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Bahrain unrest probe destroys records

Manama, December 4, 2011

Records collected during a major investigation into Bahrain's unrest have been destroyed to protect the identity of contributors, said a Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) spokeswoman.

However, a back-up of all the evidence, including paperwork, photographs, videos and other material has been stored digitally on a highly secured server outside Bahrain.

"The evidence collected has been destroyed and is securely stored electronically," the spokeswoman said.

She said officials planned to store the hard drive containing the records at the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague in the Netherlands.

"In the event that the records are not housed at the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the commissioners will arrange for their storage at an academic institution able to provide the same level of security as the Permanent Court of Arbitration," says the BICI report.

"The hard drive will be preserved for a period of 10 years, after which it will be destroyed."

The commission, which had more than 30 members, started its work on July 24 and put together comprehensive information using testimony from Bahrainis and expatriates, including observations from political activists, civil society organisations and government agencies.

It was allocated $1.3 million (BD491,000) by the Royal Court to carry out its work to cover hotel expenses, transportation and the use of two villas used to create temporary offices. The report, in Arabic and English, was presented to His Majesty King Hamad by BICI head Professor Mahmoud Cherif Bassiouni during a ceremony at Sakhir Palace on November 23.

It is available on the commission website, bici.org.bh.

More than 2,000 Arabic and English printed editions of the BICI report will be available for distribution in the coming weeks.

The Arabic version of the report was withdrawn quickly after its release when it emerged the translation contained some discrepancies. However, it is now being corrected and is expected to be reissued next week and posted on the site.

The original Arabic version of the report can be downloaded from the Bahrain News Agency website bna.bh.

The BICI appointed an independent accounting firm to document its costs and expenditure during its investigations and an audit report will be posted on its website on December 16.

The independent commission was set up on June 29 by His Majesty.

The report was originally due to be published on October 31, but the deadline was extended to allow the BICI to continue collecting evidence from ministries and government agencies.

Prof Bassiouni was assisted by four commissioners - former International Criminal Court president Judge Phillipe Kirsch, former UN special rapporteur on human rights Sir Nigel Rodley, international legal expert Dr Mahnoush Arsanjani and Sharia (Islamic law) specialist Dr Badria Al Awadhi. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Probe | unrest | Records | Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry |

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