To evade prosecution of involvement in crimes against humanity:
HAQ: Movement of Liberties and Democracy- Bahrain Human Rights Bureau www.haaq.org, Email: HAAQ.Bahrain@gmail.com To evade prosecution of involvement in crimes against humanity: Concealment and Rotation of Torturers in Security Establishments
28 January 2010
Reports indicate that the Bahraini Authorities have been engaged in the concealment and rotation of officials accused of torture in the security services after the confluence of news of the receipt of their names by international institutions considering their prosecution of crimes against humanity for their involvement in cases of torture of activists and detainees in the previous period. This process started since Shaikh Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa was enthrone on March 6, 1999, and is still on going until this moment. Some f the torturers were promoted and re-posted as security advisers, others were referred for retirement to start doing private business using money extorted from the victims and their families during the exercise of the torturers their former work in the security services. Others were transferred to the private sector while others completely disappeared and vanished from any form of presence in any official institutions in the country.
In this documentary, reference is made to the officials of two specific bodies; the Criminal Investigation Directorate -CID (Also dubbed as the Department of Investigation and Criminal Evidences) and the National Security Apparatus -NSA (Formerly the State Security) who were, throughout the period of their work, aware of, witnessed and even led some practices of torture and other violations of human rights of the detainees; political activists and human rights defenders.
Torturers known to rotate their positions
1) Khalid Mohammed Al-Wazzan: At the position of lieutenant-colonel, Khalid is the former head of Al-Hidd police station, a former member of the Interrogation Committee (IC) overseeing the investigations during the events of the nineties and responsible for many the torture allegations by its members. He was the then supervisor of torture at Al-Khamees Police Station detention center. This week, the Bahrain Prime Minister issued a resolution No. 6 of 2010 on January 27, to promote Al-Wazzan to a manager and transferred from Al-Hidd Police Station to one of the departments at the Interior Ministry . The resolution contains other names of officers involved in an inhumane and ill-treatment and will be addressed in due course.
Together with Adel Fleifel and Khalid Al-Maawda, Al-Wazzan was personally involved in the raids on homes in times of dawn to capture those wanted for interrogation. He even participated with the crew of ransacking houses to intimidate its residence and sabotage its contents.
Reports indicate that Al-Wazzan personally carried out practices of torture, whether at Al-Khamees Police Station, at the CIB or at Al-Qala'a (Headquarter of the notorious State Security Apparatus).Khalid Al-Wazzan's name is frequency brought up in carrying out a sexual assault on Saeed Al-Eskafi, a seventeen-year-old who was arrested from his home in the village of Sanabis to return as a dead body on July 8, 1995, within one week of being arrested, tortured and died at Al-Khamees torture center. Moreover, Al-Wazzan is also linked t the torture of Noah Khalil Noah, who has not reached the twenty-second year and met the same fate as Saeed in the July 21, 1998 in less than seven days after his arrest at the same center.
Testimonies indicate that Al-Wazzan, and through his position as head of Al-Hidd Police Station (Prior to his promotion this week to a director in the Ministry) has been practicing his previous role in the torture of detainees and activists of the villages of Al-Dair, Arad and Samaheej of Muharraq island to coerce them to confess on themselves and on others. He was also known of managing the recognize themselves. HE was also known of running the attacks and raids on their homes in times of dawn with the help of his assistant Captain Isa Sultan Al-Sulaiti.
2) Yousif Hasan Yousif Al-Arabi:
Al-Wasat newspaper reported last week that its sources revealed the appointment of a former officer of the security apparatus as a security officer in a major national company . Research has demonstrated that the said officer in the reported piece of news is Yousif Hasan Yousif Al-Arabi, who was working at the position of a Major at the ClD of the Ministry of the Interior (MoI), and the company in question is Gulf Air.
Al-Arabi was not known in public as one of the investigating officers although he was responsible for investigations and confessions of detainees at its final stages after being exposed to various forms of torture at his knowledge and full view. Al-Arabi was promoted to a director at the MoI on June 30, 2007 (Prime Minister Resolution No. 36 of 2007) since then he had overseen all the "security" cases that pass through the CID .
