Khalil Al Madhoon: A Tortured Artist in the Prisons of the Capital of Culture 2012 – Bahrain
Khalil Ebrahim AlMadhoon
Age: 25 years Marital Status: Married Degree: Bachelor of Art Education 2010, Helwan University (Egypt) – GPA: Very good Job: Director of decoration at a construction company Art field: Calligrapher and wood art Awards: Several local and international. List of Awards included at the bottom of the page. Detention: Detained since 23 March 2011 Sentenced by martial court: 15 years in prison Khalil AlMadhoon is a Bahraini artist who is one of very few artists in Bahrain who use wood as a medium in their artwork. He also uses Arabic calligraphy in his pieces and has mastered the art of murals. Nowadays however, Khalil is a political detainee who has been sentenced to 15 years imprisonment by military court for daring to dream of democracy and freedom and manifesting these dreams in his artwork.
Revolution’s dream: an artwork of “I’m a sacrifice for my country”
After 15 March 2011, following the entry of Saudi troops into Bahrain and the fierce attack on Pearl Roundabout, Khalil had one goal. His goal was to complete a piece of artwork which he had drawn in his imagination for weeks and finally had time to work on. He spent several nights working on what he believed represented the dream of every Bahraini. This painting has a background of the revolution’s icon of freedom, the demolished “Lulu Monument” (pearl roundabout) with a man holding the Bahraini flag and Arabic calligraphy stating “Ana Fida Watani – I’m a sacrifice for my country”.
Arrest and torture
Every pro-democracy protester expected to be arrested following the entry of Saudi troops after the declaration of a state of emergency. Many people were being targeted for their political beliefs of opposition to the government. Khalil knew he would most probably get arrested at some point. He slept every night with worries and concerns, but not for long. On the dawn of 23rd March, his house was raided. He was arrested alongside three of his brothers: Hamid (27 years old), Taher (18 years old) and Jihad (15 years old) and several of his cousins. They were all beaten before being taken away. Khalil was first taken to the detention center of Al Qala’ah (Ministry of Interior HQ) next to Al Noaim police station, then to Qudhaibiya police station and finally to the Dry Dock detention center in ward 8 which falls under control of the National Security Apparatus. Khalil was subjected to torture and ill-treatment at every detention center he was sent to. He was admitted to the military hospital in March for about a week, to be then moved to the military prison, Al Qurain prison. Marks of torture are still visible on his nose, chin and hands. Khalil and his older brother Hamid, along with 8 other political detainees were tried at the military court with charges of kidnapping a policeman. Despite torture allegations and the testimonies of defence witnesses, Khalil and the others were sentenced to 20 years in jail on 19 May 2011 . Their appeal was also held at the military court. On 22 June 2011, the sentence was reduced to 15 years imprisonment. It has been seven months since Khalil was moved to the central prison (Jaw prison) after receiving the sentence. He is still being subjected to ill-treatment. Prison administration is putting restriction on Khalil’s communication with his family. An artist like him, forced to spend more than 20 hours at his cell, not being allowed to participate in any of the prison's workshops. It was reported that in October he was put in solitary confinement for a week after a phone call to his father. (See BCHR detailed report on ill-treatment of prisoners at Jaw) The main reason behind Khalil being subjected to arrest and detention could be the activities of his father, Mr Ebrahim AlMadhoon, a political activist working with the opposition who actively speaks to the media about events in Bahrain and criticizes the regime. He resides outside of Bahrain since last March and is facing a trial in absentia. Mr. Ebrahim Al Madhoon’s all four sons have been arrested and have been either sentenced or are facing trials. Hamid (27 year old) has been sentenced to 15 years in jail in the same case as Khalil. Taher (18 years old) and Jihad (15 years old) are on trial in a different case. BCHR has documented several cases of targeting relatives of activists. Dozens of international human rights organizations and activists have condemned the injustice applied by the military court in Bahrain. The latest published report by the Bahraini NGOs and the report by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry have once again confirmed the horrifying abuses committed against detainees including torture to force confessions and lack of due process during trials. The continued detention and violation of rights to artists like Al Madhoon comes at a time when the international community supports the Bahraini regime in a campaign of masking the truth and reality of the status of freedom and democracy on the ground in Bahrain. Bahrain has been selected as the Arab Capital of Culture 2012 and its membership at the UNESCO International Bureau of Education has been accepted. These steps from the international community is a clear support for the Bahraini regime to continue using violence and force to repress its people for exercising their right to freedom of expression. It is a message that arrests, torture and killing are allowed and welcomed rather than condemned. Therefore, BCHR calls for the government of Bahrain and all responsible parties to act urgently to guarantee the release of Khalil AlMadhoon and all prisoners of conscience who have been victims of many human rights abuses. BCHR calls the international community to show its condemnation to the largely confirmed violations of human rights in Bahrain, and to stop supporting a regime that is not showing any respect to its obligation towards the conventions and treaties which it has signed regarding the protection of human rights.
Khalil AlMadhoon's awards:
- Ministry of Information, Bahrain, 2006, for participating in the carnival of “peace caravan from the land of peace” in celebration of 60 years since establishment of the Arab league in Cairo. - 3rd position on Communication and Art Contest, under Sculpture category, University of Helwan, Egypt, 2010. - 2nd distinguished art work award, from the Bahrain Student Clubs, General Organization of Youth and Sport (Bahrain). - Award of excellence, Cairo Bahrain Student club, General Organization of Youth and Sport (Bahrain). Click on photo to enlarge:
Selection of Khalil's artworks
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