Bahraini authorities have referred a group of civilians accused of targeting security forces to a military court after the Persian Gulf country’s monarch King Hamad bin Isa Ale Khalifah ratified a disastrous constitutional amendment back in April.
Bahrain’s state-run news agency (BNA) reported on Sunday that Head of the Military Judiciary, Brigadier Youssef Rashid Fleifel, had charged members of a civilian “terrorist cell,” and referred them to the High Military Court to set a date for their trial.
Fleifel did not give further detail on the number or identities of those, who are to stand trial.
On May 9, Bahrain’s public prosecution referred the case of Fadhel Sayed Abbas Hasan Radhi, a victim of enforced disappearance, to the military court. It was the first referral of a civilian to trial before a military court since 2011.
“This is a shameful move by the authorities designed to strike fear in the heart of the population. It is also a serious blow for justice in Bahrain. Military trials in Bahrain are flagrantly unfair. And trying civilians before military courts is contrary to international standards,” Samah Hadid, Director of Campaigns at Amnesty International’s Beirut regional office, said at the time.
She added, “The decision to transfer Fadhel Sayed Abbas Hasan Radhi to the military court must immediately be quashed. He must be given immediate access to proper legal representation, informed of the charges against him, and tried in a civilian court, according to international fair trial standards.”