Bahrain King vows reform after torture accusations

Bahrain`s king vowed reforms Thursday after a commission of inquiry found that his security forces used "excessive force" and tortured detainees in a March crackdown on Shiite-led protests.

Updated: Nov 24, 2011, 08:55 AM IST

Manama: Bahrain`s king vowed reforms Thursday
after a commission of inquiry found that his security forces used "excessive force" and tortured detainees in a March crackdown on Shiite-led protests.

King Hamad commissioned the report to investigate
allegations of government misconduct and human rights abuses
against protesters, democracy activists, and opposition
figures.

Today he vowed there would be reforms.

"We will introduce and implement reforms that would
please all segments of our society," he said, and also
expressed "dismay" at the mistreatment of Shiite detainees.

"We do not tolerate the mistreatment of detainees and
prisoners. We are dismayed to find that it has occurred, as
your report has found," he said.

Responding earlier to the findings of the Bahrain
Independent Commission of Inquiry, an official spokesman said the government accepts the criticisms.

"We took the initiative in asking for this thorough and
detailed inquiry to seek the truth and we accept it."

The statement said the government regretted the
"mistreatment of detainees, as well as five deaths as a result
of torture."

The report acknowledged that the commission did not find
proof of an Iran link to the unrest, dispelling widespread
allegations by Sunni Gulf leaders that Tehran played a role in
instigating the mainly Shiite protests.

The mass demonstrations which rocked the kingdom earlier
this year were violently crushed as government forces used
live ammunition and heavy-handed tactics to scatter
protesters.

The report said the death toll from the unrest reached
35, including five security personnel and five detainees who
were tortured to death while in custody.

PTI