Updates: Harsh sentences to 21 prominent oppositional leaders and Human Rights defenders
Update - 10 July 2011 The appeal case of 21 prominent opposition figures convicted on 22 June in Bahrain has been postponed until 11 September, when it will be heard before an ordinary criminal court , rather than a military court.
After the hearing some of the defendants claimed that they had been beaten in prison. At least two of them had alleged in previous hearings that they had been subjected to torture and threats in prison. On 29 June, the National Safety Court of Appeal decided to adjourn the appeal until 11 September. On the same day, the King of Bahrain issued a decree ordering that all trial cases before military courts should be transferred to ordinary civilian courts with immediate effect, meaning that the appeal case of the 21 opposition figures will now be heard by an ordinary criminal court. The National Safety Court ceased to exist after that decision.
Update - 22 June 2011
Today the martial court issues verdicts against 21 rights activists and political opposition leaders after months of detention.
Eight Bahraini rights activists have been given life sentences by a military court, which found them guilty of plotting a coup against the government during two months of unrest that rattled the country earlier this year.
Another 13 political and rights activists were given sentences of between two to 15 years, as the government attempts to crush dissent that has erupted in the tiny kingdom in February following popular uprisings elsewhere in the Arab world.
The verdicts were immediately condemned by rights groups who said all those found guilty had been campaigning to end discrimination at the hands of the Sunni dynasty. Almost all activists who took to the streets of Manama in February and March were Shia Muslims, who make up 70% of Bahrain's population, but feel largely disenfranchised.
Rights groups have urged Bahrain to halt the special military court proceedings, with Human Rights Watch deeming them a violation of international law.
"Most defendants hauled before Bahrain's special military court are facing blatantly political charges, and trials are unfair," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.
In a meeting earlier this month with U.S. President Barack Obama last week, Bahrain's Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa pledged he is seeking national dialogue with the protesters. Bahrain's crackdown contradicts statements the prince made, Human Rights Watch said.
Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab also said he disapproved of the trials.
"This court does not meet international standards for human rights and for fair trials. The people were sentenced for expressing their opinion and for opposing the government," Rajab said. "This goes against the government saying it wants a dialogue."
Bahrain's ruling dynasty had instead claimed that the men were part of a "sedition ring", backed by Iran and Hezbollah, who were trying to topple the regime.Among those given life sentences were leading members of opposition political groups. Leading rights activist Adbul Hadi al-Khawaja, whose daughters Zainab and Maryam are prominent members of the Bahrainhuman rights movement, was one of those condemned to life in prison. Zainab was reportedly removed from the courtroom after protesting against the sentence
Among those who received lesser sentences was Ibrahim Sharif, a secular leftist Sunni, who was accused by a state-run newspaper of having links to "a foreign country" – a veiled reference to Iran.
The Guardian spoke to Sharif at the former focal point of the rights demonstrations in Manama in February where he said he was the only prominent member of the Sunni community to be campaigning more openly for equal rights for the kingdom's majority Shia base.
"Things have to change here, or else the country will suffer and the kingdom could be imperilled," he said at the time, standing in Pearl roundabout, a landmark in the central city that was later demolished under government orders.
As verdicts were read in a military court this morning, members of the public gallery chanted "solidarity, solidarity, we shall overthrow the regime". Bahraini security officers were congratulating each other inside the courthouse, according to bystanders present.
The trials were held despite the government pronouncing the end of three months of martial law earlier this month, which had given the exclusively Sunni security forces extra powers of detention and arrest.
Activists called for protesters to again take to the streets in Manama on Wednesday in defiance of the verdicts and the government, which has vowed to continue a crackdown on dissent. Up to 30 doctors and nurses from key city hospitals were last week also put on trial accused of subversion and if using government facilities for political purposes.
