The Arrest of the Administrative Member in the BCHR among a Campaign that Targets the Activists and Human Rights Defenders
Armed Militias Roaming the Areas of Protests and Kidnapping the Youth to Physically and Sexually Abuse Them

19/8/2010

In persistence of the campaign instigated by the speech of the King of Bahrain, the Bahraini Authorities carried out further arrests that target the political activists and human rights defenders under politically tense circumstances and areas that are militarily surrounded, and protests that are rapidly spreading in the villages and areas of Bahrain. There is information of the spread of teams of armed militias roaming the streets and areas of protests, and who are kidnapping those it suspects to be activists, only to take them to unknown centers while being blind-folded, then it tortures them and subjects them to sexual harassment before being photographed nude and throwing them in remote areas. The administrative member of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights Dr. Mohammed Saeed Al-Sahlawi was arrested from his house in the area of Sihla in the dawn of Tuesday, 17 August 2010. Dr. Mohammed is a dentist working in a private clinic and is considered among the activists in the field of human rights, and he is an administrative member in the BCHR and supervises its electronic website. He had been arrested in the past[1] in November 2006, on the charge of distributing publications that demand the political and peaceful reformation and change. He was imprisoned for one year; however, he was released with a Royal Pardon before completing his sentence. He was also arrested in 1997 on the charge of contacting the opposition and the international organizations abroad, and he was administratively detained without a trial for a year and a half. Besides Dr. Mohammed Saeed and at the same time of his arrest, Sheikh Abdul-Hadi Abdullah Al-Mokhadur from the area of Sanabes and Sheikh Mirza Al-Mahroos from the area of Manama were both arrested, and they are both religious clerics who are engaged in charity and social work and who are involved in activities defending the liberties and human rights. As well, Jaffar Ahmed Jassim Al-Hisabi was arrested, and he is an activist living in the UK for 15 years, and is known for his permanent participation in the protests demanding liberties and human rights and the release of detainees in the British capital.

Contrary to the principle that the defendant is innocent until proven guilty, all the detainees' reputation has been smeared by publishing their photographs and disgracing their reputation by the State-owned media apparatuses in an organized and fabricated media fright with a simultaneously continuous incitement led by the state newspapers, foremost Al-Watan newspaper, which is the newspaper that is closely affiliated with the Royal Court, and whose name is connected with its role in triggering sectarian and political discord among the community, this is according to the statements of the former government adviser Dr. Salah Al-Bandar.

In a serious deterioration following the speech of the King of Bahrain, the BCHR received a number of complaints about kidnaps and forced disappearances practiced by a group of armed militias wearing black clothes and roaming the Bahraini areas and villages, and kidnapping who they believe to be the dynamic activists in the demonstrations witnessed by their areas. They are being kidnapped after blocking their way and then leaving their cars in the streets. The majority of those kidnapped were being held in custody for changeable periods, varying between several hours to two days in the secret centers, which are believed to be near the airport and they are being led to them with blindfolds on, and they are tortured throughout the entire time and severely beaten and stripped off their clothes, and sexually harassed, they are then photographed nude and their torn clothes or their underwear are dumped in areas far from their areas of residence.

Torture marks apparent on the back of Hakeem Al-Ashiri and the head of Hussein Ali Dawood after pulling his hair out with a pincher

The BCHR was informed about the kidnap of Hakeem Al-Ashiri and Hussein Ali Dawood from Dair area while they were passing by with their car, near the French School in Busaiteen area, Friday evening, where they were surrounded with four civilian cars, driven by a group of armed individuals with civilian clothes. They were forced to abandon their cars and enter one of those cars after they were handcuffed and blindfolded, then they were taken to an unknown center. The victims believe that the place was near the airport due to hearing the sounds of airplanes which seemed to be near the detention center. Their clothes were stripped off entirely, and were photographed nude and they were sexually harassed. They were then interrogated and asked about their relation with some of the human right defenders or figures of the Bahraini opposition. They were also beaten and kicked all over their bodies, and they were hung by the "Falaqa" way – by the legs - and were beaten with rods, and Ali Dawood's head hair was plucked out with an iron pincher. After finishing from torturing them, they were thrown beside a sheep barn near Al-Sabah Health Center in Um-Hassam area.

