Fear & Rage Engulfed Bahrain Prior to Execution of the 3 Political Prisoners

2017-01-21 - 6:22 p

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Intense emotions of fear and rage engulfed the Kingdom of Bahrain as the people anxiously waited, not knowing whether the authorities will actually carry out the execution of three political prisoners and torture victims, convicted of killing an Emirati officer and two other policemen in what was known as the Daih bombing, which took place on March 3, 2014.

Deafening silence took over the villages across Bahrain. Streets were bare but of angry protests that were launched in Diraz, Aali, Bouri, Abu Saiba', Sanabes and other areas. Protestors chanted anti-regime slogans and called for stopping the imminent implementation of the death penalty. Police helicopters hovered at a low height over a number of areas, while the authorities imposed strict security measures in multiple villages.

The parents of the three detainees sentenced to death, Abbas Al-Samie, Sami Mushaima and Ali Al-Singace, received an unexpected call on Saturday morning (January 14, 2017) to show up at Jaw Prison to visit their sons. The authorities; however, did not clarify why they set up these unscheduled visits on the weekend, when visits are not usually permitted.

Pro-regime Twitter users soon circulated information that the King approved the execution and that it has been put into effect, yet the authorities refrained from issuing any official statement. The authorities also continued to hold their tongue about the fate of the three political prisoners, after the court of cassation upheld the death penalty issued against them on January 9, 2017.

The death penalty cannot be carried out without out the approval of the King, who heads the three state authorities according to the Constitution. This execution that took place the next day on Sunday (January 15, 2017) was the first of its kind since the eruption of the February 14 uprising in 2011 against the ruling regime.

Mother of the executed 26-year-old Abbas Al-Samie revealed that the visit seemed as a farewell visit, noting that Abbas was unaware of it. She further passed on a message with which he entrusted her, calling on the Bahraini people to make sacrifices and stand against the oppressor in order to achieve their rights, dignity and freedom.

Meanwhile, Sami Mushaima's family said that he was chained and escorted into the visiting room by security officers. They added that they were being recorded by a number of cameras, describing the atmosphere in prison as very "odd."

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21-year-old Ali Al-Singace also sent a message to the Bahraini people, in which he stressed: "We are following the path of Imam Hussein (Third Shia Imam) and we shall break the oppressor with our faith and resilience..."

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In a leaked video from inside prison, addressing the Emirati people on March 1, 2015, Abbas Al-Samie denied his or any of his friends' involvement in the bombing, stressing on his and their innocence. He further highlighted that he adopted peaceful activism in order to help achieve the Bahraini people's legitimate demands. "You must know that I am a fighter for the rights of my oppressed people," he said, stressing that "as we tossed roses at the authorities military men, they confronted us with their vehicles of suppression."

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The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) report had strongly criticized the death sentences handed down to political prisoners during the State of Emergency period, since their confessions were extracted under torture. The report recommended that they have new trials and have their sentences reduced as well. The court of cassation has overturned death sentences over the past years and referred them back to the appeal court that in turn commuted the death penalty to life imprisonment in more than one case.

Nonetheless, the deteriorating political situation and the persisting conflict between the regime and the opposition represented by the Shiite majority in the country perhaps allowed the court of cassation to issue a conclusive verdict, sentencing political prisoners to death for the first time (since 2011) on November 16, 2015. However, this death penalty issued against Mohammad Ramadan and Hussein Ali Mousa, accused of carrying out Al-Dair bombing that took place on February 14, 2014, has not been implemented yet, awaiting the King's approval, despite being issued over a year ago.

The Bahraini authorities have previously executed in 1996 a political prisoner, Isa Qambar, who was accused of killing a policeman during the 1990s uprising, which sparked a huge wave of disturbances and aggravated the security and political crisis at the time.

Since June 2016, the island kingdom has been witnessing a serious escalation of the political and security situation, following the revocation of the Bahraini Shia spiritual leader Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim's citizenship, the dissolution of the largest opposition political group in the country Al-Wefaq Society, the arrest of prominent human rights activist Nabeel Rajab, and an ongoing strict siege imposed by the security authorities on the village of Diraz since over six months.

With the beginning of this new year, the security authorities in Bahrain received a big blow after the breakout of political prisoners from Jaw Central Prison. The authorities announced that a policeman was killed in the process of smuggling the four prisoners outside prison. This incident sparked concerns over the security corpse, as high-ranking Interior Ministry officials were suspended from work and referred to interrogation, which is considered the first time the authorities have taken such measures.

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