I Was Tortured Into Confessing to a Murder I Didn't Commit. Now I Face Death at the Hands of a U.S. Ally | Opinion

"Wipe the blood from his mouth," the Public Prosecutor told the police officer at my side. I had been taken in handcuffs to the village of Al-Deir, to act out a murder I did not commit, and it would look bad for the authorities if evidence that I had just been beaten was captured on camera. The beatings and torture have been cut from the story the regime has written for me. It terrifies me to think there is only one chapter left.

In 2011, I joined hundreds of thousands of my fellow Bahrainis in calling for democratic reform. Inspired by the Arab Spring protests in Egypt and Tunisia, we were confident the world would support our uprising. But for Bahrain's allies, it was an inconvenient revolution; Bahrain is a key American partner in the Gulf and hosts the US Navy's Fifth Fleet. So when Saudi and Emirati troops were invited to crush the protests, we were thrown under the bus.

Bahrain's government has neither forgotten nor forgiven. Since the uprising, all political opposition and independent media have been banned. Thousands have been locked up in overcrowded prisons. The use of torture by security services has become the norm and courts issue death sentences on the basis of coerced confessions.

The torture I experienced after my arrest in February 2014 was ruthless and professional. My hands were bound behind my back so tightly that they swelled to a grotesque size, leaving marks that took months to heal. I was mercilessly beaten with shoes and poles. While two officers held my thighs apart, a third kicked me repeatedly in the testicles. They threatened to rape me with a wooden baton.

I was then taken to the Office of the Public Prosecutor, who demanded I confess to planting a bomb which killed a police officer. When I denied the charges, I was taken to a bus parked outside, beaten again and sent back inside with instructions to confess. Each time I refused, they inflicted more pain. The third time, I could hold out no longer and agreed to sign the pre-prepared confession.

The officers became concerned about my injuries and took me to a local police medical clinic. I begged the doctor to admit me. After three days of relentless abuse, in which time I had not eaten, I was totally exhausted. Yet after a cursory examination, the doctor declared I was able to walk and talk and ordered me back to the Dry Dock pre-trial detention centre. When I arrived, my fellow inmates didn't recognise me.

In December 2014, on the basis of my forced confession, without a shred of physical evidence, I was sentenced to death, along with my co-defendant, Mohammed Ramadhan. Bahrain's corrupt courts have since confirmed this sentence three times. In the coming weeks, I will have one last chance to plead my case before Bahrain's highest court, the Court of Cassation. If this appeal fails, my execution can be ordered at the whim of Bahrain's monarch.

I have not given up hope. My sentence has already been overturned once, after dogged investigations by UK-based rights groups compelled Bahrain's courts to review fresh evidence that I had been tortured. Authorities then tried to re-sentence me to death on Christmas Day, but reneged after this cynical bid to avoid international scrutiny backfired. In the end, they sentenced me to death on a quiet day in January, after yet another unfair trial.

Bahrain's rulers have become increasingly brazen in their violent campaign against dissent, emboldened by a US administration that shows little concern for the abuses of their Gulf allies. Indeed, Trump has spoken warmly about America's "friends" in Bahrain, who buy billions of dollars of American weapons every year.

Yet while it is all powerful within Bahrain, the regime remains highly sensitive to international criticism. The repression in my country is entirely dependent on political, economic and military support from its closest allies, Saudi Arabia, the UK and the US. If my story has touched you, I urge you to spread the word about mine and Mohammed's plight. Calling or writing to your elected officials, speaking out on social media or simply sharing this article with friends and family may cause Bahrain to think twice about confirming our death sentences.

It could be enough to save our lives.

Husain Moosa has been on Bahrain's death row since 2014.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own.

I Was Tortured Into Confessing to a Murder I Didn't Commit. Now I Face Death at the Hands of a U.S. Ally | Opinion | Opinion