URGENT APPEAL After Family visitations and the Release of a number of Activists: Claims of Torture, Assault, Sexual and Physical Abuse

Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, January 17 2007

• Human Rights Activists Subjected to Atrocious Treatment to Extract Confessions • After 2 Weeks of Interrogations and Psychological Torture: Continued Claims of Human Rights Violations in Bahrain • Families Allege the Hearing of Screams Upon Visit to Interrogations Centre

(Names of sources are confidential for safety purposes! contact BCHR Vice-President Nabeel Rajab for further details)

The BCHR has received disturbing news from the families of the detained activists, as well as a number of activists who have been released, on torture and physical assaults being used as a means to extract confession from those detained.

Released activists have informed the BCHR that they were subjected to beatings, verbal abuse, sleep and food deprivation as well as solitary confinement and continued use of handcuffs and eye blindfolds.

Some of the detainees claim that they were handcuffed for one to two weeks and had to even sleep and eat with the handcuffs on. They were not permitted to shower for 10 days and after that were only permitted a short chance to clean themselves in the sink with cold water and the stench was unbearable given that a number of them were detained in one room without having the ability to see or speak with each other. More than one detainee complained that they were subjected to psychological torture by making them sleep on a cold floor, and were beaten or kicked as soon as they dosed off. They were not permitted to speak to the other detainees and their blindfolded for most of the time.

Detainees also claim that individuals came at night and picked up one of the activists in the room for interrogations and they then heard anguished cries and screams which made them at a constant fear that their turn may come next. Threats against family members and verbal insults and remarks were continuous. Discriminatory and humiliating verbal abuse was used to belittle the detainees and to break them down emotionally. Cold water, and forcing the detainees to stand for a long period of time, in some cases 3 days, were also used as a favorite torture method. Detainees were also not permitted to pray at times and called derogatory names when they requested a chance to pray.

One of the most disturbing claims made was that one of the detainees, after being subjected to beating and psychological torture, confessed to the hiding of the alleged stolen gun. The SSF took him to the area he informed them off, and tried to dig it up, they could not find it and he told them that he had lied to escape their torture. They then, according to BCHR source, buried him up to the neck in the same hole they had dug and pointed a gun at him telling him that they were going to kill him.

On a slightly different note, family members of some of the activists have informed the BCHR that during a visit to the Adliya interrogations Centre on Tuesday 15th of January to request visit permits, they heard screams coming from the centre and claim it was the sound of individuals being subjected to beating or assault. They were informed by the officer that it was just the screams of school children leaving a nearby school, a claim that they bluntly refused to accept. Furthermore, the father of on of the detainees informed the BCHR today that his son, Maytham Bader Alshaikh, a member of the Unemployed Committee, had informed him, in a brief visit that he had been subjected to sexual abuse including rectal penetration using a stick. There had been many cases of Saxual abuse during interrogation in the eighties and nineties. the most recent case was in Dec. 2006 when Mossa Abdali, a human rights activist was allegedly abducted and subjected to physical an sexual abuse. As a result of such atrocities, Mr Abdali was granted political asylum in the UK starting August 2007.

Accordingly, the BCHR Calls upon all Human Rights Organizations to intervene in whichever way that is within their means to put an end to the physical and psychological emotional torture the detainee are being subject, including,

• Prompt visits to the detainees by representatives of national and international human rights organizations, • Reminding the Bahraini authorities that any confessions taken under torture, according to International law, is void • Calls for an immediate and objective enquiry into these highly disturbing allegations and not to let these human rights violations pass without holding those responsible accountable for their actions Furthermore, The BCHR would like to remind the Bahraini authorities that the review of Bahrain record in the United Nations Human Right Council is to commence next April, and they have, through these latest arrests and methods of detention and torture violated a number of fundamental human rights as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights including articles 1,5,9,10, 11, and 12.