Bahrain to hire ex-US police chief for reforms

Gov't says it plans to appoint former Miami Police chief to help with law enforcement
Bahrain to hire ex-US police chief for reforms
A flashback to the Bahrain uprisings in March
By Reuters
Fri 02 Dec 2011 01:11 PM

Bahrain plans to hire a former police chief in the US state of Florida to help with reforms of its law enforcement procedures after an independent inquiry found evidence of systematic rights abuses during a crackdown on pro-democracy protests this year.

"(John) Timoney was chief of the Miami Police for seven years, where among his many accomplishments were the successful reduction of crime and the implementation of proper practices for the use of force," Bahrain's government said in a statement.

Bahrain has said that the interior ministry was in the process of hiring US and British security experts to help police protect rights and freedoms while enforcing order.

The Gulf Arab state has said a code of conduct would be developed for police, as it faces frequent protests by majority Shi'ite Muslims against the Sunni-led government.

Bahrain has said it will comply with the findings of the inquiry, headed by international rights experts, and is under pressure from its ally the United States to show improvements in its rights record to secure an arms sale.

The inquiry was set up after Bahrain faced international criticism for imposing martial law during a crackdown on protests, in which it called in Saudi and United Arab Emirates forces for help.

Rights activists have said senior figures should be sacked over the abuses listed in the inquiry's report, which appeared to have been more hard-hitting than some in government expected.

It said torture was used to extract confessions that were used to convict hundreds of people in military courts, mainly Shi'ites. It described the abuse as "systematic", and said some 3,000 people were detained and 2,000 sacked from state jobs.

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