Witnesses: Fugitive former security figure returns to Bahrain

Published November 24th, 2002 - 02:00 GMT

Col. Adel Flaifel, a former security officer who fled Bahrain some five months ago, returned to the kingdom on Saturday, according to witnesses. 


The colonel has been residing in Australia since he escaped in early May, while an investigation committee, commissioned by the Royal Court, was looking into complaints by nine businessmen claiming he had blackmailed them into paying him more than $56 million when he was second-in-command in the now-disbanded State Security Service. 


According to witnesses, he landed in Bahrain Saturday and was interrogated for a "short time" at an airport security office before being allowed to go on his own. 


In addition to the financial claims, initiated against him by the local traders, Flaifel is also being accused of torturing political detainees during Bahrain's years of civil unrest in the 1990s. However, a new law, issued by a Royal decree last month, has granted pardon to all alleged crimes committed before November 1 this year.  


"This is the reason he decided to come back," a source in the Bahrain Center for Human Rights told Gulf News daily. 


However the center, the source added, would challenge the law before the court. The international convention against torture, of which Bahrain is a signatory, has precedence over the local law, the source said. 


Moreover, he said the center is planning to launch "several" cases against Flaifel involving former political prisoners who claim they were tortured "either by him or under his orders." (Albawaba.com)

© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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