Manama – King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain ratified a constitutional amendment Monday that would allow direct military trials of civilians suspected of terrorism in the country.
Security investigations revealed that a number of terrorists who committed their crimes inside Bahrain were trained outside the country and in Iraqi Hezbollah camps or were supported by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.
The amendment modifies the text of Article 105(b) of the Kingdom of Bahrain’s Constitution to read: “Law governs the military judiciary and defines its jurisdictions for Bahrain Defense Force, the National Guard and the Public Security Forces.”
The amendment will become effective from the date of its publication in the Official Gazette.
The Bahraini government said the amendment is necessary in light of the spread of terrorism in the region. It argued that the amendment will secure the nation’s “independence, sovereignty and security” by expediting legal investigations and convictions.
According to Bahrain’s official BNA news agency, the King had “ratified and issued the constitutional amendment for the year 2017 after it was endorsed by the Shura Council and the Council of Representatives”.
Justice Minister Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa told parliament earlier that the amendment was “essential”, as military judges were “best placed” to oversee trials pertaining to “irregular warfare”.
In 2011, King Hamad declared a three-month state of emergency during which special military courts were temporarily established to try civilians.
The new amendment grants the military judiciary the authority to put on trial terrorist groups that belong to militias or that receive support and training from foreign organizations or terrorism-sponsoring states.
Bahraini officials said that because of the new amendment, military courts can begin with trials against terrorists.