On 26 October 2020, Irish Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Chris MacManus of The Left group in the European Parliament – GUE/NGL posed a written parliamentary question to the Vice-President of the Commission and High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell:
“1. In the EU’s discussions with the Bahraini Government, will the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy ask Bahrain whether it will agree to a joint EU-Bahraini initiative to review cases of political prisoners sentenced in unfair mass trials, investigate allegations of torture and ill-treatment, and repeal recent decrees punishing those who criticise government policies or call for democratic transformation?
2. Will he also urge the Bahraini Government to give political prisoners with severe health problems, such as Hassan Mushaima and Abduljalil al-Singace, access to medical treatment?”
On 1 February 2021, High Representative and Vice-President Borrell responded on behalf of the European Commission stating: “The EU has systematically raised its concerns related to the right to fair trial, prohibition of torture and ill-treatment, arbitrary detentions and mass trials with Bahraini authorities through regular political contacts, both from Headquarters as well as via the EU Delegation in Riyadh (accredited to Manama). The most recent informal EU-Bahraini Human Rights dialogue held on 7 November 2019 in Brussels offered another opportunity to discuss these topics as well as prison conditions and the access to adequate healthcare by prisoners in Bahrain.
The EU regularly raises individual cases. In the context of the global Covid-19 outbreak, the EU Special Representative for Human Rights raised the cases of Hassan Mushaima and Abduljalil al-Singace with high-level Bahraini interlocutors on 1 April 2020 and again on 29 June 2020 respectively. The EU intends to revert to these issues during the next human rights dialogue, scheduled for January 2021.
The EU has also issued public statements on individual human rights cases in Bahrain calling for upholding freedom of expression and expressing concern over shrinking political space, including for non-violent opposition. Most recently, on 10 June 2020, the EU publicly welcomed the release of prominent human rights defender Nabeel Rajab, while calling on the Bahraini authorities to release all other persons detained for expressing their opinion and exercising their human rights or defending the rights of others.
The EU is committed to promoting efficient, independent and accountable justice systems that are compliant with human rights standards and respect due process.”
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