A letter, signed by sixteen members of the European Parliament (MEPs), was sent to the European Union Minister for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, ahead of his meeting with the Bahraini minister of foreign affairs. MEP Karen Melchior wrote the letter on January 22, 2021, in which the sixteen MEPs expressed their deep concern about the worsening situation of human rights in Bahrain and argued Josep Borrell to hold his Bahraini counterparts accountable for their human rights commitments.
The letter highlighted the cases of the European-Bahraini prisoners of conscience, such as Danish-Bahraini Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja and Swedish-Bahraini Sheikh Mohammed Habib AlMuqdad, besides other high-profile political opposition leaders, activists, and human rights defenders, such as Hassan Mushaima, who have been prosecuted for their participation in the 2011 Uprising and subjected to torture and “systematic denial of medical care.”
The letter also drew attention to the increased use of the death penalty in Bahrain, where six executions have been conducted since 2017. The UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, Agnes Callamard, condemned five of them as extrajudicial killings. The MEPs pointed to 26 death row inmates currently facing imminent execution and to the fact that half of them were convicted based on coerced confessions in relation to the political unrest.
The MEPs stressed the cases of Mohamed Ramadhan and Husain Moosa, who were sentenced to death by Bahrain’s Court of Cassation in July 2020. They pointed to a previous letter written by 56 MEPs to the King of Bahrain “urging for all political prisoners’ death row sentences to be pardoned or commuted.” They reiterated their opposition to the death penalty.
Finally, the MEPs asked Josep Borrell to use his meeting with the Bahraini minister of foreign affairs to argue Bahrain to:
- “Ensure the immediate provision of adequate medical care;
- Secure the immediate release of Hassan Mushaima, dual Swedish citizen Sheikh Mohamed Habib Al-Muqdad and dual Danish citizen Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja; and
- Urge the Bahraini authorities to impose a moratorium on the death penalty.”