FEBRUARY 28 2012 16:29h

Bahrain trials lack due process

Bahrain trials lack due process

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MANAMA, Bahrain, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- A report released by Human Rights Watch Tuesday said Bahrain's high-profile trials of activists show a disregard for due process.

The report said defendants were routinely denied the right to counsel and the right to defense. The Bahraini government also failed to investigate credible allegations of torture and wrongful treatment during interrogation.

Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, has called on the Bahraini government to drop charges against activists to compensate for unfair convictions.

"Grossly unfair military and civilian trials have been a core element in Bahrain's crackdown on pro-democracy protests," he said. "The government should remedy the hundreds of unfair convictions of the past year by dropping the cases against everyone convicted on politically motivated charges and by adopting effective measures to end torture in detention."

Since April 4, hundreds have been tried and convicted in last year's uprising in trials conducted by military officials on grounds of "national safety." The trials and appeals of individuals charged in the uprising were moved to civilian courts Oct. 7.