Independent commission to be set up


King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa announced yesterday that an independent commission was to be established to investigate the events of the February and March protests.

“The grave events which took place have created unprecedented distress and tension, prompting many to fear that the policy of democracy and openness we have emphasised since the beginning of our reign might give an opportunity for some extremists to hijack the nation and take it into chaos and extremism,” he said.

He defended the stance taken by the government and security forces which resulted in around 30 deaths, imprisonment and destruction of mosques.

“In the face of what happened, it was not possible to ignore or shirk the responsibility to restore security and stability in the country and to protect the citizens and institutions which we have sworn to maintain,” he said.

And he justified the violence by saying “Despite the enormity of what happened, it was nothing compared to what happened or is happening in other countries”.

The King also stated Bahrain’s commitment to human rights and pointed to the National Dialogue which the government is hoping will involve everyone but which many opposition groups have already rejected.

The commission will be headed by Professor Cherif Bassiouni, known for his work in international criminal justice. Other members of the five strong commission are a British lawyer, Nigel Rodley, a Canadian lawyer, Philippe Kirsch, a UN legal officer Mahnoush Arsanjani, and a Kuwaiti lawyer, Badria al-Awadhi.

The commission has been asked to complete its report by 30th October.

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