The testimonies of some victims refer to Al-Arabi's role in forcing them to confess while in a miserable condition when brought to him at times of dawn or call for them to be taken back to the torture chambers near his office in the CID, if they refuse to confess.
Yousef Al-Arabi identity was not known then, only after the emergence of his photographs in civilian clothes in the local newspapers when he ran a handball team since 2001, and later the soccer team at Al-Ahly Club in Bahrain . He also emerged in the management of the same club in his position as a board member. His name was brought up through a media statement by lawyer for the defendants involved in the New Year's Eve incidents in 2002, specifically in the report of the German News Agency (DPA) on January 20, 2003. In that media outing, the lawyer indicated that his defendants alleged ill-treatment to force them to confess, referring to the existence of "plastic pipe" in Al-Arabi's office who was in charge of the interrogation at that time.
3) Bassam Mohammed Khamis Al-Maraj
Major Bassam Al-Maraj is the current Director of the Department for Combating Economic Crimes, the new name for Combating Money Laundering and Financing Terrorism Unit, which he headed since its inception in 2001 and follow the General Directorate of Criminal Investigations. Reports indicate that before moving entirely to the current administration, he was part of the team responsible for the interrogation with the detainees in the events since the new millennium. He was in an integrated team with the torturers Fahad Al-Fadhala and Isa Al-Majali who are still practicing the same roles of torture and ill-treatment of detainees.
Al- Maraj, then a captain in the CID, was playing the role of receipt of the detainee, after he was subjected to torment and suffering ,giving instructions of beating and torturing the detainee and threatening to pass him to the torturers for further doses of torture or threatening to subject his wife, his mother or sister, to rape if not confessing what the interrogators want. Al-Maraj witnessed, together with Fahad Al-Fadhala and other officers, the attack on one of the activists when he was stripped of his clothes and a hard stick was pushed into his anus, while his hands and feet were tight.
4) Khalid Abdulla Sagr Al-Maawda
Along with the torturer Khalid Al-Wazzan Al-Maawada is a binary key escort to the notorious Adel Fleifel. He was one of the members of the nineties Interrogation Committee (IC) and accompanied both Fleifel and Al-Wazzan in their acts which include dawn raids and torture of detainees from inception of detention until custody. He was known of enjoying extinguishing cigarette butts in the bodies of detainees and compete with Al-Wazzan in scoring the greatest harm to the victims with utmost pleasure while doing so.
Al-Maawda was moved to the Department of Investigation and Security Follow-up in the General Directorate of Immigration and Passports and was awarded the late Sheikh Isa Medal, of the fourth class, in June 2001. He was then promoted to the rank of colonel . He chaired the committee specialized to restore the citizenship of those deprived from it (the Stateless, also locally known as Bebdoon) during which it was reported that he exercised of sectarian discrimination and abused his powers in the Department of Investigation management to harass some of residents and harm them because of their sect and religious background . The repercussions of Al-Maawda attitude was highlighted in the media and thought of resulted in his disqualification from his post and taking him in hide away from the public upfront. Al-Mawaada was then replaced by lieutenant-colonel Ghazi Senan.
5) Abdulaziz Attiyatalla Al-Khalifa
Abdulaziz was the head of what was known as the "Security Committee (SC)", composed of officers from the Ministry of Interior, which was responsible for interrogation of detainees of the events of the nineties. These officers were also, as per testimonies, practicing torture during the interrogation and were, enjoying and in style, inducing pain and torture to the victims causing as much suffer needed to coerce them to confess, especially during the times of dawn. In June 2, 1997, and aftermath the formation of the governorates, a supervisory body composed of civilians and former military officers of the Ministry of Interior, Abdulaziz Attiyatalla was appointed the first governor of the Capital during the era of the former ruler . His tenure was renewed during the present ruler in June 2001.
After the set-up of the so-called "National Security Appratus- NSA", the new name for the notorious state security body, Abdulaziz Attiyatalla presided this apparatus as its first director on May 8, 2002 at the rank of minister . After growing popular demands to prosecute him on charges of torture and crime against humanity, he was shifted away from public focus and accountability and was moved in 2005 to the post of advisor to the Prime Minister for Security Affairs . Before his last post, Abdulaziz was honored by several medals including Al-Rafidain Medal of the fourth grade in 1983, the Medal of Bahrain of the fifth grade in 1986, the Medal of Shaikh Isa bin Salman of the second grade in 2000, and was promoted from the rank of a lieutenant colonel to a colonel in 1988.
