On 19 June 2019, Bertrand Pancher and seven other French MPs member of the “Liberté and Territoires” political group has sent a letter to the King of Bahrain regarding the death sentences upheld against Ahmed AlMalali and Ali AlArab.
In their letter, the French MPs call on the king “not to ratify the capital penalty imposed on the two men”, which was upheld by Bahrain’s Court of Cassation on 6 May 2019. AlMalali and AlArab now face imminent execution in Bahrain after being sentenced in an unfair mass trial, bringing the total number of individuals at imminent risk of execution in the kingdom up to eight.
Bertrand Pancher and his fellow MPs remind that AlMalali was unlawfully and violently arrested in 2017, during which he was shot twice in the hand and suffered a broken leg. Following his arrest, AlMalali was held incommunicado and subjected to torture by Bahraini authorities. AlMalali’s torture included beatings, exposure to cold, forced standing, and electrocution. Ultimately, he was charged with possessing illegal firearms, training in the use of firearms, and membership in a terrorist cell. In 2018, AlMalali was sentenced to death in a mass trial.
Similarly, the French MPs remind that Ali AlArab was also unlawfully arrested in 2017. He was held at the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) and then transferred to Dry Dock Detention Center, where he was repeatedly tortured – including frequent beatings, electrocution, and removal of toenails. Authorities have also forced AlArab to sign a confession while blindfolded. As a result of this confession, AlArab was charged with killing a security officer on 29 January 2017, firing on and wounding members of a security patrol on 14 January 2017, and the illegal possession of firearms. He was finally sentenced to death in 2018 in a mass trial.
Currently, what stands between these men and their executions is the ratification from Bahrain’s king, placing them at imminent risk. A number of human rights groups, including Amnesty International have cited the cases of Ahmed AlMalali and Ali AlArab, along with the six other individuals sentenced to death pending the king’s approval, as requiring “urgent action.”
In his letter, the French MPs urges the King of Bahrain to “ensure they [AlMalali and AlArab] are not executed”. Furthermore, in the light of the allegations of torture and forced confessions, Bertrand Pancher and his fellow MPs called on the Kingdom of Bahrain to order a retrial “that fully complies with international fair trial standards and excludes evidence obtained under torture.” In addition, they exhort Bahrain to join the countries “committed to the 18th of December 2007 UN General Assembly’s 18 resolution” to place a moratorium on the death penalty.
The European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR), welcomes the letter sent by Bertrand Pancher and his fellow MPs. We welcome the urgency to the commutation of AlMalali and AlArab’s sentence and the placement of a moratorium.