Excessive force used in Bahrain clamp: panel
Manama, November 23, 2011
Bahrain's security forces used excessive force to suppress protests earlier this year, an inquiry commission said on Wednesday, and urged a review of sentences handed down by authorities against those it held responsible for the turmoil.
The panel, led by Egyptian-American international law expert Cherif Bassiouni, was formed and funded by Bahrain's government five months ago to investigate any crimes committed during the worst unrest seen in the kingdom.
Confessions were extracted under duress and detainees were tortured, Bassiouni said in a speech delivered at the palace of Bahrain's King Hamad, adding that 35 people were killed, including five security personnel.
The panel said in its report that it found no clear evidence linking Iran to the unrest. However, King Hamad, speaking after Bassiouni delivered his report, blamed much of the unrest on efforts by Iran to incite violence, but said laws would be reviewed and if necessary revised.
The government said later the panel had reported that five of the deaths during the unrest were the result of torture, but added "The report does not confirm that there was a government policy of torture, mistreatment or using excessive force."
The United States has said a $53 million arms deal depends on what the report says, and Bahrain has already admitted security forces used excessive force in some cases, while denying any coordinated policy of torture.
The report said that there were no evidence that Gulf troops committed any abuse. It also said the Sunni population and Pakistani and other expatriates were targeted during the unrest. - Reuters