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Ministry of Human Rights Affairs/Statement
05 : 41 PM - 06/09/2012
Manama, September 6th (BNA) – The Ministry of Human Rights Affairs wishes to respond to the statements by certain non-governmental organizations on the verdicts passed by court on 3rd September 2012 regarding the defendants accused of conspiring to overthrow the regime by force, collaborating with external parties, and violating the constitution of the Kingdom of Bahrain by stating the following:-

1- The Ministry of Human Rights Affairs respects the judicial process, the aforesaid sentences handed over and the independence of the judiciary.
2- The ministry rejects any intervention by any state or organization in the aforesaid sentences which were handed down by an independent judiciary following a fair trial.
3- Moreover, any statement against the ruling are rejected due to the fact that all accused defendants appeared before a civilian court and received all legal guarantees including lawyers and witnesses.
4- The defendants were accorded the right to a fair trial, as evidenced most clearly by the presence of their lawyers throughout the judicial process, Their right to appeal the sentencing that has been given; and the publicizing the court’s verdict making thereby upholding the principles of transparency and accountability.
5- The court was conducted in a professional manner. and observers including NGO's and states were allowed to monitor the trial throughout the judicial process. In fact, the Ministry assisted couple of them to attend court hearings.
6- It is unfair to state that the sentences are outrageous due to political considerations. Professionalism should be upheld in such cases. Unfortunately, such professionalism does not exist in many circles who try to politicize certain issues in the region on the expense of human rights.
7- The defendants were tried in the High Criminal Court, since May 8, 2012. Sixteen hearings were conducted until the verdicts issued yesterday. Sentences were issued against 13 defendants in their presence. Seven other defendants are wanted fugitives.
8- The defendants can appeal to the Court of Cassation in accordance with Bahrain’s Code of Criminal Procedure. Their lawyers have the opportunity to challenge the sentences before the Court of Cassation, and challenge the current sentences. This demonstrates that the judicial process in Bahrain is fair, independent, and transparent.
9- The defendants received full medical care during their incarceration. The Court also provided for all their health requirements upon request and at all times. Regular visits were conducted by their families to all defendants. The Ministry of Human Rights Affairs also visited the defendants to look for their wellbeing and be sure that their rights are preserved. Defendants’ request not to sit in the trial dock, contrary to common practice in most parts of the world was also granted. They were by their lawyers’ sides without any restriction on their freedoms. Attorneys were allowed full access to meet with the defendants before and after the trials. Their meetings were not limited to individual sessions and unusually, the Court allowed the attorneys to hold group sessions with the defendants. Each defendant was given the opportunity to speak and defend himself. Some spoke at times for over two consecutive hours. Some also read over 40 pages in their defense.
10- In conclusion, it is difficult to Level accusations against the sentences since the court followed high professional procedures and the defendants received their rights in full.

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