Scorecard: Bahrain's progress

The Bahraini government has undoubtedly taken some steps towards implementing the BICI report's recommendations.

    Protests continue as the opposition remains unconvinced that the government has reformed [Reuters]

    The report from the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry contains more than two dozen recommendations for the government. The government claims that 90 per cent of these have been implemented; critics say the figure is closer to 10 per cent.

    The scorecard below gauges the government’s progress on a selection of the BICI recommendations.

    Revoke arrest powers from the National Security Agency    
    A royal decree issued in December stripped these powers from an agency implicated in some of the worst abuses last year.
    Reinstate students dismissed for political reasons    
    Hundreds of students were suspended or expelled from their schools last year, purportedly for security reasons, but in many cases because of their political views. The government says they have all been reinstated, a claim that critics do not refute.
    Record all interrogations    
    The interior ministry has begun installing closed-circuit cameras in interrogation rooms at police stations, and hopes to be finished with the renovations by October.
    Reinstate workers sacked for political reasons    
    The government says that about 90 per cent of workers sacked from their jobs last year for political reasons have been reinstated, or are "in the process of reinstatement." Bahrain's labour unions said last month that the government figure was too optimistic, and that more than 1,600 workers were still a long way from reinstatement. The exact numbers are hotly disputed, but clearly the government has made some progress, while hundreds or thousands of workers remain jobless.
    Review cases of civilians convicted in military courts    
    Hundreds of Bahrainis were convicted in military courts last year. Many of their cases have now been referred to civilian courts or to a "supreme judicial committee" appointed by the king. But dozens of people, including political prisoners like Ibrahim Sharif, have not yet had their cases reviewed
    End warrantless arrests and incommunicado detentions    
    The government claims to have fulfilled this requirement, but local human rights groups disagree. One recent example: Dozens of people arrested in Sitra earlier this month were detained without any warrants, according to witnesses.
    Investigate deaths attributed to security forces    
    Khaled bin Ali Al Khalifa, the justice minister, says the Bahraini government has opened some 50 investigations into abuses by security forces. But only eight of these have resulted in trials so far, and all are of low-level police officers; no high-level officials have been held responsible for abuses last year.
    Bring an end to detainee torture    
    A new code of conduct for the police, and recorded interrogations, have done little to curb torture, according to activists. The practice has simply shifted to other facilities with lax oversight. Human rights groups in Bahrain say that a youth hostel in Sanabis, for example - a neighborhood which has seen many anti-government protests - has been converted into an impromptu detention centre where detainees are tortured.


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