1- Abdulwahab Hussain Ali ( life sentence imprisonment) - arrested 16 Mar 2011 2- Hassan Ali Mushaima.( life sentence imprisonment) - arrested 16 Mar 2011 3- Mohammed Habib Al Safaf. ( Al Miqdad) ( life sentence imprisonment) - arrested 16 Mar 2011 [and was in prisone between Aug 2010- 28 Feb 2011] 4- Ebrahim Sharif Abdulraheem Mossa ( 5 Years imprisonment) - arrested 16 Mar 2011 5- Abduljalil Mansoor Makk. (Al Miqdad) ( life sentence imprisonment) arrested 27 Mar 2011 6- Abduljalil Abdullah Al Singace.( life sentence imprisonment) - arrested 16 Mar 2011 [and was in prisone between Aug 2010- 28 Feb 2011] 7- Saeed Mirza Ahmed. (AlNouri) ( life sentence imprisonment) - arrested 16 Mar 2011 [and was in prisone between Aug 2010- 28 Feb 2011] 8- Abdul Hadi Abdullah Mahdi Hassan (AlMukhodher) ( 15 years imprisonment) - arrested 16 Mar 2011 [and was in prisone between 13 Aug 2010- 28 Feb 2011] 9- Abdullah Isa Al Mahroos.( 15 years imprisonment) - arrested 16 Mar 2011 [and was in prisone between Aug 2010-28 Feb 2011] 10- Abdulhadi Al Khawaja ( life sentence imprisonment) - arrested 9 April 2011 11-Salah Hubail Al Khawaj.( 5 years imprisonment) - arrested 21 Mar 2011 12- Mohammed Hassan Jawad.( 15 years imprisonment) - arrested Mar 2011 [was arrested for few weeks last year] 13- Mohammed Ali Ismael. ( 15 years imprisonment) - arrested Mar 2011 14- Al Hurr Yousif Mohammed.( 2 Years imprisonment) - arrested Mar 2011 [and was in prisone between Aug 2010- 28 Feb 2011]
Defendants Sentenced in absentia:
15- Aqeel Ahmed Al Mafoodh.( 15 years imprisonment) 16- Ali Hassan Abdullah( Ali Abdulemam) ( 15 years imprisonment) [was in prisone between Sep 2010- 28 Feb2011] 17- Abdulghani Ali Khanjar.( 15 years imprisonment) [and was in prisone between 13 Aug 2010-28 Feb 2011] 18- Saeed Abdulnabi Shehab.( life sentence imprisonment) 19- Abdulraoof Al Shayeb.( 15 years imprisonment) 20- Abbas Al Omran.( 15 years imprisonment) 21- Ali Hassan Mushaima.( 15 years imprisonment)
Abdulwahab Hussain Ali is the official spokesman of AlWafa' society. He is well known and respected in Bahrain as a philosopher and a writer. He spoke to international media about the situation in Bahrain.
Ibrahim Sharif Abdulraheem Mossa is the president of the National Action Democrat Society (Waad). He is a liberal Sunni and Waad was the first society to be shut down by the government after the protests. He spoke to international media about the situation in Bahrain.
- Amnesty Bahrain: Further information: Bahraini opposition leader feared tortured, Ebrahim Sharif
- Free Sharif Blog
Hassan Ali Mushaima is the president of the Haq movement and is also a respected religious scholar. He was tried in absentia during the crackdown that started last August. Mushaima reported to the UN and also spoke at the House of Lords in the United Kingdom about violations in Bahrain. His son Mohammed Mushaima was sentenced during the August crackdown to one year imprisonment for taking pictures of unrest in Bahrain and broadcasting them internationally.
Abdulhadi Al Khawaja is an internationally prominent human rights defender. He was one of the founders of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights and recently worked as the Middle East and North Africa Region regional director at Frontline Defenders. He has been arrested several times previously and beaten by security forces when participating in peaceful protests. He is also a Danish citizen. His two sons-in-law were arrested during the raid in which he was arrested. They remain in detention today.
Abduljalil Abdullah Al Singace is head of the human rights office at Haq movement. He was arrested in mid-august during the previous crackdown and released in late February after the mass protests. He has been a prominent figure in speaking internationally about human rights violations in Bahrain. He is also a blogger. He suffers from child's paralysis and relies on his wheelchair for movement. His eldest son Hussain Al Singace is in detention and his other son Hassan is in hiding as they are looking for him. His daughter Zahra was arrested and interrogated for several hours then released.
