Country Reports on Terrorism 2010 - Bahrain
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Publication Date||18 August 2011|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2010 - Bahrain, 18 August 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4e524837c.html [accessed 20 October 2014]|
Overview: The Bahraini government worked to actively counter terrorist finance, enhanced border control capability, contributed manpower to international counterterrorism operations, realign internal responsibilities, and successfully prosecuted a number of cases under its 2006 counterterrorism law.
Legislation and Law Enforcement: Key to several Bahraini counterterrorism successes this year was a decision by the King to realign internal intelligence, analytical, and counterterrorism responsibilities in various government ministries under the Bahrain National Security Agency, which has resulted in a clearer delineation of roles and responsibilities allowed for greater capacity building and increased interagency cooperation.
Bahraini law enforcement actions included:
On January 26, the High Criminal Court convicted and sentenced to five-year prison terms two Bahraini citizens affiliated with al-Qa'ida of plotting a terrorist attack against U.S. diplomatic and naval interests. On May 30, the court's decision was upheld by the Supreme Criminal Appeals Court. Key to the successful prosecution was the digital forensic evidence seized by Bahraini law enforcement.
On July 5, seven Bahraini citizens were convicted under the 2006 counterterrorism law and sentenced to life imprisonment for their involvement in the March 2009 death of a Pakistani national who was presumed to be a plain clothed police officer at the time of the attack.
On July 6, two Bahraini citizens were convicted by the High Criminal Court of plotting an April 2009 terrorist attack with a homemade bomb and were each sentenced to a 10-year prison term.
During August to November, Bahraini law enforcement arrested at least 200 men, including minors, and held many of them under the counterterrorism law for various offenses. Twenty-five Bahraini citizens (including two in absentia) have been charged and the trial was ongoing at year's end. The arrests and subsequent prosecutions have been criticized by local and international human rights organizations as being political in nature, and there have been claims of mistreatment and coerced confessions by some of the detainees' defense counsels.
Countering Terrorist Finance: Bahrain worked actively to counter terrorist finance and hosted the Secretariat for the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF), a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body. Bahrain worked cooperatively with its banks on anti-money laundering and counterterrorist finance (AML/CTF) issues. Bahraini law enforcement and customs officials also continued to build AML/CTF capacity through extensive training. In October, Bahrain imprisoned a Syrian national who had been convicted in absentia of terrorist financing by Bahraini courts and sentenced to a five-year prison term in February 2009. Despite progress, Bahrain has yet to adequately amend the law banning money laundering and combating terrorism finance. In addition, Bahrain's designated non-financial businesses and professions remained vulnerable to terrorist financing, due primarily to the non-issuance of legislation for regulating and monitoring the sector. Bahrain was asked to provide MENAFATF a follow up report in 2011 outlining progress.
Regional and International Cooperation: Since formally endorsing the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism in March 2008, Bahrain has worked to expand air, sea, and causeway border control points through increased training, internal cooperation, and staffing the border with officers capable of recognizing and interdicting nuclear proliferation materials such as centrifuges and commercially banned items. Bahrain acceded to the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism as well as the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and its 2005 Amendment.
Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: Bahrain's efforts to counter radicalization and violent extremism have been spearheaded by the Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs (MJIA). The MJIA organized regular workshops and seminars for imams from both the Sunni and Shia sects, and expanded its international scholarship program to include religious schools in Egypt, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates. It also completed an annual review of schools' Islamic Studies curriculum to evaluate interpretations of religious texts.