UN torture investigator says Bahrain cancels his visit

  • Share via facebook
  • Tweet this
  • Bookmark and Share
Bahraini Shiite Muslims protesters hold petrol bomb during clashes with riot police. (AFP/Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)

Bahraini Shiite Muslims protesters hold petrol bomb during clashes with riot police. (AFP/Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)

The UN torture investigator said Bahrain had effectively cancelled a trip he had planned to the Gulf Arab state, where unrest led by majority Shi'ites against the Sunni ruling family has simmered for over two years.

Juan Mendez, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, said in a statement it was the second time a scheduled visit had been postponed at short notice. His trip had been set for May 8-15.

"It is effectively a cancellation as no alternative dates were proposed, nor is there a future road map to discuss," he said on Wednesday. "Let me be clear, this was a unilateral decision by the authorities."

Bahrain's state news agency said on Monday the authorities had asked Mendez to delay his trip, without giving a reason. Mendez then put it off until further notice, the agency said.

Bahrain, which hosts the US Fifth Fleet, crushed Shi'ite-led pro-democracy demonstrations that began in February 2011. At least 35 people were killed. Lower-level unrest continues.

Under criticism from human rights groups, the government invited a commission led by Cherif Bassiouni, a respected UN human rights lawyer to examine its handling of the trouble. Its report in November 2011 said the authorities had used widespread and excessive force, including torture to extract confessions.

The Bahrain government says it has taken steps to address the brutality of security forces by dismissing those responsible and introducing cameras at police stations to monitor abuses.

Mendez had been due to meet government officials, members of civil society groups and political party members, and to visit places of detention.

Amnesty International said Bahrain's decision showed it was clearly "not serious" about implementing human rights reforms.

In its annual report on human rights, the US State Department said this month Bahrain had failed to implement the most important recommendations detailed in the Bassiouni report.

The State Department report said Bahrain's most serious human rights problems included the arrest and detention of protesters on vague charges, in some cases leading to torture while being detained, and a lack of due process in trials of activists, medical personnel, teachers and students.

The report also said some protesters had engaged in "lethal acts of violence against security forces".

Bahraini Information Minister Samira Rajab rejected the report's findings, saying it lacked objectivity.

"The report includes texts which are totally far from the truth, adopting a manner that fuels terror and terrorists targeting Bahrain's national security," the Bahraini news agency quoted Rajab as saying on Wednesday.

Related:
Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

  • No comments yet, be the first!

Enter the words above: Enter the numbers you hear:

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
Events that moved the markets

Events that moved the markets

What, if anything, have we learnt from past crises that have...

A country on hold: Oman's next step?

A country on hold: Oman's next step?

The Gulf state has been relatively stable under the rule of one...

1
Saudi king keeps close hand on oil in remodelling strategic team

Saudi king keeps close hand on oil in remodelling strategic team

King is clearly laying the ground for a generational shift in...

Most Discussed
  • 12
    Has Narendra Modi already lost the plot?

    Modi was quiet all along and did not utter a word regarding the attacks on minorities and their institutions. It took Obama's address to him to atleast... more

    Saturday, 28 March 2015 2:25 AM - Ali
  • 11
    Nakheel PR: The toughest job in Dubai?

    On service charges.

    We were overcharged for years by Nakheel so that those loans could be paid back.

    The dramatic cuts have come to nothing... more

    Friday, 27 March 2015 7:32 PM - Pondersome George
  • 6
    Drunk passenger who slapped air stewardess jailed in Dubai

    Its high time airlines ban alcoholic drinks on board or limit it to just one drink. There are many passengers who love the free alcohol and keep drinking... more

    Saturday, 28 March 2015 2:25 AM - Azk