6) Adel Jassim Mohammed Fleifel
Colonel Adel Fleifel is considered the most frequently named torturer in the testimonies of victims of torture, detainees, their families and friends, as well as those forcefully exiled from Bahrain in the period from 1980 to 1997. Fleifel was not only involved in leading the raids on homes in times of dawn and the interrogation of detainees, but also participated by himself in the brutal beating and insult their beliefs as well as directly supervised the torture, usually in his office at the headquarters of State Security.
Among other characteristics known for Fleifel – the right hand of the notorious British torturer Ian Henderson and a member of the SC in the nineties- is the mental torture he induces on the victims by threatening to rape their wives, sisters and mothers or by enjoying the view of them enduring pain and smiling in their faces during the course of a member of his torture crew while sexually assaulting the detainees while being shackled and tied up. It has been confirmed if he was involved- by himself- in the work of sodomy of victims. Testimonies of torture victims reveal the use of Fleifel to other direct methods of torture including electrocutions, pulling of victim's nails and the use of a flamed metal bar during the investigation.
After planned retirement in 2002 and due to the pressure and local protests, Fleifel fled to Australia after published reports of his involvement in financial issues and debts accumulating up to 24 million Bahraini Dinars (US$ 36 million) . In Australia and by using initial budget Fleifel made from abuse of power and extortion and blackmail of the detainees and their families as well as businessmen, he was engaged in trading and investing in the real estate to form a wealth of more than US$ 48 million . After the hail of voices to put on trial, especially in Australia, Fleifel new place of residence, the current ruler issued Decree No. 56 of 2002 legislating his impunity and protection as well as that for the others who practiced and were involved in crimes of torture from any kind of prosecution. This gave Fleifel the sense of security and guarantees to return to Bahrain .
Information states that Colonel Fleifel enjoys close ties with the Prime Minister of Bahrain Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman. In March 2000 and in appreciation to Fleifel's efforts and contribution in the last period, he was awarded the Medal of Shaikh Isa bin Salman of the third class by the current ruler - Sheikh Hamad bin Isa. With reports confirming that Fleifel carried out a cosmetic plastic surgery on his face in Beverly Hills at the end of nineties, he currently resides in Bahrain under official immunity and protection, while exercising activity in real estate investments. As a legal consular, he joined the Islamic Unity Political Society. The torturer, Adel Fleifel, went further than that, when local newspapers published his intention to run in the upcoming parliamentary elections at the end of this year .
7) Farooq Salman Jassim Al-Maawda
Since September 1, 2001, Brigadier General Farooq Al-Maawda has been the head of the CID in Al-Adelya until he was promoted to the post of Director-General of the Directorate of the Criminal Investigation in June 7, 2005. Has continued that post until the July 1, 2007 when he was promoted to the rank of Major General, and then an Undersecretary of the Ministry of the Interior, via Decree No. 65 of 2007. After leaving the Directorate of Criminal Investigation, it was under an interim administration of the Brigadier Tariq Bin Daina, who was the deputy General for Operations and Training at the Ministry of the Interior, before passing it to of Brigadier Isa Musallam in 2009.
It should be noted that the CID has been the main torture center, after the temporary absence of the security role of the Fort, the Center for National Security Apparatus (NSA), in whose alleys ugliest forms of human rights violations of detainees were carried out and practiced. In the CID, ill-practices have been continued until this moment where the use of torture and dosages of physical and psychological pain to detainees to force them confess on themselves and others have been carried out. Hence the moral responsibility of the CID Office and its administration or whoever assumes its responsibility, which was headed for some time by Farooq. It is worth mentioning the role played by Farooq in the membership of the Security Committee in the nineties, which was headed by Abdulaziz Attiyatalla to inflict harm and watch, and some time practice, torture on detainees during those times.
