[JURIST] A Bahrain court on Monday overturned the death sentences for two protesters convicted of killing two police officers during the demonstrations that took place in the country last year. Bahrain was guided by recommendations from a panel of international investigators in its decision to transfer the protesters’ case to civilian court [AP report]. This case was transferred to civilian court along with several other cases including two high-profile cases of doctors and medical professionals who treated injured protesters.The original conviction [JURIST report] was rendered by a special security court set up as part of the emergency law in place while the country’s Sunni rulers attempted to silence a Shiite-led effort bolster civil and political rights in the country. The demonstrations in Bahrain began last February, during the protests that took place across that Arab world. Since then, over 40 protesters have died.
In December UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said that the Bahrain government should release prisoners detained during peaceful protests [JURIST report] and focus on rebuilding national trust in the government. Pillay’s statement followed a visit by a team of human rights officials to Bahrain at the invitation of the Bahrain government. In November Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa [official website] ordered a special commission [JURIST report] to look into government recommendations made in a report by an independent Bahraini government commission. The report stated that Bahrain authorities used excessive force [JURIST report] and tortured detainees involved in the pro-democracy demonstrations earlier this year. Also in November, the Bahrain government admitted the use of excessive force [JURIST report] in anticipation of the independent report.