European Parliament condemns death penalty in Bahrain

Scottish MEP leads EU efforts calling for release of Mohammed Ramadan.

Scottish member of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Alyn Smith MEP, has led an urgency resolution on political detainee, Mohammed Ramadan, who is facing imminent execution in Bahrain. 

Mohammed Ramadan, a 32-year-old airport security guard, was arrested by the Bahraini authorities for allegedly taking part in a bombing in Al Dair in February 2014 and sentenced to death after a trial during which he was tortured and forced to confess a crime he insists did not commit.

Today, the European Parliament has called on Bahrain, and in particular His Majesty Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, to grant Mohammed Ramadan a royal pardon or to commute his sentence.

Speaking after the debate Alyn said:

"This resolution is a strong message to our friends in Bahrain that we are confident Bahrain can move in the right direction and we acknowledge some of the crucial reforms the country has implemented. However, respect for fundamental rights and freedoms of its citizens can and must improve. Today, the Parliament firmly condemned the continuing use of torture by the security forces against prisoners and the use of Bahrain’s anti-terrorism laws to punish citizens for their political beliefs.

“We will not stay silent while nine Bahraini citizens are on death row, awaiting execution. We know that their sentences are based on dubious charges, following their engagement in peaceful protests against their Government. We are calling for their immediate release and the end of torture in Bahrain.

"As author of this resolution it is comforting to know that the clear majority of the European Parliament supported our message. At the same time, I regret that the Tories refused to take part in the joint motion, although Europe's Conservatives have mostly endorsed our resolution. Torture and capital punishment are unacceptable in any case, let alone for political prisoners. Human rights defenders must be protected and allowed to conduct their work without hindrance, intimidation or harassment."