Amnesty International considered the Bahraini verdict that revoked the citizenship of 115 people and the life sentences issued against 53 of them on terrorism-related charge ludicrous.
“The sheer scale of this mass trial is ludicrous; it is hard to believe that justice can have been delivered through a fair trial process when this number of people are simultaneously sentenced,” Lynn Maalouf, Middle East Research Director at Amnesty International, said.
She added: “This is one of the most severe rulings yet, and is further proof that the Bahrain authorities have no regard whatsoever for international fair trial standards.
“The Bahraini government is using revocation of nationality – rendering many of its citizens stateless in the process – and expulsion, as tools to crush all forms of opposition, dissent and activism.
“Arbitrarily depriving citizens of their nationality, turning them into stateless people and banishing them by forcing them to leave the country is a violation of international law.
“Bahrain’s authorities must immediately halt all planned expulsions and allow those it has already expelled to return to the country and reinstate their nationality,” she concluded saying.
The trial of 138 people, including 52 in their absence, began on 23 August 2016, and relied at least in part on “confessions” extracted under torture. The fourth High Criminal Court in Manama sentenced 53 defendants to life imprisonment, three to 15 years in prison, one to 10 years, 15 to seven years, 37 to five years, six to three years and acquitted 23 others. Amnesty International has documented one case of torture and ill-treatment that resulted in “confessions”.