UN voices concern over worsening human rights situation in Bahrain

The human rights situation in Bahrain is worsening according to the UN Human Rights Office. Bahrain has been rocked by anti government protests which the authorities have responded to by detaining hundreds of political activist and trying protesters in secrete military courts. Patrick Maigua reports from Geneva.

Protesters in Bahrain

Protesters in Bahrain

The Government of Bahrain has put the number of people in detention at 400, but the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay says her office has received information that the figure may be higher than 1,000.

Those in detention include civilians, teachers, lawyers, journalists and bloggers, medical professionals, artists, activists and members of political bodies.

Ms Pilay says at least four people have died in detention, while 23 doctors and 24 nurses are due to be tried in a military court on charges including participation in unlicensed protests and inciting hatred against the Government.

The High Commissioner has expressed concern over death sentences which were handed down by a military court to four protesters over the alleged killing of police officers.

She says the trial of civilians before military courts is always a cause of concern and the application of the death penalty without due process and after a trial held in secrecy is illegal and unacceptable. 

Ms Pillay is urging the Bahrain government to conduct independent investigations into the deaths and at the same time stop the intimidation and harassment of human rights defenders and political activists.

Patrick Maigua united Nations Geneva.

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