- Scholars At Risk http://scholarsatrisk.nyu.edu/Education-Advocacy/Scholars-in-Prison-Profile.php?sch_uid=804
- His Blog: http://alsingace.blogspot.com/
Mohammed Habib Al Safaf (AlMuqdad) is a prominent religious figure in Bahrain, head AlZahraa Society for Orphans and is also an activist. He has been known to speak out and criticize the government on human rights violations. He was arrested during the crackdown last August, and when released in late February, the centre was able to document the severity of the torture he had been subjected to. He previously had filed a case against the Minister of Interior for the use of the illegal bird shotgun against civilians. He is also a Swedish citizen. AlMuqdad spoke at the House of Lords in the United Kingdom about violations in Bahrain.
Saeed Mirza Ahmed AlNouri is a prominent religious figure in Bahrain as well as an active member of AlWafa'. He has been known to speak out and criticize the government on human rights violations. He was arrested during the crackdown last August, and when released in late February, the centre was able to document the severity of the torture he had been subjected to. His brother was also arrested, Maytham AlNouri.
Abduljalil Mansoor Makki AlMuqdad: is a prominent religious figure and head of AlWafa'. He is known to speak about violations in Bahrain during Friday prayer sermons. He is Mohammed Habib AlMuqdad's cousin. His brother was also arrested, Ahmed Radhi AlMuqdad. He spoke in international media outlets about violations in Bahrain.
AlHurr Yousif Mohammed AlSumaikh is a member of the Haq movement. He was arrested during the crackdown last August and subjected to torture then released in late February.
Abdullah Isa Al Mahroos is a prominent religious figure in Bahrain. He is the vice president of the AlZahraa Scoeity for Orphans. He has been known to speak out and criticize the government on human rights violations. He was arrested during the crackdown last August, and when released in late February, the centre was able to document the severity of the torture he had been subjected to.
Salah Hubail Al Khawaja is a former member of the Amal Society. During the recent mass pro-democracy protests he documented human rights violations and reported them through the international media. He is also Abdulhadi's younger brother. His wife was subjected to sexual harassment during the arrest.
- Check the account of his wife about arrest of her husband and attack on her: youtube.com
Mohammed Hassan Jawad Parweez is a human rights defender who was also arrested then released during the crackdown last August. He is well known for speaking out against violations in Bahrain and he was the oldest detainee during the previous crackdown.
- Check BCHR article: http://www.bahrainrights.org/en/node/3688
Mohammed Ali Ismael is a political activist, connected with the the first man on the list Abdulwahab Hussain.
Being tried in absentia:
Aqeel Ahmed Al Mafoodh is an independent political activist. He was arrested during the crackdown in August and was subjected to the most severe forms of torture. He headed the media tent during the mass pro-democracy protests at the Pearl Roundabout and spoke to the international media about violations in Bahrain. His two sons, Ahmed AlMahfoodh and Mahmood AlMahfoodh, as well as his brother, Fadhel AlMahfoodh, were arrested to force him to hand himself in.
Ali Hassan Abdullah AbdulEmam is a prominent blogger and founder of popular BahrainOnline Forum. He was arrested during the previous crackdown in August and he spoke about the torture he had been subjected to after his release in late February. He did interviews with international media and participated in international conferences for bloggers.
See this video interview with Abdulemam after his release in Feb 2011 describing torturehttp://www.youtube.com
Campaign website to demand his release last year: http://freeabdulemam.wordpress.com/
His Blog: http://abdulemam.
Abdulghani Ali Khanjar is the head of the Anti-Torture committee and is an activist who was arrested during the crackdown in August and subjected to severe torture. AlKhanjar participated in public events internationally about the human rights violations in Bahrain. AlKhanjar spoke at the House of Lords and to international media about violations in Bahrain.
- Check his account of torture: storify.com/chanadbh/bahraini-human-rights
Saeed Abdulnabi AlShehabi is the president of the Bahrain Freedom Movement and has lived most of his life in the United Kingdom. He is known to be vocal about human rights abuses in Bahrain and was tried in absentia during the crackdown last August. His son-in-law , a businessman, Ghazi Farhan has been arrested and sentenced to 3 years in jail for charges related to peaceful protests.
