Unrest probe panel makes key suggestions
Manama, November 24, 2011
The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) which probed the February/March unrest in the kingdom and issues related, has made several recommendations to the government.
A summary of key recommendations outlined in the report:
* Establish an impartial mechanism to determine accountability of those in government who committed unlawful or negligent acts resulting in the deaths, torture and mistreatment of civilians - with a view to bringing legal and disciplinary action against them.
* Make the office of the Inspector General independent of the Interior Ministry and allow it to receive complaints, protect complainants, carry out independent investigations and conduct disciplinary and criminal proceedings, enforce police professional standards and carry out legal and sensitivity training for police officers.
* Strip the National Security Agency of law enforcement and arrest authorities, making it a purely intelligence gathering organisation with an independent Inspector General to carry out the same internal ombudsman functions mentioned above.
* Require the Attorney-General to investigate claims of torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and to use independent forensic experts and provide remedies for victims.
* Allow all convictions and sentences rendered by the National Security Courts where fundamental principles of a fair trial were not respected to be reviewed in ordinary courts.
* Investigate all deaths attributed to security forces and all allegations of torture, prosecuting implicated individuals through an independent office. Avoid detention without prompt access to lawyers and without access to the outside world for more than two or three days. Every person arrested should be given a copy of the arrest warrant and no person should be held incommunicado.
* Establish urgently and "implement vigorously" a programme for the integration into the security forces of personnel from all the communities in Bahrain.
* Review convictions and commute sentences of all persons charged with offences involving political expression, not consisting of advocacy of violence, or drop outstanding charges against them.
* Commute the death sentence imposed for murder arising out of the events of February/March.
* Compensate and provide remedies for the families of the deceased and victims of torture, ill-treatment or prolonged incommunicado detention.
* Ensure dismissed employees have not been sacked for exercising their right to freedom of expression, opinion, association or assembly.
* Reinstate all students who have not been criminally charged with an act of violence.
* The government should consider rebuilding some of the religious structures demolished by authorities.
* Relax censorship and allow the opposition greater access to television broadcasts, radio broadcasts and print media; establish professional standards for the media that avoid incitement to hatred, violence and intolerance.
* Develop educational programmes in the primary, secondary, high school and university levels to promote religious, political and other forms of tolerance, as well as promoting human rights and the rule of law.
* Develop a national reconciliation programme that addresses the grievances of groups who are, or perceive themselves, to be deprived of equal political, social and economic rights and benefits across all segments of Bahrain's population. - TradeArabia News Service