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Bahrain to launch formal police ombudsman work

Ombudsman to help citizens, expats, visitors in abuse cases

Gulf News

Manama: Bahrain is set to start formally on Tuesday the work of its first ombudsman in a breakthrough development for the country.

Setting up the ombudsman was one of the recommendations put forward by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), the international fact-finding panel set up to look into the events that occurred in Bahrain in February and March 2011.

The BICI published a searing report in November 2011 and included a series of recommendations to help ensure that the deplorable incidents would not be repeated.

The government accepted the report and the interior ministry launched a series of reforms to eliminate the culture of impunity and instil instead a more positive culture while changing attitudes and behaviours.

The ombudsman will take up cases filed by Bahrainis, expatriates and visitors to the kingdom against interior ministry personnel, both in uniform or civilians, and will examine complaints related to death or severe physical harm. It will also take up cases proactively and will not have to wait for their filing.

The ombudsman will also make both announced and unannounced inspection visits to prisons and detention centres.