The Authorities presented Farooq with many awards in recognition of his efforts in the various positions taken up especially in the General Directorate of Investigations (The CID) to mention some; The Medal of Sheikh Isa of the third class, the Medal of Sheikh Isa Era of the first class, Medal of Merit of the security of the first class , Medal of the Security of first class in service excellence, Medal of security of the first class for the outstanding work, the Medal of Bahrain of the second class, Medal of Bahrain of the fifth class, Medal of Military Merit of the first class in addition to the Medal of the Security of long service.
8) Ian Stuart McWalter Henderson
Henderson, a British security officer, was directly responsible for the practices of interrogation and torture of activists and dissidents since joining the State Security Apparatus in 1966 until his removal from office on July 3, 2000. Reports indicate that since that time, Henderson is still receiving a salary as a consultant to the Minister of Interior and lives with his wife, Mary, in one of the residential complexes in Manama. Henderson was brought to Bahrain by the British to assist the local Authorities in the suppression of political activists and dissidents in Bahrain after his success in putting down the Mau Mau Uprising in Kenya in the fifties of last century.
Post more than one special TV programs in British channels which contained testimonies of a number of the victims of torture, a file was opened to track Henderson in Britain and brought to trial for crimes of torture in Bahrain . Some aspects of Henderson's life on the link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian_Henderson_(police_officer
In expression gratitude to his work, Henderson received numerous awards and grants by the representatives of power in Bahrain. On January 20, 1982, the late Amir- Sheikh Isa bin Salman al-Khalifa, granted Brigadier Ian Henderson the Medal of Military Service of first class when he was then the director general of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) . By the same Decree, the same medal was granted to Major General G.S. Bell, a British security officer and Henderson's' boss, as well as the then Director General of Public Security. In 1983, Henderson and Bill were also granted the Medal of Bahrain of the first class, also medals were awarded to some members of the State Security Service in recognition of their efforts . In 2000, Sheikh Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa - the current ruler – presented Sheikh Isa Medal of the first class to "Major" Ian Henderson, without specifying his official post in that decree .
9) Khalifa Ali Rashed Al-Khalifa
Khalifa is the former director of the National Security Apparatus -NSA (State Security). After Abdulaziz Attiyatalla Al-Khalifa, he took over NSA management on September 26, 2005 until July 3, 2008 when he was appointed Ambassador and head of Bahrain's diplomatic mission to the United Kingdom . Reshuffling Khalifa to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and then ambassador to Bahrain in London came after failing in the management of security file, which caused the arrests of more than 100 political activists and human rights defenders, known locally and internationally. That attack on dissidents and activists exacerbated the domestic situation dramatically and was reflected in the international human rights and media reports about Bahrain.
The testimonies of victims, who were arrested during the NSA management by Khalifa Ali Al-Khalifa, indicate that they were subjected to torture and ill-treatment in all events and arrests made since 2005, until his demise from his position. This include the attack on the Bahrain airport terminal during the temporary detention of Sheikh Mohammed Sanad in December 2005, the attack on customers and people shopping in Dana Mall in March 2006, the arrest of Mr Hasan Mushaima- Secretary of HAQ and Mr Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja- a human rights defender and then president of BCHR in February 2007, the attack on demonstrators which lead to the death of Ali Jassem and arrests in December 2007, security plays and arrests in Karzakan in April 2008 and others. These actions by the State security bodies resulted in arresting hundreds of activists and rights defenders who were subjected to torture and ill-treatment and were the focus of attention by local and international organizations who have been demanding the composition of truth commissions in cases of torture allegations and to hold accountable those responsible for them. The NSA, lead then by Khalifa Ali, comes in the forefront when it comes to accountability and bearing the moral responsibility for the actions of its members and personals who perpetrated and practiced torture against detainees.
Officials involved in torture in the previous period and until the moment
Since the arrests that occurred aftermaths the events in December 2007 and the until the publication of this report, testimony of victims of the "security" arrests cases reiterated names of the following officials in various security agencies who were involved directly or indirectly to inflict the harm and suffering to the detainees. These officials are still in their position and performing the same role of torturing detainees:
10) Fahad Abdulla Al-Fadhala
Captain Fahad Al-Fadhala is his early thirties but his name has emerged as a distinct practitioner of direct torture of detainees and exchange roles with other officers, the Jordanian Isa Al-Majali and the Bahraini Bassam Al-Maraj, to extract confessions from detainees the way he is pleased. Al-Fadhala has also been known for escorting the detainees to the Public Prosecution (PP) and has been practicing torture and beatings of the detainees who refuse to sign the prepared confessions made ready for them, or say contrary to what is mentioned in the confession papers made at the CID.
