Bahrain’s Council of Representatives on February 21, 2017, approved an amendment to Bahrain’s Constitution that would enable military courts to try civilians, in violation of international fair trial standards, Human Rights Watch said today.
The amendment goes next to the upper house of parliament then to King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa for his final approval.
Bahrain’s Constitution currently limits the jurisdiction of military courts to offenses by security forces.
An explanatory note on the proposed amendment cites the “spread of terrorism in the region” and military courts’ “flexibility” and “speed” in investigating and sentencing to justify removing this restriction.
Human Rights Watch has documented persistent and systematic fair trial violations in trials of political dissidents in Bahrain before both civilian and military courts.