to demand that the case of Nafeesa al-‘Asfoor and Rayhana al-Mousawi be investigated.


Dear Interior Minister Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa,

It seems as if the courts in your country appear more concerned with following the government’s wants than offering any sort of justice to the people of your country. The recent cases of Nafeesa al-‘Asfoor and Rayhana al-Mousawi really shows that. Your government has to do more to protect the human rights of your people.

I ask that you immediately suspend the case against these two women while further investigations are made into the allegations of torture. This will show the international community that your government is interested in amending its human rights record.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Bahrain in pictures via Wikipedia Commons

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