government: Costitutional monarchy
state of civil and political rights: Not free
constitution: 14 February 2002
legal system: based on Islamic law and English common law
legislative system: bicameral legislature consists of the Consultative Council and the Council of Representatives or Chamber of Deputies
judicial system: High Civil Appeals Court
religion: 82% Muslim; 9% Christian; 9% other minorities
death row: 14 (as of April 28, 2017, according Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain)
year of last executions: 0-7-2010
death sentences: 5
international treaties on human rights and the death penalty:
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
Convention on the Rights of the Child
Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
Statute of the International Criminal Court (which excludes the death penalty) (only signed)
The offences for which capital punishment either can or must be applied are: aggravated murder,
murder, other offenses resulting in death, terrorism, rape of child, arson of a
public or Government building, even if it does not result in death; drug trafficking;
treason, espionage, other military offenses.
In March 1999 Sheikh Hamad Bin `Issa Al Khalifa succeeded his late father
Sheikh Salman bin ‘Issa al-Khalifa as emir. The change of government brought
about some democratic reforms. Bahrain became a constitutional monarchy in 2002
and Sheik Hamad’s title was changed to king.
On October 31, 2002, Bahrain held parliamentary elections for the first time in
nearly 30 years, to elect the 40-member Council of Deputies. Women participated
for the first time, voting and standing as candidates, though failing to win a
On August 1, 2013, Bahrain’s King Hamad decreed stiffer penalties for
“terror acts” in the country rocked by a Shiite-led uprising since 2011. Under
a new law, suspects convicted for bomb attacks will be sentenced to life
imprisonment or to death in cases of casualties.
The first execution in 20 years took place on March 29, 1996. The last
execution was in July 2010, when a Bangladeshi national, Jassim Abdulmanan, was
executed for murdering another Bangladeshi man.
Execution is carried out by firing squad. The inmate is strapped to a chair
with their eyes covered and a sponge placed on their chest so stop the blood
In 2015, for the fifth year running, no executions were carried out.
However, the courts passed eight death sentences, five of which for "terrorism".
On 21 May 2012, Bahrain was reviewed under the Universal Periodic Review of the
UN Human Rights Council. The Government rejected recommendations to establish
an official moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty,
stating that such measures would be inconsistent with Bahrain’s Constitution.
On 19 December 2016, Bahrain abstained on the Resolution on a Moratorium on the
Use of the Death Penalty at the UN General Assembly, as in 2014, 2010 and 2008. Bahrain,
in 2012 and 2007, voted against.