Rasa - The Court of Cassation on Monday sentenced the defendants, identified as Mohamed Ramadhan and Hussain Moosa, to death after finding them guilty in the “killing of a police officer and attempt to kill other members of the force in a premeditated ambush using an explosive device on February 14, 2014” in al-Dair village, which lies northeast of the capital, Manama. Ten other people were also handed down jail terms.
Both Amnesty International and the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) rejected the ruling.
Amnesty expressed regret that the last-ditch efforts for seeing some modicum of justice in Bahrain were crushed when the Court of Cassation reaffirmed the death sentences for the two men, despite evidence that they were tortured during their interrogation.
“Bahrain’s judiciary has decided to blatantly ignore court evidence of torture in the case of Mohamed Ramadhan and Hussain Moosa, and this, despite the repeated violations of the men’s right to a fair trial since their arrest over six years ago," said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director.
"The death penalty is abhorrent in all circumstances and should never be used," she added and called "on the Bahraini authorities to immediately quash these convictions and death sentences."
"Instead of condemning to death the victims of this irreparably flawed trial, they must hold to account those responsible for their torture and guarantee that the defendants receive reparations, rehabilitation, and an ironclad guarantee of non-repetition," she noted.
Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, advocacy director of the London-based BIRD, also said in a statement, “Today's verdict is yet another dark stain in the struggle for human rights in Bahrain, demonstrating the regime's iron grip over the country's corrupt judiciary.”
“This horrendous injustice could not have happened without the tacit acceptance of Bahrain's Western allies. The two men have now exhausted legal remedies and are at risk of imminent execution, pending ratification" by the Bahraini king, the statement added.
Alwadaei had previously said that the initial trial was tainted by irregularities.
“The terror of knowing that my husband can be executed by firing squad at any moment without proper notice is tearing me apart,” Ramadhan's wife, Zainab Ebrahim, also wrote in a post published on her Twitter page after the sentence.
Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and BIRD have said that in addition to confession under torture, both men were also subjected to sexual assault, beatings, sleep deprivation and other abuses.
Moosa, a hotel employee, and Ramadhan, a security guard in Bahrain International Airport, were initially handed down death sentences by a criminal court in December 2014.
The pair appealed the sentences and the case was referred to the High Criminal Court of Appeal, which confirmed the verdicts in March 2015.
The case later reached the Court of Cassation that upheld the rulings in November that year.
The death sentences were later overturned after the emergence of a previously undisclosed medical report by the Bahraini Interior Ministry.
The report appeared to corroborate assertions that both men were tortured to give false confessions, according to the HRW.
But an appeals court reinstated the sentences in January 2020.
As part of Bahrain's law, the case was referred to the Court of Cassation that approved the verdict for the second time on Monday.
Bahrain has seen anti-regime protests over the past nine years. The major demand has been the ouster of the Al Khalifah regime and establishment of a just and conclusive system representing all Bahraini nationals.
The Manama regime, in return, has ignored the calls and is pressing ahead with its heavy-handed crackdown and persecution of human rights campaigners and political dissidents.