Bahrain’s Public Prosecutor must act on evidence of torture23-05-2012
The International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT) welcomes the reported openness1 of Nayef Yousif - Bahrain’s Public Prosecutor - to “seek the truth” in the death of Youself Mowali (also known as Yousif Ahmed Abbas).
On 11 January this year, Mowali left for his morning walk and never returned. Police said they found his body floating in the sea on 13 January. A state doctor reported the cause of death as drowning and ruled out signs of violence. However, a second autopsy performed by an independent forensic pathologist commissioned by the IRCT concluded that Mowali was electrically tortured and unconscious when he drowned.
The willingness of the Prosecutor to understand the discrepancies was reported by the Bahrain News Agency following the submission of the IRCT-sponsored autopsy to the authorities and the publication of an in-depth feature by Al-Jazeera2 suggesting a cover-up of torture in the island nation.
However, the IRCT is concerned that the Prosecutor already seems to have reached his conclusion. We are dismayed by government attempts to question the legitimacy of the second, IRCT autopsy rather than to focus on serious allegations of continued torture and corruption.
Miriam Reventlow, Head of Legal and Advocacy at the IRCT said: “The autopsy performed by Dr Sebnem Korur, a leading international expert with many years experience in documenting torture, was performed on behalf of the IRCT according to international standards, including the Minnesota Protocol3. The original autopsy, by the Bahraini authorities did not meet such standards: key evidence suggesting that this young man died as a result of torture was omitted from the initial autopsy by the Bahraini authorities.”
The IRCT is calling on the Bahraini authorities to live up to their commitment to investigate fully allegations of torture and hold all perpetrators to account.
Notes to Editors
1. Public Prosecution Compares Findings of Original Autopsy and Secondary Examination of Drowning Victim, Bahrain News Agency, 18/05/12 http://www.bna.bh/portal/en/news/508968
2. Autopsy finds torture behind Bahrain drowning, Al Jazeera, 18/05/12
3. Also known as the United Nations Manual on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-Legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions
Scott McAusland, IRCT Head of Communications
Tel: +45 29 37 50 10
About The International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims
The International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims is an independent non-profit global organisation with a membership of 144 rehabilitation centres in 73 countries and with over 25 years' experience.
The work of the IRCT is threefold:
• Rehabilitation of torture victims and their families
• Ensuring victims' access to justice
• Eradication of torture