24 Nov 2011

Excessive force used in Bahrain crackdown - inquiry

5:00 pm on 24 November 2011

An independent commission in Bahrain has found authorities used excessive force during a crackdown on protests earlier this year.

The report says detainees were tortured and had their basic human rights violated.

More than 40 people were killed during anti-government unrest.

The commission's head, Professor Cherif Bassiouni, described in detail the torture and abuse suffered by detainees.

"To blindfold them, to force them to stand for long periods of time, to whip them, to kick them, to hit them with hoses electrifying them and with metal and wooden rods," he says.

Professor Bassiouni says he found no evidence of Iranian involvement in demonstrations, despite claims made by state media at the time.

He has recommended a review of all sentences handed out to protestors, as well as compensation to the families of those who were killed or tortured, the BBC reports.

Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa says the report offers an historic opportunity for change and he wants laws to be reformed so they meet international standards.

He says saying those involved in abuses will be held accountable and replaced.