Around 40 political prisoners, including possible prisoners of conscience, continued serving long prison terms imposed after unfair trials in previous years. Thirty-three political prisoners benefited from amnesties. Sporadic arbitrary arrests took place, principally of members of the majority Shi'a community. Scores of Bahraini nationals were forcibly exiled from the country, although some were allowed to return after years abroad. In January the newly created Consultative Council held its first session. The council has no legislative powers and its 30 members (15 Sunni and 15 Shi'a Muslims) were appointed by the Amir of Bahrain, al-Sheikh 'Isa Bin Salman Al Khalifa. The 1974 State Security Measures, which permit administrative detention without charge or trial for up to three years, as well as provisions governing trial procedures for security cases, remained in force. Such legislation falls far below international human rights standards. No moves were made to introduce basic safeguards for detainees into law and practice. Approximately 40 political prisoners, including possible prisoners of conscience, continued to serve long prison terms imposed after unfair trials in previous years. Most prisoners were held because of their alleged association with banned Islamic groups such as the Islamic Front for the Liberation of Bahrain and Hizbollah, Party of God. Some had been sentenced following an alleged coup attempt in 1981. Long-term prisoners included Mohammad Jamil 'Abd al-'Amir al-Jamri and Salah al-Khawaja (see Amnesty International Report 1993), who were serving 10-year and seven-year prison sentences respectively for offences including membership of an unauthorized organization. Three amnesties for political prisoners and victims of forcible exile were declared by the Amir, in March, May and December: 33 prisoners benefited, including some who had been serving long prison terms. Among them were 'Abd al-Karim Bahar, a student, and 'Abd al-Hussein al-Moussawi, an electrician, both of whom were serving sentences of 15 years' imprisonment in connection with the alleged coup attempt. Reports continued to be received of sporadic arbitrary arrests of members of the Shi'a community. For example, al-Sayyid 'Alawi al-Sayyid Muhsin al-'Alawi was detained twice, apparently following religious commemoration ceremonies. He was held for six weeks following his arrest in August and was rearrested in December. Al-Sayyid Dhiya' al-Sayyid Yahya al-Moussawi was reportedly arrested and detained after delivering a sermon in a Manama mosque in September. Both were believed to be prisoners of conscience. Scores of Bahraini nationals were denied entry when they attempted to return to Bahrain after periods of residence abroad. 'Ahmed Hussein 'Akbar 'Abbas was forcibly exiled from Bahrain in 1982 when he was stripped of his Bahraini papers and expelled to Iran. On his return to Bahrain in September with his Lebanese wife and four children, he was reportedly interrogated and beaten. He was then forcibly expelled to Lebanon, where he was also refused entry and returned to Bahrain. He was again expelled by the Bahrain authorities to Lebanon, where he was given temporary residence. Bahraini nationals who returned to Bahrain with expired passports after an absence of some years abroad were often issued with new one-year Bahraini passports, sometimes valid only for two or three countries, before being forcibly exiled from the country. Dr 'Abd al-'Aziz Rashid al-Rashid, a doctor, attempted to return to Bahrain in November. In the course of one week he was expelled from Bahrain four times, but repeatedly refused entry by other countries. He was finally issued with a new Bahraini passport, valid for one year, before being sent to the United Arab Emirates. However, several Bahrainis who had been forcibly exiled from the country for long periods were allowed to return to Bahrain in 1993, although for some it had taken more than one attempt. Amnesty International expressed concern to the government about arbitrary arrests and cases of forcible exile, and called on the authorities to respect international human rights standards. The organization welcomed the releases as a result of the amnesties. In December Amnesty International issued a report, Banned from Bahrain: Forcible exile of Bahraini nationals, and called on the government to end its policy of forcible exile by issuing a public declaration on Bahrain's national day that all Bahraini nationals were entitled to return there. In response to appeals on behalf of Mohammad Jamil 'Abd al-'Amir al-Jamri, the Minister of the Interior denied that he had been tortured and said he had received a fair trial. Amnesty International's request for information regarding any investigation into Mohammad al-Jamri's alleged torture and a copy of the court's judgment remained without response. The Minister also informed Amnesty International of the release of two detainees whose cases it had raised in 1992 and denied that Hassan Medan had been forcibly exiled in December 1992. The Minister said that he had arrived in Bahrain with no travel documents and had been refused entry in accordance with normal international practice. The response failed to take into account the obligation of all states to readmit their own nationals.

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