- King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa; Source: Bahrain Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The head of the inquiry, M. Cherif Bassiouni presented the findings at a conference in Manama, the capital. King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa attended the presentation in which Bassiouni emphasised that the dimensions of the torture “proved there was a deliberate practice by some.”
The political structure of the country – led by a Sunni monarchy despite a Shiite Muslim majority – and the revolutions of the Arab Spring led to mass protests in February and March calling for political change. Security forces used disproportionate and indiscriminate force to repress demonstrations, according to the report. It also established that the security services and the Interior Ministry “followed a systematic practice of physical and psychological mistreatment, which amounted in many cases to torture, with respect to a large number of detainees.”
The report is based on over 5,000 interviews with protesters, Bahrain residents and foreigners. On 489 pages it describes the uprising and its consequences, in particular the resolute action taken by the security forces. The report was handed to a board of international experts by King Hamad who, after the release, said that those responsible for abuses would be held accountable and be replaced.