Thursday, May 12, 2011

Bahrain: Bahraini MP complains "...unfair that the media is saying that due process is not occurring in Bahrain"

SOURCE Kingdom of Bahrain

The court system in Bahrain is working and justice is being served, said a Bahraini Member of Parliament visiting Washington this past week.

"We have a high level of justice in Bahrain, as demonstrated by the most recent trial of protesters," said Isa AbdulJabbar AlKooheji, Member of Parliament. "The court system is transparent and weighs the evidence carefully."

AlKooheji referred to the court outcome last Friday when a Bahraini national safety court sentenced one man to at least five years in jail and acquitted a second over an alleged attempt to kill policemen during the country's recent political unrest.

"It is unfair that the media is saying that due process is not occurring in Bahrain," he added. "It is a wild misstatement to say that everyone tried is being convicted, as some have written. Actually over 300 people have been ... arrested, interrogated, and they didn't find anything and they let them go."

AlKooheji dispelled the myth that those recently arrested in Bahrain are being tried by military tribunals.

"That's absolutely false," AlKooheji said. "There is one military judge, two civilian judges, sitting on the panel, and every man who's being accused has the right to a lawyer. The lawyer is present and family members are present in the court. I don't know why people are saying that it's a military court because that's not true at all."

The Parliamentarian said that Bahrain is on the mend and the nation is a work in progress.

"It takes awhile for any democratic country, and especially Bahrain being such a young democratic country," AlKooheji said. "It takes awhile for people to understand the true meaning of democracy. If you ask a group of people in one room what is the definition of democracy, they might give you the definition, but the understanding of it could differ from a person to another."

AlKooheji said that in the months to come he expects greater consensus to emerge among all Bahrainis.