The Irish Times this week ran an opinion piece defending the Northern Ireland Policing Board's training and financial support for Bahraini security forces. When rights group Reprieve uncovered that a state-owned Belfast business trained forces in Bahrain that use torture, staff in Northern Ireland who worked on projects aimed at "reforming" Bahrain's criminal justice system went on the defensive. Pauline McCabe argued that “the sharing of experience, best practice and skills” is critical for progress. But organisations and experts in Northern Ireland who want to see reform in Bahrain cannot disregard local rights experts in the process. Instead of defending the surface level reforms of Bahrain's criminal justice institutions, the Northern Ireland Policing Board ought to be consulting with Bahraini human rights defenders. The sheer number of them who have been imprisoned and tortured for their peacefully advocacy makes them experts on the need for criminal justice reform in Bahrain.
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