State Security Law of 1974

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State Security Law of 1974  (1974) 
The State Security Law of 1974 was a law in force in Bahrain from 1974 until 2001, which was used by the government to crush the political unrest in the country during that period. The State Security Act contained measures permitting the government to arrest and imprison individuals without trial for a period of up to three years for crimes relating to state security. Other measures relating to the 1974 Act were introduced, (namely the establishment of State Security Courts) which added to the conditions conducive to the practice of arbitrary arrest and torture.

We Issa bin Salman Al Khalifa, Emir of the State of Bahrain, cognizant of article 38 of the constitution, in accordance with the proposal of the Minister of Interior, and with the agreement of the Cabinet, decree the following:

Decree Law State Security Measures[edit]

Article 1[edit]

If there is serious evidence that a person has perpetrated acts, delivered statements, exercised activities, or has been involved in contacts inside or outside the country, which are of a nature considered to be in violation of the internal or external security of the country, the religious and national interests of the State, its social or economic system; or considered to be an act of sedition that affects or can possibly affect the existing relations between the people and Government, between the various institutions of the State, between the classes of the people, or between those who work in corporations propagating subversive propaganda or disseminating atheistic principles; the Minister of Interior may order the arrest of that person, committing him to one of Bahrain's prisons, searching him, his residence and the place of his work, and may take any measure which he deems necessary for gathering evidence and completing investigations.

The period of detention may not exceed three years. Searches may only be made and the measures provided for in the first paragraph may only be taken upon judicial writ.

Anyone arrested under the provisions of the first paragraph may submit a complaint against the arrest order, after the expiry of three months from the date of its execution, to the Supreme Court of Appeal. The complaint is renewable at the end of every six months from the date of the decree rejecting the complaint.

Article 2[edit]

The proceedings of the Court shall always be held in camera and shall only be attended by the prosecution, the complainant and his representative. The proceedings shall be held at the headquarters of the Supreme Court of Appeal. They may be held elsewhere within or outside Manama, if the Court deems it necessary for the maintenance of the security of the country or for considerations of public policy.

Article 3[edit]

The court, without observing the procedures stipulated in the Law of Criminal Procedures, may lay down the procedures to be followed by it when it considers the complaints, taking the following into account:

  1. It shall issue its judgment on the basis of the documents submitted by the prosecution and the complainant.
  2. The arguments submitted to the Court, whether by the prosecution or by the defence, shall be in writing.
  3. For the sake of evaluating the evidence and forming its opinion, the Court may require the prosecution to furnish additional reports from those who took part in gathering the evidence provided that this shall be limited to persons other than those whose names, residences and places of work are considered to be secret and are not permitted to be disclosed in the interests of the State.
  4. It will be sufficient for the defence witnesses of the complainant to present depositions including information concerning the points which the complainant wishes the witnesses to clarify. The Court may refuse to request depositions from the defence witnesses of the complainant if it is of the opinion that the depositions required from them are irrelevant to the event in question. A decision on the complaint may not be postponed because of any delay by these witnesses in presenting their depositions.
  5. The documents and reports furnished by the prosecution shall be delivered to it in a sealed envelope following the issuance of the Court's judgment. These may not be requested with regard to a new complaint unless there is something new that necessitates viewing them and this shall be permitted by an order of the Court.
  6. Minutes of the proceedings shall be written in one copy. They may not be reproduced or photocopied and, together with the documents of the defence and prosecution as well as the depositions of witnesses, shall be confidential. Following the issuance of the judgment regarding the complaint, they shall be deposited in the cabinet of the Court after they are placed inside a sealed envelope stamped with the seal of the President of the Court which has considered the complaint. It shall be prohibited to open that envelope or to withdraw it from the cabinet except upon a decree by the Court when it is necessary to view it in connection with another complaint. In such a case, a verbatim record of the procedures followed shall be drawn up, in which the condition of the envelope shall be indicated. Then it shall be resealed according to the above-mentioned procedures and deposited in the cabinet after the complaint has been considered. The same procedures shall be followed with regard to every complaint.
  7. The Minister of Interior shall be informed of the judgment of the Court as soon as it is pronounced, through a copy of the document containing the judgment.

Article 4[edit]

If the arrested person does not submit a complaint according to the procedure laid down in Article one, the prosecution shall submit the documents to the competent court during the period fixed for submission of the complaint, requesting that the implementation of the detention order should continued.

Article 5[edit]

The Minister of Interior may, at any time, order the release of a person in respect of whom an arrest order was previously issued in application of the provisions of this law. The detained person shall be released in any case on the last day of the three years referred to in Article one.

Article 6[edit]

All persons who are committed to specified prisons in implementation of detention order issued pursuant to Public Security Order No.1 are considered to be detained under this law and the dates for the submission of complaints are applicable to them; they are entitled to submit such complaints from the date on which this law comes into affect.

Article 7[edit]

The Public Security Law of 1965, the Declaration issued on the 22nd of April 1965 and Public Security Order No.1 are hereby repealed.

Article 8[edit]

A new paragraph (3) shall be added to Article 79 of the Law of Criminal Procedures, the text of which is as follows:

For crimes detrimental to the security of the State, whether they originate inside the State or outside it, which are stipulated in the Penal Code, the detention order shall be for an unspecified period. The person whose detention has been ordered may submit a complaint against the detention to the authority issuing the warrant if one month has elapsed after the issuance of the warrant. The complaint is renewable one month after the decree rejecting the complaint has been issued.

Article 9[edit]

The Minister of Interior shall implement this Law, which shall take affect from the date of its publication in the Official Gazette.

Signed by

Emir of The State of Bahrain (Issa bin Salman Al Khalifa);
Prime Minister (Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa);
Minister of Interior (Muhammed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa).

Issued at Rifaa' Palace on 7 Shawwal 1394 (22 October 1974).