NEW YORK, Nov. 23 (UPI) -- Bahrain continues to torture detainees during interrogations, Human Rights Watch said on Monday, despite a pledge by the country's king to end the practice.
The New York-based non-governmental organization said in a report that abuse of detainees, observed by a government commission of inquiry after anti-government protests in 2011, continue even though the Bahraini government has said it is opposed to torture. Three government agencies established by Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa have reportedly investigated the abuse allegations.
HRW's report, "The Blood of People Who Don't Cooperate," says the agencies lack transparency and independence and have failed to stop the torture. Ten detainees interviewed by HRW said they were interrogated by the Bahraini Interior Department's criminal investigations directorate and four others interviewed said they were tortured in prison in 2015. Several said electric shocks, sexual abuse, extreme cold and suspension in painful positions were common. Six said CID interrogators bragged about their reputation for inflicting pain.
The report comes days after the United Kingdom, a close ally of Bahrain, opened a British naval base in the country. Britain has said Bahrain is taking steps to reform its security practices, police force and judicial system, and has increased accountability. The British Foreign Office has said its policy seeks "to support Bahrain in its return to a stable and reformist state with a good human rights record."
"The claims of Bahrain and its allies that authorities have ended torture in detention are simply not credible," said Joe Stork, HRW deputy Middle East director.