Sports Journalist Faisal Hyat speaks of torture at Bahrain detention center
Extracts from the full story published on Bahrain Mirror
It was Thursday, 7th April 2011, at ten in the evening I received a phone call from the Noaim Police Station summoning me for questioning. I was not surprised, as I had been expecting the call for three days after my picture and name had been thrown in the TV programme “Exclusive Event” on Bahrain TV (BTV) channel.
At Noaim Police Station, I was received by a policeman in plainclothes who immediately blindfolded with a white cloth. He led me inside the station building. Then he ordered one of them to handcuff my hands from the front.
For a period of not less than ten minutes, words of cursing and swearing all that I received from a policeman of a Yemeni origin. They did not hesitate from saying the most venomous name calling to me, to my belief and to my sect: son of the Roundabout, Ravdi, Magi, Safavid, Iranian, son of Muta'a (temporary marriage) ... and other names that did not spare anyone of Shia origin, they said them everywhere excessively and none of them was prohibited from saying them.
With the barrage of curses and swearing, the policemen (because of their Yemeni origin) reminded me of a previous participation in the programme "Al-Majlis" on Al-Kass Qatari channel when I presented the idea of not assigning organising the Gulf Cup to Yemen but to Bahrain, that was accompanied with severe beating on my head and neck. Then they got the orders to move my handcuff to the back, they told me to forget that I was a media worker as I would not get a special treatment for that.
Amid the beatings and verbal abuse they were asking me questions unrelated to politics or participations in its activity, they focused on: "
- How much's your salary? - To whom do you refer in religious issues? - How could you say that Yemen should've n't organised the Gulf Cup? - How much are you paid by Al-Kass channel? - How can you say that it was the right of the player Mohammed Hubail not to join the team to Yemen? - Do you have a house? - How many children do you have? - Where does your wife work?"
An order was issued by a commander there to remove my shoes and throw me to the floor.
They immediately tied my hands to my feet in a position known as "The Shrimp". The detainee is dumped on his stomach, his face facing the floor and his feet and hands are tied together and raised upwards. For another period that was less than ten minutes, one of them thrashed my feet beating without pause. He was creative in beating me and took pleasure in hearing my cries of pain. I realised then how minutes turned into non-passing hours. I felt that blood had frozen in my limbs.
Then the executioner ordered the policemen to take me to another place, saying: "Take him to walk". I realised that it was below the police station stairs. The aim of allowing me to walk was to allow the blood to flow in my frozen feet. I was not able to stomp on my feet for the severe pain, but I knew I had to move them otherwise I would suffer a health problem. It was like walking on crushed glass strewn on the floor.
I remained lying on the floor below the stairs for around ten minutes, no sooner the blood had circulated in my joints than they dragged me again to the torture chamber. The policeman ordered me to keep silent. He took me to a chamber where one of the detainees being questioned. I knew later, it was Ala Al-Halwachi Head of Volleyball Department in Al-Ahli club. He was asked if he had seen me in athletes' rally. I heard him say: "I saw the picture that was shown on TV".
The Writing Hand
They dragged me to the torture room again, and there they resumed beating me on my feet by a hose. Then the executioner asked me: "Which hand you write with?". I said to myself: "I won't sacrifice one hand, so my both hands should share what will strike them of punishment for the act of writing". I replied: "I write with both hands". He rushed beating both of them until I felt that I had lost feeling my hands. During that he was insulting and cursing me.
Then he ordered me to stand facing the wall while I was blindfolded and handcuffed. I did not know specifically how much time went while I was standing amid the swelling of my feet and my hands handcuffed to the back. It seemed that my situation turned around the sympathy of one of them who brought me a glass of water, and told me that I spent almost three complete hours standing. They took me to the reception counter of the police sation where the blindfold was lifted off my eyes, and presented a statement to sign, I signed, and then was taken to the detention chamber, where I spent my first night.
My First Daytime
The night was slow in the detention chamber. Sleep was elusive amid the detainees' screams who were being tortured in the adjacent chambers. I was blindfolded all the time, and still suffered severe pains in my hands and my feet soles after the night beatings. I was unable to move them neither lifting them off the floor.
At the noon prayers time, I asked a policeman to point me to Mecca direction. He pointed me to the opposite direction. It was an issue I knew after a new detainee had been brought to the detention chamber. I prayed hastily and in fear.
In minutes, some one came calling for me. I was dragged handcuffed and blindfolded to the torture chamber. As soon as I entered, four to five people jumped on me beating me severely. I was able to determine their number of their voices. They hit me with whatever they had: hoses, electrical cables, punches on various parts of my body and boots kicks. Everyone was hitting me at the same time. There was no breath between the hit and the following one, they were combined hits that you felt that you had no room to breathe. Everyone swore, cursed, insulted and dishonoured my religious belief.
Who gets out?
I was screaming strongly for the severe beating. I begged them to stop beating me: "I'm dying, please, I can't bear more". Their reply was ready: "You'll die here, don't rush your fate". They ordered me to say the slogan written on the placard that I had held in the journalists' rally. I said: "Free, Free Press" and I stopped. They even beat me more, and said: "Go on, what was after Free, Free Press?", I did not reply. They beat me even more. I screamed confessing: "... get out". I pronounced the senior official's name whose name I would not disclose now. Their beatings even grew more brutal and said to me: "Now you'll know who gets out".
I did not know for how much time I was in the torture chamber. They sent me back to the detention chamber. I threw my collapsing body, not believing what was going on to me, feeling that I was in a dark tunnel without any glimmer of light. They brought the lunch meal. I was unable to eat anything as I was in panic and horror of my ordeal and of what I heard of the detainees' screams in the adjacent chambr.
After half an hour they called me again. I was completely collapsed, my feet were unable to carry my body neither was my body able to make my feet move. One of the policemen dragged me to the same chamber. It was the same chamber, I knew it of the distance of the way, from the number of steps, that way I sensed my arrival to it, and said to myself: "My God, back to you once again!!".
As soon as I stepped in, they assaulted me: punching, then beating by hoses, then by fists, then kicks. The executioners were careful not to harm my face, as it was the most prominent part and more scandalous. I got strong slaps on the face by their hands, no fists, but a stray punch hit my nose and caused me severe bleeding that forced them to stop and send me to the detention chamber.
On my way to the detention chamber, across corridors among chambers, I was subjected to explicit sexual harassment by a policeman. He lowered my pants and expressed his unrestrained desire to assault me sexually. I was about to faint and fall headlong after hearing what he had said. I entered into a fit of hysteric crying and pleaded him: "I'm a father and have children, please, don't do that to me, torture me as you wish, but I plead to you with the most precious things you have not to do that". That took place when we passed by the detention chamber. I knew later that we had been in the Police Station courtyard at the entrance. The event was meant to humiliate me deliberately in front of those who were present for taking revenge watching me as a humiliated detainee without dignity, there was no respect to my humanity that was violated among the policemen's laughter. After that the one with the same voice pulled up my pants and made me face the wall, then he started with the others to grope my body parts and was keen to press the front part of his body to the back side of my body.
* Faisal Hyat was released in the early dawn hours of Wednesday 29 June 2011 along with the other athletes.
Read the full account of Faisay Hyat detention and torture on Bahrain Mirror Site: