Amnesty International reports that Manama has referred its first civilian case to military court for trial in accordance with a constitutional reform amendment approved by the king.
According to a statement released by the rights group on Tuesday, Fadhel Radhi was transferred to military court after being detained and held in incommunicado since September 2016.
“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,” said Amnesty International’s Beirut regional office Campaigns Director Samah Hadid.
“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,” she added.
Amnesty noted that repeated requests for information about Radhi’s location and condition have been left unanswered since his disappearance last year.
On March 5, Bahrain approved the trial of civilians at military tribunals in a measure blasted by human rights campaigners as being tantamount to imposition of an undeclared martial law countrywide.
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Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the kingdom in mid-February 2011.
They are demanding that the Al Khalifah dynasty relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.
Manama has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent. On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to assist Bahrain in its crackdown. Scores of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or got arrested as a result of the Al Khalifah regime’s crackdown.