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Bahrain to probe torture claims by rights group

Manama, February 10, 2010

Bahrain will investigate allegations by the Human Rights Watch group that interrogators are again using torture in the Gulf Arab country after a lull of several years, the foreign minister said on Wednesday.

Human Rights Watch said in a report on Monday that detainees in three cases mostly linked to protests in 2007 and 2008 in Shi'ite Muslim villages had been beaten and abused during interrogations.

The U.S.-based watchdog said interrogators had suspended detainees from the ceiling and abused them with beatings and electric shock devices.

'The government will now be examining the allegations raised within the report and its findings to ensure that Bahrain continues to meet international best practice in support of human rights,' Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed al-Khalifa said in remarks carried by the official Bahrain News Agency.

Government officials have denied this, as well as claims of torture during interrogations.

Human Rights Watch had said that before the three cases documented in its report, there had been no evidence of mistreatment of detainees in Bahrain between 2001 and 2006.

Sheikh Khaled said that authorities would act if a government inquiry showed there had been violations of Bahraini laws and international conventions.

'The Kingdom of Bahrain unequivocally condemns the mistreatment of any individual in custody and will not tolerate the slightest deviation from this position,' he said.

Sheikh Khaled said Human Rights Watch had been granted access to government documents and officials while researching the report, and that Manama would continue to cooperate with the rights watchdog. – Reuters

Tags: Bahrain | Manama | Human rights | Torture |

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