Abdulraoof Al Shayeb is the head of AlKhalas Movement in the United Kingdom and he had moved to the UK to seek political asylum a few years back after being tortured by Bahraini authorities. He was also an active member of the Torture Victims Committee. Al Shayeb spoke to the international media about violations in Bahrain. Last night security forces raided his wife's kindergarten and vandalized it. They also arrested his son, Taleb AlShayeb, then released him a few hours later.
Abbas Al Omran is an active member of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights and moved to the United Kingdom seeking political asylum after he was arrested and tortured a few years back. AlOmran speaks to international media about violations in Bahrain. His wife who is living in Bahrain has been targeted with job lay-off, interrogation for several hours, house raid at dawn and travel ban.
Ali Hassan Mushaima is outspoken critic of the Bahraini government and a member of the Committee for the Unemployed. He sought political asylum in the United Kingdom after being arrested and tortured by the Bahraini Authorities. He is above mentioned Hassan Mushaima's son. He speaks to international media about violations in Bahrain.
Update - 22 May 2011
At the hearing of the prominent 21 activists, Lieutenant Isa Sultan was brought as a witness. Isa Sultan is the person in charge of the case and investigations. According to people present at the hearing, he was sweating and appeared very nervous. He said that the defendants were working in coordination with Iran as they all followed Velayat-Al-Faqih and wanted an Islamic Republic. He also said that they received payments of "Khums" which is Islamic taxation. The lawyer asked him how he knew this if there were checks or such, and he responded that they received it all in cash and then used it to buy gas and car tires for the youth to burn on the streets. He then said that the defendants were receiving directions from Hezbullah who told them they must achieve a constitutional monarchy.
Two other witnesses were then questioned who were in charge of the arrest of AbdulJalil AlMuqdad and Hassan Mushaima. The first person was Nawaf Aldoseri and another person who said that they conducted the arrests in a legal manner. When they were about to question Bader Ghaith (the person in charge of Abdulhadi Alkhawaja's arrest and named as a top torturer by several victims during previous cases) the lawyer asked that the other 3 witnesses be brought for questioning. Salah Alkhawaja's wife immediately identified Bader AlGhaith as being the person who beat her when arresting her husband and sexually harassing her. The court was adjourned till Wednesday the 25th of this month.
During the last hearing the judge ordered that the detainees be taken out from solitary confinement, but many of them remain in solitary confinement. In the other cases, security personnel had brought a mattress into the cells of the detainees where they were held in solitary confinement and an Indian or Philipino prisoner who have criminal charges to stay in their cells with them. The detainees are not able to even communicate with them due to the language barrier.
When the hearing was over families were told that nobody would be given visitation rights today but were later on called back in. Abdulhadi Alkhawaja and his younger brother Salah (accused in the same case) were seated together and the visit lasted for around 40 minutes. The information below was taken from Abdulhadi Alkhawaja.
- - He is still in solitary confinement and some of the detainees had Asian inmates brought into the cells with them which didn't really help with the solitary confinement problem since communication with them is impossible due to the language barrier.
- - In the hospital after his operation they had his eyes constantly covered, had chained his legs and one of his arms so that he couldn't move and had left only one arm free for the IV line. He remained like that for 6 days and they regularly came in to insult and threaten him while he was in this condition. They kept telling him that they had arrested his eldest daughter Zainab, had raped her and were keeping her in a prison in Saudi.
- - He had gone on hunger strike on three different occasions to demand the improvement of their treatment and of his condition in jail. He mentioned that after his surgery he had refused to take even his medicine and they had severely beaten him to stop the hunger strike and when he still refused they tied him in the "Faylaqa" method with one arm loose and forcibly inserted an IV line for him.
- - The doctor and nurse who were treating him always had their faces covered when they came to see him. At one point the doctor got really frustrated and started saying who did this to you, and when my father said he did it to himself, the doctor said there is no way a person can cause those types of injuries to himself.
