UN expert: Bahrain cancelled visit on torture investigation

By REUTERS
April 25, 2013 12:53
1 minute read.

 
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DUBAI - The UN torture investigator said Bahrain had effectively cancelled a trip he had planned to the Gulf Arab state, where unrest led by majority Shi'ites against the Sunni ruling family has simmered for over two years.

Juan Mendez, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, said in a statement it was the second time a scheduled visit had been postponed at short notice. His trip had been set for May 8-15.

"It is effectively a cancellation as no alternative dates were proposed, nor is there a future road map to discuss," he said on Wednesday. "Let me be clear, this was a unilateral decision by the authorities."

Bahrain's state news agency said on Monday the authorities had asked Mendez to delay his trip, without giving a reason. Mendez then put it off until further notice, the agency said.

Bahrain, which hosts the US Fifth Fleet, crushed Shi'ite-led pro-democracy demonstrations that began in February 2011. At least 35 people were killed. Lower-level unrest continues.

Under criticism from human rights groups, the government invited a commission led by Cherif Bassiouni, a respected UN human rights lawyer to examine its handling of the trouble. Its report in November 2011 said the authorities had used widespread and excessive force, including torture to extract confessions.

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