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Abuse claim by witness

A WITNESS heard a policeman, accused of causing the death of two inmates, mistreating one of them in custody.

Three prosecution witnesses yesterday testified at the High Criminal Court in the case of five officers standing trial for their roles in the deaths of Ali Ebrahim Saqer and Zakariya Rashid Al Asheri.

Two of the suspects, aged 43 and 31, have been accused of beating the Bahrainis to death with a pipe on April 8, while three others have been charged with failing to report the alleged crime.

The Bahraini witness, in his 30s, told judges he was in police custody and heard one of the defendants' voice as he allegedly mistreated Mr Saqer.

"This man (defendant) was hitting Mr Saqer in the Dry Dock Detention Centre in August," he said as he pointed at one of the suspects.

"I know his voice, he was the only policeman who called the inmates donkeys."

The witness then pointed at another suspect and claimed he was present when Mr Saqer was being mistreated.

However, he then told the judges that a third policeman treated them well.

"He is very good, he always treated the inmates nicely," he said as he pointed at the third policeman.

The defendants have denied causing the death of the men, who had been arrested for taking part in anti-government protests.

They had earlier been acquitted following a trial at a military court, but the case was transferred to the civilian courts as part of government efforts to implement the recommendations included in the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry report.

A policeman had earlier told the National Safety Court that the two Bahraini inmates got into an argument with several policemen and went on a rampage before their death.

A police witness who earlier testified told the judges that he heard an argument take place between the officers and inmates.

However, five police witnesses earlier confirmed the victims had bruises on their bodies before entering the Dry Dock Detention Centre.

Prosecutors claim police attacked Mr Saqer when he went on a rampage in custody.

Also, it was initially thought Mr Al Asheri died of sickle cell disease, but evidence from medical examiners showed he had injuries similar to Mr Saqer.

The case was adjourned until December 19 for the submission of defence papers.

noorz@gdn.com.bh



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