Bahrain's police officers regularly abuse minor detainees before transporting them to police stations, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] reported [text] Sunday after a five-day visit to the country. During the visit to Bahrain, HRW conducted interviews with young males who alleged that police officers had beat them while they were being arrested for participating in protests. Bahrain officials previously promised in November to end police brutality after similar allegations were addressed in a report [text] issued by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) [official website]. HRW concedes in its report that treatment at police detention facilities has improved, but claims that brutality during arrests continues. Bahrain has stated that it remains committed to implementing procedures [BBC report] in order to prevent police beatings and protect detainees both during arrest and time of detainment.
Other rights groups have made similar allegations concerning police brutality in Bahrain. Earlier this month, Amnesty International (AI) issued its own report [JURIST report] alleging human rights violations continue in Bahrain despite reforms. Also in April, four independent UN human rights experts called for the immediate release of Bahraini human rights defender [JURIST report] Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, who is serving a life sentence for terrorism-related charges after being tried before the Bahrain military National Safety Court in June 2011. Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders Margaret Sekaggya [official profile] expressed concern that Al-Khawaja's trial and sentence are linked to his legitimate work to promote human rights. Last year, a Bahrain court sentenced four protesters to death [JURIST report] for their roles in the killing of two police officers committed during mass anti-government protests. Three others were sentenced to life in prison.