Bahrain: abusive convictions of four women on terrorism charges

Beirut, February 2, 2017: On January 31, Muna Habib, Hamida Alkhor, Amira AlQashaami and Faten Hussein were convicted and sentenced to 5 years imprisonment for allegedly covering up for male family members. 
In Bahrain, women appear to be disproportionately targeted only for their relationships to male family members whom the government is investigating cases of alleged terrorism. Many of them are detained because of alleged terrorist activities by family members: “Targeting women as a way to attain male suspects punishes them for crimes they have not committed, and is violating their right to due process of law” said BCHR today. Suspects arrested under Bahrain’s counterterrorism law routinely face serious human rights violations that compromise their right to a fair trial, many have been subjected to coercive interrogations and torture.
On Wednesday (January 31, 2018), the fourth high criminal court, sentenced to death two defendants, 19 others to life in prison, 17 defendants to 15 years, 9 to 10 years and 11 to 5 years, while acquitting two others of the charges raised against them.
Most of the charges hold against the defendants fall within the scope of the new anti-terrorism law used as legal ground by Bahraini authorities to curtail any form of dissidence. In total, 58 persons were convicted and sentenced on charges including membership to a terrorist cell, plotting to carry out a lethal attack, attempting to murder policemen and possessing unlicensed firearms and explosives. Among the group of convicted, four women have suffered particularly unfair sentences from the court on the charges of covering a wanted person.
 They have all endured a litany of abuses from the Bahraini authorities. They have been denied access to lawyers and relatives, as well as the opportunity to challenge the basis of their detention before a judge.