- - Insults and dirty language is something the detainees have gotten used to by now, especially when it comes to the detained clerics. The prison guards do everything possible to degrade and insult the detainees and there is no doubt that psychological torture is implemented on all of them. He said that the worst psychological torture is when they in the middle of the night the guards start banging with metal rods on the cells, and shouting really loud then go into the cells and threaten the detainees. He said that many other prisoners were being subjected to torture much worse than what he had gone through and had been threatened not to speak up.
- - After the trial before last (in which he had told the judge that he'd been threatened) they had beaten him and left him outside in the sun for half an hour with a sack over his head. He also said that to and from the trials they were always transferred with their hands tied behind their backs and sacks over their heads. This made it difficult to breathe due to the heat and humidity in Bahrain.
- - They constantly talked about and insulted Maryam AlKhawaja and Nabeel Rajab. They gave him details about what they will do to his daughter Maryam in very vulgar language.
- - They're being kept in AlQurrain prison.
One of the women brought her 22 days old baby to the court as her husband who was detained and had not seen his baby girl yet. He was also previously arrested in the August crackdown. When she had gone into labour she had to convince the ambulance to come because he said he would not go to her area in Sitra. When he finally came he was accompanied by riot police who opened the ambulance door and interrogated her.
Update- 16 May 2011 Today was the third session in the trial of the 21 prominent Bahraini figures. The trial was adjourned until 22 May to give the defence a chance to examine the evidence presented by the prosecution.
The lawyers said today that this case being tried at court is unconstitutional as they are being tried on charges that occurred previous to when this court was instituted (by State of National Safety).
Mohammed Jawad Parweez's lawyer asked that he be released due to his age and health, but the judge refused. Parweez then took his shirt off to show the judge the torture marks on his body but he was forced to sit down by the security forces in the court room.
At the end of the trial, Abdulhadi Alkhawaja tried to address the court saying that security forces had tried to force him to make a videotaped apology to the king. He refused saying he would apologize if they can prove he did something illegal. As he tried to explain how they attempted to rape him, the security forces forcefully removed him from the court room. He later on told his wife about what happened. Please continue reading here.
Update-12 May 2011
At the trial today, and despite statements that the hearing would be open to international observers, Brian Dooley from Human Rights first and A lawyer from Frontline Defenders were not allowed into the hearing of the 21 detainees on trial for 10 different charges. The security personnel threatened the woman from Frontline that they would remove her forcefully if she did not leave.
At the hearing, the lawyers complained that they did not have enough time with their clients and that the prison conditions were very bad. They also demanded the detainees be given more time to use the bathroom. The government lawyer said that was not necessary and the prisons were just fine. One of the lawyers asked the judge to release the detainees and that they would attend the trial, but the judge refused saying that the sentence if they were found guilty would be either death or life imprisonment, so bail was out of the question. During the hearing, AbdulHadi Alkhawaja told the judge that he feared for his life as he had been threatened by his jailers that they would kill him. After the hearing, all the families were allowed to see the detainees except Alkhawaja's family, who were told they would only see him if the lawyer from Frontline left. She did, but they did not allow the family to see him anyway.
Human Rights First on Alkhawaja: "When he was recovering from the operation they tortured him again," Torture and Unfair Trial of Protesters in Bahrain http://goo.gl/9fcMq
Human Rights Watch: "Activist Bears signs of Abuse": http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2011/05/10/bahrain-activist-bears-signs-abuse
The security also threatened all the families that if they speak to the lawyer from Frontline they will not be allowed to see the detainees.
Mohammed Jawad Parweez told his family he had been tortured and showed them marks on his arms and legs from long periods of being hanged.
Update- 9 May 2011
Bahraini authorities have announced that 21 people are to be put on trial. First session was on 8 May. Lawyers were informed less than 12 hours before the trial. This is an urgent call to send international observers, lawyers and human rights defenders as well as country officials to attend the hearing on 12 May 2011.
