executions in the world:

In 2020


2000 to present



  • Abolitionist
  • retentionist
  • De facto abolitionist
  • Moratorium on executions
  • Abolitionist for ordinary crimes
  • Committed to abolishing the death penalty


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: 23 (July, 27 2019, according to Reprieve)
year of last executions: 0-7-2010
death sentences: 15
executions: 0
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 seat.

The first execution in 20 years took place on March 29, 1996. Bahrein resumed execution in 2017, for terrorism (3). The previous 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 from spreading.
On 15 January 2017, 3 men were executed in the first executions in Bahrain since 2010. They were sentenced for murder of a police officer from the Emirates and two from Bahrein in a bomb attack in 2014. In 2017, 15 people, almost all on terrorism charges, were sentenced to death, bringing to 18 the overall number of dissidents on death row. The country reached the record number of 18 on death row at the end of the year

The war of terror
In August 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 minimum penalty for an attempted bombing is 10 years behind bars. The crimes previously carried unspecified jail terms. Suspects found guilty of “raising money for a terrorist organisation” will be handed jail terms ranging 10 years to life.
In 2015, 5 death sentences were issued for terrorism.
On 15 January 2017, Bahraini authorities executed 3 Shi'ite Muslim men convicted of killing an Emirati police officer and two Bahraini policemen in a 2014 bomb attack. The executions came less than a week after the country's highest court confirmed the punishment against Abbas al-Samea, Sami Mushaima and Ali al-Singace, the first death sentences to be carried out since 2010. Activists condemned the executions and warned the move would undermine security. "This is a black day in Bahrain’s history. It is the most heinous crime committed by the government of Bahrain and a shame upon its rulers ... This act is a security threat to Bahrain and the entire region," said Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei of the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy.
On 3 April 2017, the King of Bahrain approved the amendment to Article 105 (b) of the Constitution to extend the jurisdiction of military courts to civilians. Military jurisdiction over civilians had been criticized by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) in 2011 and the authorities had taken this into account. However, with the new constitutional amendment, the courts have the power to prosecute any civil accused of threatening the security of the state, whereas before civilians could only be judged by military tribunals in the event of a state of emergency. The reform was motivated as a contrast to the action of Shiite groups supported by Iran and criticized by human rights organisations.
Bahrain has witnessed a dramatic increase in the use of capital punishment since 2017. As of 1 Febraury 2018, 22 Bahrainis remain on death row, which marks a record in the history of Bahrain , according to Maytham Al Salman, Special Advisor at the Bahrain Center for Human Rights.

The death penalty on women
If a pregnant woman is sentenced to death, the execution will be suspended until three months after she delivers, according to Article 334 of the Criminal Procedure Code. Yeshiwork Zewdu, a maid and migrant worker from Ethiopia, is currently sentenced to death.

United Nations
In May 2017, 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 but accepted those of restricting the use of the death penalty to crimes that meet the threshold of “most serious crimes” under international law and ratify, among others, the Second Optional Protocol to Covenant of Civil and Political Rights. The head of the delegation of Bahrain stated that the death penalty was applied only to a limited number of serious cases. There were adequate safeguards in Bahraini law for the imposition and application of the death penalty. The penal code provided for the possibility of commuting a death sentence to a life sentence or imprisonment for a lesser period if the crime was committed under circumstances that justified commuting the death penalty.
On 17 December 2018, Bahrain voted against the Resolution on a Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty at the UN General Assembly, as in 2012 and 2007. It abstained in 2016, 2014, 2010 and 2008. 




The death penalty for political opponents


Death penalty for dissidents


Death penalty for terrorism


Death penalty for violent crimes





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