On September 29, a Bahrain Special Security Court handed down prison sentences of 5 to 15 years for twenty medical professionals convicted of crimes against the state after they provided medical assistance to injured protesters—the latest in a pattern of ongoing repression in Bahrain. Those convicted have faced inhumane conditions while in custody for the past five months, allegedly tortured and denied access to their family and legal counsel. The court also sentenced Ali AlTaweel to death and Ali Attiya to life in prison for allegedly killing a riot police officer. On September 28, the military court upheld the prison sentences for 21 Bahraini activists, sentencing eight of them to life in prison.
Freedom House today praised the decision by the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to include a new freedom of information (FOI) indicator in its methodology for evaluating countries’ eligibility to receive foreign assistance funding.
The decision of a Bahrain Special Security court to uphold harsh sentences—including eight life sentences—for 21 Bahraini human rights and civil society activists, as well as its continued efforts to punish dissent, illustrates a pattern of repression that belies any promises of meaningful reform by the government, according to Freedom House.