The child Hasan Ali Jassim before and after the assault incident

4 February 2011

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses its great concern for the continuous and dangerous escalation represented in targeting children by firing shots at them; the latest victims being the child Hasan Ali Jassim (15 years old). On Monday January 24th 2011, when the child Hasan Ali Jassim was returning with his friend Haytham Mahdi from the grocery near his house, he heard someone calling him ‘boy!’ which made him stop and turn to see where the voice came from. It was one of the Special Forces police who was in his military car, who then raised his shotgun and fired a shot at the child right beside his house, which caused injuries with several splinters scattered in various parts of his face, head and body. As soon as he reached home his father took him to the emergency section at the Salmaniya Medical Hospital for treatment.

The Medical Report for the Assault Incident

The child Hasan Ali Jassim before and after the assault incident While he was in hospital for treatment, an officer from the Ministry of Interior named Salman Ameer Al-Zarqawi visited him in an attempt to transfer him to the BDF Hospital (military hospital) by force, to be under the supervision of the security apparatuses, however, the child’s father refused to do so in fear for his son from the security apparatuses. This was due to the fact that the security had in several precedents justified a wrongful shooting by incriminating the innocents and victims of those incidents to make them appear as if they are the ones who carried out the assault. Due to the officer’s insistence on transferring the child to the BDF Hospital, the child’s father filed a complaint in Budaiya Police Station against the assault that happened to his son and against the officer’s insistence on transferring his son by force. However, the police, and instead of investigating the matter, arrested the child and detained him with the pretext that there is a complaint filed against him by the abovementioned officer, yet he was released hours later.

The Shotgun Being Used

The shotgun fires a bullet that explodes directly after being shot, which fires dozens of solid balls to spread over a wide area to hit the largest number possible of targets, and this leads to the injury of many amongst the demonstrators. These solid blocks penetrate the human skin to stick to the bones and do not penetrate them, and it is difficult to later extract those blocks from the body due to their small size. There are dozens of Bahraini citizens whose bodies still suffer from the penetration of these objects, and the lodging of these objects in their bodies since the 1990’s. Many were killed as well in the 1990’s due to this weapon. The shotgun is usually used to hunt birds or small animals. Protocol 1 of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) prohibits the use of shotgun or any other similar weapon as the Protocol states, ‘It is prohibited to use any weapon the primary effect of which is to injure by fragments which in the human body escape detection by X-rays.’

Marks of beating on Abbas AlFuraikh’s head and body

The assault of Special Forces on children has reoccurred when on January 3rd of last year the child Fatima Mirza (13 years old) was attacked. She was severely injured in the face, chest and feet – due to the glass of the house scattering when the rubber and sound bullets were fired by those forces inside her room. In another incident on October 29th, 2010 three Bahraini children , two of them 9 years old and a girl aged 6 were injured with various splinters in their bodies due to firing shotgun bullets and rubber bullets at them by members of the Special Forces while they were playing in the garden near their house, at a time when the village was witnessing some protest acts. They were later transferred to Salmaniya Medical Hospital for treatment. On November 3rd, 2010 the same Forces attacked the child Ali Abbas Radhi (14 years old) from Daih village and injured him in the head with a deep-set wound and fractures in his leg and other injuries in different parts of his body. There were no confrontations or security turmoil at the time of the assault which could require the presence of the Forces in the area. The Special Forces were used effectively in the surroundings of villages or areas where the residents are of a Shiite majority, among them elderly women and children who were injured or subjected to suffocation, and a number of properties, houses and mosques have been damaged due to these weapons. The Security Forces used excessive force against several public peaceful gatherings and public seminars. The Bahrain Center for Human Rights believes that this attack is one of many random assaults carried out by these Forces to spread terror and fear amongst the Bahraini Shiite villages and especially among its children and youth in order to scare them from participating in any protest act. Article 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child which Bahrain endorsed prompts ‘State Parties shall ensure that: No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

Based on the provided information, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights demands:

1. Stop targeting children or using violence or weapons against them, especially those that are internationally forbidden; 2. Stop the collective punishment and lift the siege on the villages; 3. Release all the detained children in the political or security cases of a political nature; 4. Investigate in an urgent, neutral and effective manner the incidents of firing shotgun bullets at children and minors, and to bring forth the ones involved, both those responsible and the executors of those crimes to justice.

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[1]The Injury of a Child in Der Village after the Special Forces Brutal Attack on her House [2]The Injury of Children with Shotgun and Rubber Bullets [3]Children in Bahrain: Victims of Physical and Sexual Assault and Kidnaps, Arbitrary Arrests and Unjust Trials