Statement by Bahrain Human Rights Observatory (BHRO)
Bahrain Human Rights Observatory (BHRO) regrets the insults and the inappropriate treatment to which the lawyers are being exposed before the criminal courts by some members of court panels, which has reached levels that necessitate a strong stance by the Supreme Judiciary Council to restore the lawyers confidence in the judiciary System.
Many lawyers were thrown out of court halls. Among whom were lawyer Abdulla Zain ulddin, lawyer Mohsin Al-Alawi. Many were also insulted and stopped by policemen who outnumber judges and litigants in criminal courts.
Lawyers who are attempting to perform their duties and enter some courts are impeded by police through placing blocks that prevent movement from one court to another, or by locking the court doors after the judge enters, regardless of the fact that lawyers may go back and forth to the same court for more than an hour waiting for sessions to be held. What is worst is that lawyers are being constantly stopped and impeded by policemen when they move between various court halls. Police men go as far as using force to deny lawyers access to courts and even interfere to evict them from courts.
Most of lawyers in criminal courts has reached a high degree of desperation because they are unable to provide the minimum levels of defense guarantees and fair trials, especially as police and public prosecution are not allowing them to attend interrogations of political prisoners, and judges are refusing any serious defense or even listening to the prisoners, checking torture marks or even talking about torture or investigating it. Lawyers do not see any real desire on the part of judges to listen to their request, thereby rendering their job in defending prisoners in political cases to become a mere make – believe defense and a psychological support for the prisoners. Cases in which the accused are opposition supporters take several days or months before a verdict is issued.
It has also been noticed recently that various courts have reached a level that they openly protect prosecution witnesses (mainly policemen) against questioning by lawyers, and exceeding that, to answering for them or refraining from putting any questions to them. Lawyers have even learnt that prosecution witnesses are being allowed access to case files before being questioned thereby rendering the questioning of any security officer futile. This has created a conviction among lawyers that some judges have developed a negative attitude towards all political prisoners, and trials are being held hastily without complying with the simplest rules and articles of the Criminal Procedures Law, such as formally charging the accused, interrogating, allowing for their examination by a forensic doctor, interrogation of prosecution witnesses or displaying or examining the evidence or even listening to denial witnesses. Even written defense may not be submitted. It has been noticed that many political cases have been held for verdict without presentation of witnesses or written defense.
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