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Beheadings, hangings and firing squads: the death penalty is alive and kicking in the Gulf

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Abbas al-Samea, a school teacher, was shot dead in Bahrain last Sunday (15 January 2017), even though he had an alibi from the school where he taught. He was executed by firing squad along with two other men, who all said police interrogators subjected them to torture, including electric shocks, beatings and sexual assaults, in order to obtain false confessions.

Sami Mushaima signed a confession document that he could not read; he was illiterate. The third man, a teenager, Ali al-Singace, was only 18 at the time of the alleged offence. He had been harassed by police since the age of 15. When he refused to work as an informant, they savagely beat him.

When there is so much business to be done, human rights seem to be taking a back seat. The UK provides assistance to the police in Saudi Arabia and death row guards in Bahrain, but this proximity has done little to make their security forces stop torturing suspects into making false confessions or putting protesters on death row.

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