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Report of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention: Visit to Bahrain - 2001

Report of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention: Visit to Bahrain - 2001

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Published by Fakhri Almosawi
A delegation of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention visited Bahrain from 19 to 24 October 2001. It comprised two members of the Group, its Vice-Chairman, Mr. Louis Joinet, and Mrs. Leïla Zerrougui (Algeria), accompanied by the Group’s secretary.
Throughout its visit, the delegation enjoyed the full cooperation of the Bahraini Government.
The authorities granted it unrestricted access to all prisons and police station holding cells. It was able to speak freely and without witnesses to prisoners it selected at random.
A delegation of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention visited Bahrain from 19 to 24 October 2001. It comprised two members of the Group, its Vice-Chairman, Mr. Louis Joinet, and Mrs. Leïla Zerrougui (Algeria), accompanied by the Group’s secretary.
Throughout its visit, the delegation enjoyed the full cooperation of the Bahraini Government.
The authorities granted it unrestricted access to all prisons and police station holding cells. It was able to speak freely and without witnesses to prisoners it selected at random.

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Published by: Fakhri Almosawi on Jun 14, 2011
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UNITEDNATIONS
E
Economic and SocialCouncil
Distr.GENERALE/CN.4/2002/77/Add.25 March 2002ENGLISHOriginal: FRENCHCOMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTSFifty-eighth sessionAgenda item 11 (b)
CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS, INCLUDING THE QUESTION OFTORTURE AND DETENTIONREPORT OF THE WORKING GROUP ON ARBITRARY DETENTIONAddendumVisit to Bahrain
*
 Executive Summary
A delegation of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention visited Bahrain from19 to 24 October 2001. It comprised two members of the Group, its Vice-Chairman,Mr. Louis Joinet, and Mrs. Leïla Zerrougui (Algeria), accompanied by the Group’s secretary.
 
Throughout its visit, the delegation enjoyed the full cooperation of the Bahraini Government.The authorities granted it unrestricted access to all prisons and police station holding cells. Itwas able to speak freely and without witnesses to prisoners it selected at random.
*
The executive summary of this mission report is being circulated in all official languages. Thereport itself, originally produced in English and French, is contained in the annex to theexecutive summary, and is being circulated in English and Arabic only.GE.02-11288 (E) 100402 120402
 
E/CN.4/2002/77/Add.2 page 2The delegation met Government figures on various occasions. In Manama, it met theForeign Minister, the Interior Minister, the governor of the capital (Manama), the Director of Legal Affairs, the Chairman and members of the Shura (Consultative) Council’s Human RightsCommittee, members of the committee responsible for giving effect to the National ActionCharter, judicial officers and officials of the Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs, theDirector-General of Prisons and members of the Ministry of the Interior’s commission on humanrights. As regards non-governmental sources, the delegation had working meetings with thePresident of the Bar association, several representatives of female civil society and a delegationfrom the Bahraini Human Rights Society.The Working Group considers this visit to be one of the most encouraging it hasundertaken, as regards both the letter and the spirit of its mandate. The release of all the prisoners, including those on whose circumstances the Group had commented, set the seal on asuccessful mission.In its report, the Working Group makes the following recommendations:(a) The Government should see to it that account is taken of insolvent debtors’ goodfaith; it should arrange to have the laws permitting incarceration for failure to pay civil debtsrepealed;(b) The Working Group recommends better safeguards for the rights of foreignerssubject to the “free visas” scheme, and that the Government give effect to articles 198and 302 bis of the Criminal Code and bring to justice those “sponsors” who break the rules andabuse the scheme;(c) The Government should review the legislation governing courts martial and bringit into line with universal standards;(d) The Working Group recommends the Government to extend the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Court to cover minors aged between 15 and 18, and amend the existing law torequire that minors in this category are assisted by counsel, to allow for rehabilitative measuresappropriate to their age and needs, and to have them held separately from adults in prisons;(e) The Working Group invites the Government to allow women to become judicialofficers;(f) The Working Group also recommends effective legal provision to prevent and punish violence against women, especially domestic violence;(g) High priority should be assigned to the passage of the bills now in preparation toreplace the Societies and Clubs Act of 1987 and the Press and Publication Act of 1978; and,lastly,(h) The authorities should take steps to facilitate contact between detainees and thelocal consular services of their countries of origin, and encourage the countries concerned to provide the best possible response to requests for consular assistance.
 
E/CN.4/2002/77/Add.2 page 3
AnnexReport of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on its visit to Bahrain(19-24 October 2001)
CONTENTSPageIntroduction ................................................................................................................ 5I. SUSPENSION OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE RULE OFLAW (1975-1999) ................................................................................. 6II. RESUMPTION OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE RULE OFLAW (1999-2004) ................................................................................. 7A. Institutional reforms ........................................................................ 8B. Repeal of emergency legislation ...................................................... 91. Repeal of emergency legislation and courts ................................ 92. Amnesties .................................................................................... 103. Return home of exiles .................................................................. 114. Compensation due to victims of human rights violations ........... 125. The role of civil society ............................................................... 12C. Reforms in the administration of justice .......................................... 131. How the administration of justice is currently organized,and the impending reforms .......................................................... 142. Organization of the ordinary courts ............................................. 143. Status of judges ............................................................................ 154. Prosecuting and investigative bodies ........................................... 165. The Bar (and legal aid) ................................................................ 186. Juvenile justice ............................................................................ 207. Administration of justice in the army and the police force ......... 21

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