The announcement of the trial on the Bahrain News Agency:
Twenty-one suspects referred to National Safety Court
Manama, May 7 (BNA) Military Public Prosecutor at the BDF stated that the military prosecution had referred 21 suspects to the National Safety Court involved in the case of the terrorist organization related to the attempt to overthrow the government by force and in liaison with a terrorist organization working for a foreign country. The military public prosecutor had formed an investigation team for the case comprising several public prosecutors and 14 suspects were questioned.
Those questioned included Abdulwahab Hussain Ali, Ibrahim Sharif Abdulraheem Mossa, Hassan Ali Mushaima, Abdulhadi Al Khawaj, Abduljalil Abdullah Al Singas, Mohammed Habib Al Safaf, Saeed Mirza Ahmed, Abduljalil Mansoor Makki, Al Hurra Yousif Mohammed, Abdullah Isa Al Mahroos, Salah Hubail Al Khawaj, Mohammed Hassan Jawad and Mohammed Ali Ismael.
Meanwhile, the rest of the suspects were referred to the court in the same case in absentia due to them not being arrested yet warrants were sent for their arrest via the Interpol for those abroad. These included Akeel Ahmed Al Mafoodh, Ali Hassan Abdullah, Abdulghani Ali Khanjar, Saeed Abdulnabi Shehab, Abdulraoof Al Shayeb, Abbas Al Umran and Ali Hassan Mushaima.
Meanwhile, the military public prosecutor affirmed that the suspects are accused of the following:
1. Organising and managing a terrorist group for the overthrow and the change of the country's constitution and the royal rule in accordance with article (1,6) of the law no. 58 for 2006 related to the protection of society against terrorist acts. 2. The seeking and correspondence with a terrorist organization abroad working for a foreign country to conduct heinous acts against the Kingdom of Bahrain in accordance with article (122) of the criminal law for the 1976. 3. An attempt to overthrow and change the country's constitution and Royal rule by force in accordance with article (148) of the criminal law for 1976. 4. An attempt to incite and solicit the overthrow and change the country's constitution and Royal rule by force in accordance with article (160) of the criminal law for 1976. 5. The collection and providing of money for the terrorist group with the knowledge of its practices and terrorist activities in accordance with law related to money laundering and financing terrorism for the year 2001. 6. The obtaining of publications that contain content inciting the overthrow of the governing law in the country by force in accordance with article (161) of the same law. 7. Insult the army according to the article (216) of the same law. 8. Inciting publicly towards the hatred of the governing law of the country in accordance to article no (165) of the same law. 9. Broadcasting false news and rumours that caused the threatening of public security and inflecting damage to public interest in accordance to article (168) of the same law. 10. Inciting the hatred of a certain sect of people in accordance to article (172) of the same law. 11. Inciting incompliance with the law that is considered a crime in accordance with article (173) of the same law. 12. Organising and participating in rallies without the permission of the specialized body according to article (1,2,3,9,13) of the law related to meetings and processions for 2006.
The military public prosecutor affirmed that the military prosecution had maintained all the judiciary assurances for suspects arrested in accordance to the laws especially that related to contacting their relatives and enabling their attorneys to attend the questioning sessions.
There are several things worth mentioning. The people going on trial are of very diverse backgrounds and from different political societies and/or organizations. Some of these detainees were in detention during the beginning of the mass pro-democracy protests after they were arrested during the previous crackdown in August and then released in late February with amnesty from the King.
The way in which these arrests and detentions have been carried out have lacked the most basic of legal and human rights. The detainees were not allowed conversations with their lawyers, and those allowed to call their families, were allowed one phone call which would always be less than a minute after approximately 10 days of arrest. During those 10 days they were not allowed any type of contact with anyone. None were allowed to meet their families. Most of the arrests took place in night raids between 1 and 4am. No warrants were provided at the time of the arrest, many were beaten during the arrest, and we have received information from reliable sources that many were subjected to severe torture during their detention. None of the detention locations of these detainees were known. While there is a gag order on reporting on detainees, billboards across Bahrain declare their guilt.
