Scores of political arrests took place and approximately 12 people remained in detention without charge or trial at the end of the year. There were reports that some detainees were tortured or ill-treated. Scores of people were arrested in February following a reported attempt to overthrow the government headed by the Amir, al-Shaikh Hamad Ibn Khalifa Al Thani, who had deposed his father in a bloodless coup in June 1995. All those arrested were held incommunicado. However, most were released after a short period in detention. The government acknowledged the continued detention of a group of people but did not make public their names or personal details. Most were believed to be army officers loyal to the deposed Amir. According to reports, the detainees included Brigadier Bakhit Marzug, Lieutenant-Colonel ‘Abd al-Hadi Rashid al-Sihabi and Lieutenant-Colonel Rashid ‘Ali. They and other detainees were allegedly tortured or ill-treated in custody. Amnesty International sought assurances from the government that the detainees' right to prompt and fair trials and the right to be treated humanely were being respected, and called for the immediate and unconditional release of anyone held solely for the non-violent expression of their beliefs. In response, the government said that they would be given a fair trial in accordance with international standards and denied all allegations of torture or ill-treatment of any detainees. Amnesty International asked for further information about the detainees, including the details of any charges brought against them.

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