News ID: 8868
Publish Date: 26 July 2012 - 14:13
Bahrain has begun an investigation into allegations that police are using “black sites” to beat and torture anti-government protesters, dodging efforts to clean up security forces in the Persian Gulf state.

The accusations cast more doubt on government claims to have overhauled police practices since an independent inquiry found systematic human rights abuses during a crackdown on anti-government protests last year. More than 80 people have been killed in the 17-month uprising.

The Bahraini regime had previously denied that the black sites existed, despite persistent allegations that beatings and torture had continued unabated since the report was published in November. But officials now admit privately that some police officers have continued to operate outside the law.

Opposition groups claim that a youth centre just outside the capital, Manama, and a police equestrian centre in the western district of Budaiya, have been used to beat and interrogate detainees before they are transferred to police stations, where stricter procedures are now in place. Cameras have now been installed outside the two sites, identified in testimony to human rights groups, to monitor those going in and out.

Both complexes lie opposite police stations and among villages that have been at the centre of the Shia-led uprising that broke out across Bahrain last year demanding democratic reform from the country’s Sunni elite.
The Times spoke to one young man, who did not want not be identified, who said he has been tortured at the youth centre in June. "They beat me with a stick and a belt, and kicked me,” he said.

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