In another incident on Sunday, 15 August, when the political activists and the student at the College of Law, Ali Hasan Al-Sitri was returning home to his village Demistan, and while he was in the road, he was taken aback by a civilian golden car obstructing his car, and a group of armed people wearing black clothes stepped outside the car. They then took him by force from his car to their car after handcuffing him and putting on a black mask on him that blocks his vision. After twenty minutes, the car stopped and he was taken to a place that is believed to be an apartment or private house, then they started beating and kicking him non-stop until he fell unconscious. After that, they stripped him off his clothes, and then they took photographs of him and of various nude areas of his body. This continued for several hours, until someone came and he is believed to be a security official to interrogate him about his political activity and his various relationships with the poles of the political opposition – and he told him that his activity is bothering the Authority and that what happened to him is only as a mere message for him and for others that he will be physically eradicated if he continued his activity, and he was also threatened with raping the members of his family if continued to challenge them by continuing his activity. This state continued for two days until he was dropped off on Monday night, while being worn out and blindfolded to a coastal area in Muharraq town. Throughout the entire time of his presence, Al-Sitri could hear the sounds, shouts and screams of other people being subjected to torture.

The lawyer and political activist Ali Hasan Al-Sitri and the torture marks apparent on his body

In a new incident, and when Ahmed Ali Hussein Abdullah was going back to his car in the Diplomatic Area and before reaching his car, a black Ecco car blocked his way and three people wearing black clothes got off. They handcuffed and blindfolded him and made him lay down on the car's chair, they then sat on him and started beating him all over his body until he almost suffocated. They then took him to an unknown place and started beating him continuously, and they questioned him about his relation with some figures of the Bahraini opposition. They threatened to sexually abuse him, and started to strip him off his clothes and then they rubbed parts of his body with oil to ease the sexual abuse, he was then photographed nude and he was told that his photographs will be published in the electronic websites. He was forced to stand naked the whole time in the same place which seems to be near the airport,due to the sounds of airplanes. The beating, cursing and threats of raping his family members continued. During the detention Ahmed Hussein Abdullah heard the screams and whines of two or three detainees who, from the sounds of their voices, seem to have been facing sexual abuse. Finally, they took him in the car and beat him until they threw him onn the shore of Busaiteen in Muharraq, and they dumped the pants which he was only wearing. Some of those passing by saw him on the shore, so they called his family who came to pick him and take him to a hospital for treatment, and then they filed a complaint about the kidnap to the Budaiya Center.

At a time where the BCHR expresses its deep concern for these immoral acts, it finds that kidnapping those suspected to be opponents of the Authority's policy or participants in the protest acts, and blocking their way on the main roads in order to kidnap or hide them in unknown places far from the outside world, and then torturing and harassing or abusing them sexually, is the work of gangs or uncontrolled militias, and not the work of an government that respects itself; and the Authority who emphasizes the governance of the law should start itself to respect the law, and not to run the country in this manner that violates all the moral norms and human values. The BCHR holds the country's King and his uncle the Prime Minister, and the security officials from the ruling family the full responsibility for all these violations which are resulting and which will result from their inciting speech that instigated these violations against the political opponents or human rights defenders. The BCHR finds that this suppressive campaign, led by the government is only a temporary state that must end so that the ruling regime faces its reality again.

Based on the above, the BCHR demands the political leadership, represented in the country's King and his uncle the Prime Minister to:

1. Release all the detainees on charges related to the political tension the country is enduring, considering that the concrete motives behind their arrest is for them practicing their rights in expression, organizing and assembling and not calling for the use of violence as the regime claims;

2. Immediately put an end to the kidnaps practiced by some of the security apparatuses and to bring the ones responsible for these militias and workers in it to public and independent trials;

3. A serious dialogue with the active forces in the community and to look into the crisis that the country is going through and that is related to stopping the policies of the systematic sectarian discrimination and to guarantee the civil, political, economic and social rights, instead of falling back on the security solutions that have proven to be futile.

-- [1]Bahrain: Activists Face Prison for Political Leaflets