The testimonies of the former detainees revealed that Al-Fadhala was known of playing and showing off with his own pistol to intimidate them. He was repeatedly by putting the gun directly to the heads of the detainees and threatening to pull the trigger, resulting in killing any of them and faking the whole issue through fabrication of a "security" play, so that nobody could reach their fate. Another testimony assured that Al-Fadhala, accompanied by Al-Majali, were involved in the sexual harassment of some detainees and, in particular, the introduction of wooden stick in the anus of some of them to force them to confess.
11) Isa Awwad Talaq Al-Majali
At the end of his forties, Al-Majali is a naturalized Bahraini of Jordanian nationality, working as interrogator in the CID in the post of lieutenant and is expected to be upgraded to a higher rank, in recognition to his efforts in extraction of confessions from detainees. He was known to the first to see the detainees in an attempt to break their will by pointing out to them that confession is an evitable, unavoidable and that nobody leaves from his command (From within his hands are his words) without confessing of what he wants.
Al-Majali is known for the use of abusive language, insults and indecent talks with the detainees, trying to provoke them by referring to their mothers, sisters and wives as well as repeatedly making mockery of their religious beliefs. Al-Majali directed and witnessed the torture of many activists and human rights defenders, and is still engaged in the same role in the Criminal Investigation Directorate (CID).
12) Isa Sultan Al-Sulaiti (See his picture in the section on Khalid Al-Wazzan)
Al-Sulaiti, the son of Colonel Sultan Ali Al- Sulaiti - Deputy Governor of Muharraq- is the head of Research and Investigation as well as the head of Community Service in the Muharraq Police Directorate. Al-Sulaiti played a featured role in assisting his former boss- Khalid Al-Wazzan, in the pursuit of activists and leading the dawn raids on their homes. He also played a role in the interrogation of detainees on the island of Muharraq, particularly in the villages of Arad, Samaheej and Al-Dair, and the use of means of torture and intimidation to force them to admit confessions on themselves.
13) Khalifa Abdulla Mohammed Al-Khalifa
Khalifa Abulla is the current director of the so-called National Security Apparatus (the State Security or Intelligence) and responsible of the arrests of political and human rights activists after taking over the position from Khalifa Ali Rashed Al Khalifa, the present Bahrain Ambassador in London. Before being transferred on February 15, 2007 to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and then as the head of the Bahraini diplomatic mission to the United Kingdom, Khalifa worked in the post of Assistant Undersecretary for Foreign Media at the Ministry of Culture and Information as well as the head of the Radio and Television Commission. He managed to establish a close relationship between the Ministry of Information and National Security Apparatus (NSA), which is still flourishing under his leadership at this moment.
Testimonies and reports indicate the NSA deployment of foreign (Non-national) expertise to combat local popular protests through the use of and direct management of mercenaries of different nationalities who form the striking Special Forces. In addition, the same reports confirmed the use of the Apparatus to foreign experts in torture; Egyptian, Iraqi and Jordanian, to inflict torture to detainees, including dissident politicians and human rights activists, to coerce them to cast confessions. In the present era of Khalifa, testimonies showed the infliction of psychological torture and threats of sexual assault on the detainees and their female relatives, as well as the use of electrocution in sensitive parts of the body causing harm and damage to the detainees and their organs.
It has also been known that Khalifa Abdulla Al-Khalifa led the project of the televised confessions, aired in December 2008, of the young detainees of what was dubbed "Al-Hujaira Plot" case after subjecting them to electrocution and severe torture. Those confessions were used as basis to arrest well known and popular leaders in January 2009 which sparked wide spread protests in the villages and cities in Bahrain leading to their release in April of the same year after the suspension of the charges against them.