Sign read "You are responsible for what happened to our safe Bahrain"
Billboard in Muharraq, with pictures of jailed Bahraini Shiite and Sunni opposition leaders with their names written below, right to left: Hassan Meshaima, Abdel Wahab Hussein, Mohamed Muqdad, Ibrahim Sharif, Abdel Jalil Singace and a question mark over a blurred picture depicting a Shiite cleric that reads beneath it "And others." At top, the sign reads: "Disease must be excised from the body of the nation," and at bottom: "We won't keep quiet after today about any mistakes or excesses by those whom abuse Bahrain and its people." (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)
In regards to the charges brought against the detainees that are based upon articles of Bahrain Penal Code 1976, the law no. 58 for 2006 related to the protection of society against terrorist acts, law related to money laundering and financing terrorism for the year 2001 and the law related to meetings and processions for 2006, all of the accusations are expressed in a very vague and imprecise manner. In fact, the law that the allegations derive from is of a very ambiguous nature itself. This in practice allows the prosecution to decide its extensive interpretation and application. In accordance with the international standards, the prosecution would have to provide a very strong and unequivocal evidence in order to be successful as most of the alleged charges carry the sentence of life imprisonment. Moreover, one of the allegations based upon article 122 of the Penal Code 1976, that alleges spying and communicating on behalf of a foreign country against the State of Bahrain, if proven, will mandate a penalty as extreme as capital punishment. The lightest possible sentence for the detainees in this case is a prison sentence of no less than five years. This can only be in the situation if the accused is proven to be only guilty of one of the twelve of the allegations; namely joining any society which actions are deemed to be of a „terrorist" nature as defined in Article 1 of the law no. 58 for 2006 related to the protection of society against terrorist acts.
Updates on the first session on 8 May 2011
The hearing was adjourned until Thursday, 12th May. The detainees were brought in all wearing the same outfit, grey clothes that covered the arms and legs despite the increasingly warm weather in Bahrain. They all appeared to have lost weight during their time in detention. Mr. Mohammed Hassan Jawad Parweez had lost all hearing ability. At the time of his detention he was hard of hearing and used a device to hear. At the hearing he could not hear at all and did not respond when his name was called by the judge until he was nudged by the detainee standing next to him. Abdulhadi Alkhawaja had the most obvious wounds and injuries on him. He had stitches under his left eye and the left side of his face was swollen. At the end of the hearing as the judge was bringing the hearing to a close the detainees demanded they be given a chance to speak as they said they were being kept in solitary confinement and wanted a guarantee that the ongoing and continuous torture would be stopped. The security forces started shouting at them and removed them from the court room.
The families of the detainees were able to speak to them for approximately 10 minutes. Some of the families were not present as they had not been informed of the hearing. Despite it being broadcasted in local newspapers that families had been informed of the trial, all families at the hearing confirmed they knew only because they were following the news the night before.
Ebrahim Sharif told his family that he was not aware of the charges against him until the time of the hearing.He seemed to have lost approximately 15 kilos due to ill treatment.
Mr. Alkhawaja's family were able to confirm today, after meeting with him briefly after the court session, that he had sustained 4 fractures to the left side of his face, including one in his jaw. He consequently had to undergo a major 4 hour surgery where they had to take bone from his skull to replace the broken bones in his face. He also had stitches above his left eye. They say that as a result of this he can barely eat and cannot smile due to the pain. The healing process has been slow because he had been on a hunger strike because he did not have a lawyer.Again, I urge all parties to send international observers to the next hearing on Thursday.
- HRW: Bahrain: Stop Military Court Travesty of Justice
- Amnesty International: Bahrain activists jailed following 'politically motivated' trials
- Amnesty - Bahrain: Harassment of human rights defenders must end
- Amnesty - Bahraini opposition figures face unfair trial
- Amnesty - Trial of Bahraini opposition activists adjourned as observers barred
- Amnesty - Bahrain: Further information: Further arrests of activists and doctors
- Amnesty - Bahrain: Eight activists detained in Bahrain
- HRW - Bahrain: Activist Bears Signs of Abuse
- HRW - Bahrain: Free Prominent Opposition Activist
- HRW - Bahrain: New Arrests Target Doctors, Rights Activists
- HRW - Bahrain: Protest Leaders Arbitrarily Detained