Target: Shaikh Hamad bin ‘Issa Al Khalifa, King of Bahrain
Goal: Prevent the executions of three men and secure them a retrial free of human rights violations.
Three men accused of taking part in a bombing plot that resulted in the deaths of three policemen have been sentenced to death following a trial riddled with human rights and fair trial violations. Their names are Ali Abdulshaheed al-Sankis, Sami Mirza Mshaima’ and Abbas Jamil Taher Mhammad al-Samea. Ten others have been sentenced to life in prison. Sign the petition and demand both a halt to the death penalty and a retrial for the men.
Following the bomb blast, security forces arrested 25 people. Ten were eventually sentenced to life imprisonment, while al-Sankis, Mshaima’ and al-Samea have all been sentenced to death. The trials, however, were so corrupt and unfair that two separate sets of lawyers withdrew in protest.
The condemned men’s lawyers claim that they had no access to their clients until the morning of their court hearing. Once there, they were not able to form an adequate defense since they were not provided with all the evidence against their clients and they were not allowed to cross-examine prosecution witnesses. Furthermore, the men accused their jailers of torture, including electric shocks, cigarette burns, sleep deprivation, and sexual assault. A request from their lawyers for a forensic examination of the men was denied by the court.
In addition to the human rights violations the men have been subjected to, there is evidence that may exonerate one of them. One of the men sentenced to death, Abbas Jamil Taher Mhammad al-Samea, a schoolteacher, was in school at the time of the bombing and has a letter from the school to corroborate this. The letter has been ignored by the authorities.
The death sentence is the ultimate degrading and inhumane punishment under any circumstances, but it is especially disgusting in this case where the men’s rights have been so grossly violated and ignored. Sign the petition and demand both a halt to the death penalty in Bahrain and a retrial for all the men involved in the bombing plot.
I am writing to demand an immediate moratorium on the death penalty in Bahrain and a prompt retrial for the thirteen men convicted of a bombing plot that killed three police officers in al-Daih. The men were not granted even the semblance of a fair trial and must be allowed another opportunity to properly defend themselves and address the evidence against them with adequate legal assistance.
The grossly unfair trials, which denied the men access to their lawyers prior to their hearing, withheld evidence from the defense, forbade defense lawyers from cross-examining witnesses for the prosecution, and refused to investigate allegations of torture, resulted in three men being sentenced to death and ten others being sentenced to life imprisonment. One of the men sentenced to die, Abbas Jamil Taher Mhammad al-Samea, has evidence that he was not even at the scene of the bombing when it occurred–he was teaching school. This evidence has been ignored. The men have also reported being tortured–shocked, burned, deprived of sleep, and sexually assaulted–while in custody. There has been no investigation into these allegations, despite a request from the defense that the men be forensically examined.
The death penalty is the ultimate in extreme, degrading, and inhumane punishment. It is shameful and cruel under any circumstances, but especially deplorable when it is arrived at as the result of willful ignorance and injustice. I demand an end to the death penalty in Bahrain, and I call for an immediate and fair retrial for all the men allegedly involved in the bombing plot. Furthermore, I demand that their allegations of torture be fully and fairly investigated and that those responsible for their treatment be brought to justice.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Allan Donque via Wikimedia Commons