Of the individuals mentioned in the documents and reports, names associated with the arrests of activists and subjecting them to torture and ill-treatment. No details of these individuals except for their names and some time their position in the National Security Apparatus: i. Adel Khalifa Al-Fadhil (NSA Deputy Director) ii. Mohammed Hazeem iii. Mohamed Khalifa Mohamed iv. Bader Ibrahim Al-Ghaith - the person leading dawn raids and the arrest of the activists v. Rashid Abdullah Al-Benali - the person responsible for ordering the arrests vi. Rashid Rashid Al-Matawaa vii. Faisal Ahmed Bu-Allai
14) Isa Abdulla Nasser Al-Musallam
Brigadier Isa Al-Musallam was granted the post of the head of General Directorate of Investigation and Criminal Evidence by Decree No. 5 of 2009 issued on February 6, 2009. Before then and during his tenure of the General Director of the Security of the Capital Province, he was directly responsible for attacks by the Special Forces on public protests and gatherings that took place in the Capital, specifically those related to popular committees like the Unemployed and that for Victims of Torture. Testimonies indicate that Al-Musallam kept threatening many of the activists to be detained if they continued their participations and protests. These activists were later arrested and were subjected to ill-treatment and severe torture while in the CID and detention.
Later promoted to Major, Isa Al-Musallam received Al-Rafedain Medal of the fifth class in 1983 and the Medal of Military Merit of the first class in 1986. In addition to the reported inhuman treatment he was responsible for when he was director general of the Capital Province, Isa Al-Musallam bear the violations by his subordinates and members of the CID, mentioned above and the upcoming, in the light of his knowledge of the continued suffering and torture used to extract confessions from the detainees.
Of the names mentioned in the documents, reports, and whose names have been associated with the arrest of activists, subjecting them to torture and ill-treatment in the Criminal Investigation Department are as follows (No details, so far, of these individuals except their names):
i. Abdulaziz Al-Rumaihi ii. Parviz iii. Muftah iv. Salah Tarrar Ahmed v. Khalid Javeed Tar vi. Yasser Ali Al-Oraibi vii. Mohammad Abdulla Ghiath viii. Hamza Al-Shomali ix. Duaij Al-Kubaisi x. Abdulmalek
Disappearance of Well-known Names Involved in crimes of torture
The above names represent part of a longer list of wanted persons accountable for their involvement, directly or indirectly, in the torture and ill-treatment of many of the victims. Sufficient testimonies and adequate information are available to bring those torturers to justice. Another non-exhaustive list are available in the internet and posted in many websites refers to names and posts of individuals involved in torture in the last period.
The Movement of Liberties and Democracy "HAQ" believes that there is a tendency to hide many of the figures involved in torture in order to cover them up as being part of the security staff, thereby abdicating any responsibility towards them, in addition to formally protect them in recognition for their efforts in the last period. It should be noted that the Authorities are still refusing to allow for prosecution of torturers and those involved in torture cases in the last period when issued Decree 56 in 2002 to ensure legal protection for them and for the authority as well. Accordingly, HAQ calls for the following: 1 - Stop the practice of torture as a means to coerce detainees and victims of protests for confession up on themselves or others. It includes extraction of admission by inducing physical and psychological pain and suffering to them and their families, which is contrary to basic international human rights norms and charters.
2 – Dismiss all officials and members of the security individuals, from their posts, then prosecute those responsible for torture in the previous period and until this moment. This involves the recruitment of new national staff who has not been associated, in any way, of responsibilities and the consequences of inhumane treatment and torture of the detainees in prisons, detention and exile.
3 - Refrain from bringing and deployment of foreign mercenaries and torture experts from Egypt, Jordan, Iraq and other nationalities in any of the security establishments.
4 – Revoking Decree-Law No. 56 of 2002 or amend it such that it complies with human rights values, allowing for prosecuting those responsible for torture in the previous period , to ensure non-recurrence of such gross violations of human rights.
5 - Allowing all victims of torture in the previous period to prosecute and bring to justice those involved - directly or indirectly – in torture, inhuman and degrading treatment inside and outside of prison, with no distinction as to the post or rank of any of those responsible officials or their social status.
6 - Compensating and redress (physical and moral) victims of torture by the authority which bear the responsibility of the officials in the security establishments.
7 - Signing the Additional Protocol to the Treaty on Torture, which Bahrain acceded in 1989, which allows victims to bring cases directly to the United Nations Committee Against Torture.