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Bahrain rejects UN call to free two men facing death penalty

Bahrain on Sunday rejected a UN report calling for the release of two men facing the death penalty, which cited claims their murder convictions were based on confessions extracted by torture.

In July last year, Bahrain’s top court upheld a death sentence against Mohamed Ramadhan and Hussain Moosa, convicted of killing a police officer in a 2014 bomb attack.

In a report on Thursday, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention cited allegations that the two men had been “tortured during their interrogations and forced to sign confessions.”

“The appropriate remedy would be to release both men immediately and accord them an enforceable right to compensation and other reparations,” it said.

But a Bahraini government spokesperson told AFP in a written statement that Ramadhan and Moosa were convicted of serious criminal offences.

Noting that Bahraini authorities said it was “disappointing … that (the working group) saw fit to publish such a one-sided and misinformed report”.

The men “received fair trials with full access to an appeals process, which they have now exhausted”, the spokesperson added.

Rights group Amnesty International has also said the trial relied on “confession extracted through torture”.

The bomb attack allegedly came amid a wave of attacks against police and other violent incidents that erupted after mass street protests in 2011 demanded an elected prime minister and a constitutional monarchy in Bahrain.

The two accused are members of Sunni Muslim-ruled Bahrain’s Shiite community and were first sentenced in late 2014.

Bahrain has claimed Iran trained and backed the demonstrators in order to topple the Manama government — an accusation Tehran denies.

The kingdom rejects allegations of human rights violations and denies discriminating against its Shiite citizens.