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Fri 9 Dec 2011 10:48 AM

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Bahrain refers deaths implicating police to prosecutor

Interior Minister says public prosecutor will investigate all deaths and torture cases

Bahrain refers deaths implicating police to prosecutor
Flashback to Bahrains political uprising in February
Bahrain refers deaths implicating police to prosecutor
Flashback to Bahrains political uprising in February

Bahrain has ordered the public prosecutor to investigate all deaths and torture cases implicating the police as part of efforts at political reconciliation following a crackdown on pro-democracy protests earlier this year.

The state news agency said on Thursday the measures followed the recommendations of an inquiry commission set up by the government that investigated the unrest in the Gulf state.

Inspired by revolts in Tunisia and Egypt, thousands of Bahrainis took to the streets in February and March to demand an end to control of the government by the al Khalifa family.

Interior Minister Sheikh Rashed bin Abdullah al-Khalifa "issued an order to refer all cases related to deaths, torture and inhumane treatment implicating police to the Public Prosecution," BNA news agency said.

The minister also ordered that cameras be installed to "ensure visual and audio recording for all official interviews of detainees", BNA reported.

The inquiry panel acknowledged that five people had been tortured to death but said there was no official policy to abuse protesters.

Bahrain - which is home to the US Fifth Fleet - called in troops from Saudi Arabia and other Sunni-led Gulf states as it cracked down on protests and imposed martial law, saying the unrest was fomented by Shi'ite power Iran.

The minister signed an agreement with the International Committee of the Red Cross aimed at developing more responsible police work and creating a balance between security and commitment to human rights, the government said in a statement.

According to the memorandum, the Ministry of Interior will allow the committee to visit inmates at its detention centres.