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Prosecution of Bahrain Attorney General sought in Irish torture complaint

The Dublin District Court today rejected a criminal complaint seeking a summons for the prosecution of Bahraini Attorney General Ali Bin Fadhul Al-Buainain for his alleged role in the torture of a detainee in Bahrain. A separate complaint has been made to the Gardaí (police) who commenced an investigation headed by Detective Inspector Paul Costello. Al-Buainain is expected in Dublin this week for the annual conference of the International Association of Prosecutors. The application for the summons and police complaint was made by Jaafar Al-Hasabi, who was subjected to beatings, electric shocks and other forms of abuse while in detention in Bahrain in 2010.

Al-Hasabi was one of a number of Bahraini rights activists arrested and tortured in a systematic crackdown by the government authorities. His case elicited direct interventions from several UN Rapporteurs. Bahrain’s Attorney General is accused of authorising Mr Al-Hasabi’s detention while ignoring concerns expressed by human rights groups and experts that he was being tortured.

“Last year the Swiss prosecutor determined that an investigation should be carried out into the involvement of the Attorney General of Bahrain in the brutal torture of Jaafar Al-Hasabi. Today’s decision is a failure by the courts to adhere to commitments given by Ireland under international law. Questions also have to be asked of the International Association of Prosecutors who just last year promoted the Attorney General of Bahrain to the position of Vice President,” said GLAN Director Gearóid Ó Cuinn.


“The decision casts doubt on Ireland’s commitment to implementing the UN Convention against Torture. Under the principle of universal jurisdiction, no state should offer safe haven to those complicit in grave crimes abroad,” said Wolfgang Kaleck, General Secretary of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR).

Sayed Ahmed Al Wadaei, Director of Advocacy at the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy: “We are extremely disappointed at the decision today. It has undermined Ireland’s commitment to the Convention against Torture. Mr Al-Hasabi suffered severe torture that Bahraini officials carried out with impunity. Without accountability, Bahrain has no hope of reform.”

Jaafar Al-Hasabi is represented in Ireland by solicitor Michael Finucane and the court application was moved by Giollaoísa Ó Lideadha SC and James McCullough BL. The action was mobilised by the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), ECCHR in Berlin, the Global Legal Action Network (GLAN) in Dublin and REDRESS in London.

This NGO network also submitted a criminal complaint against the Bahraini Attorney General in Switzerland last year initiated by and based on legal research from ECCHR. The Swiss investigation is ongoing. The criminal complaints in Switzerland and Ireland are part of efforts to end torture and repression in Bahrain and enforce the obligation on all states to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of torture on a global level. Under the UN Convention against Torture, all states have an obligation to prosecute those responsible for or complicit in torture.

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