Testimony: Bahrain Formula 1 tortured employee: “In the chamber of Death, I fainted”
22 Jan 2012
The following testimony is for an employee in Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) - the host of Formula1 in Bahrain-, who was tortured behind the offices of (BIC) on 7 April 2011, before getting arrested and tortured even more at the detention centres, along with another 25 other employees. The occurrence of torture has been confirmed by multiple reports including Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, which was appointed by the king. However, many of those involved in torturing, including the ones mentioned in this testimony are still free without accountability. Even after exposing this testimony over Twitter, the victim of torture has received threats for doing so. BCHR keeps identity of the employee private.
The employee’s testimony:
7 April 2011 - I was attacked while I was working at my office. When a group of security officers crushed into my office, appointed the weapon to my head and dragged me, even more they insulted and cursed me, I was in extreme shock. I did not know what is happening and why it is happening. I asked Mr. Bushara Abdo Bushara, BIC Security Manager, what was happening, but the latter slapped me and insulted my mother's honour with the ugliest and dirtiest words. They put me on the ground, handcuffed me and beaten me severely. One of the intelligence put his foot on my face with the full weight of his body until I felt that my breath would go away. Moreover, they dragged me on ground next to the elevator, cursing and asking me wired and vulgar questions like “How many times did I have sex in roundabout”.
After that, they took me to an isolated room, as soon as I arrived there a Pakistani officer slapped me and insulted me. Few minutes later, the officer came with a picture of my daughter saying “Is this your baby girl?” He started laughing hysterically and said that I would never see her again as I was sentenced to death. I was bleeding nearly for two hours. Then, I was pulled, beaten, insulted, kicked and thrown in a bus full of the other staff, who were not in a better condition.
We, the staff of formula1, have faced many insults, verbal abuse and torturing in our way to Riffa Police Station. When we arrived, a police woman laughed and asked the officer how many sheep do they had this time, and He replied “25 sheep and one goat!” They kept us all in one room blindfolded and asked us to face the wall, that’s when they started beaten us brutally. I was hearing my colleagues screaming as they were subjected to electrical shocks. Later, I reached the maximum, I was in severe pain and I screamed "give me a pen and paper. I will sign and write whatever you want of charges, just stop!”
I didn't feel my hands as they were handcuffed to my wrist so tight, preventing the blood to reach the veins. I received blows by whips and batons all over my body and my hands. Torture continued for long hours in that room, the room of Formula1 staff. Furthermore, we asked for water, they responded to us with whips and water mains, and replied "You do not deserve even water and will not drink any drop”. By then, they dragged me into a room called the Chamber of "Death". The corridor leading to that room was full of officers who enjoyed beaten me with all tools that come to mind!!
In the chamber of "Death", I fainted, but the doctor of Ministry of interior asked them to continue as there is nothing wrong with me. Torture was escalating in this room; I was bleeding severely until I reached a neurological status as my body started shivering although I do not suffer from epilepsy. I fainted again and to my surprise when I woke up I was surrounded by more than 20 people carrying different tools and started beaten me, I fainted repeatedly from the trauma, but they continued torturing me without humanity, until they thought I had died.
Torturers shouted at me about how much my salary is, and why do I receive higher salary than them. Whenever the salary of a staff was higher, the share of torture would increase. I lost the ability to walk for days because of the severe torture. Torture that lasted from nine in the morning until nine in the evening was capable of grabbing our soul. I was taken to investigation blindfolded and handcuffed; the investigator questioned me about organizing a party in celebration of cancelling the Formula1 in Bahrain, this was really awkward and I told the investigator how would I celebrate cancelling the source of my living, the staff and I worked the whole year for it! But the investigator continued asking me strange questions.
Then, I was forced to sign papers that I did not know its content. After investigation, they piled us on top of each other and we were bleeding. I remember that my blindfold fell down and I was able to see one of my colleagues, he nodded and smiled to me, and said that we will bear the injustice. Also, a manager lifted the head of an employee who was groaning out of pain to his lap. Suddenly, we were attacked with sharp instruments by mercenaries. They called me, but I was unable to stand, when one of the mercenary came and dragged my head and beaten it to the wall. My face, my hands and my legs were frighteningly swollen. Instead of helping, the police started laughing at us.
Later, I was taken to the cell and my clothes were torn. I could not walk, that is when another detainee tried to treat me and someone else donated some clothes. During our transferring from Riffa station to Dry Dock station, we exposed the worst. At that time, one of the staff was nearly dead after being struck forcefully on the rib cage and later they transferred him to the hospital. As for me, they asked me to breathe deeply and when I did, they started hitting me hardly on my stomach.
In Dry Dock, in the middle of the night, the mercenaries were attacking the cell, carrying their rods and their sharp tools. I could not stand the scenes, I faint whenever I saw them forcing others to be naked and sexually harassing them by getting their rods in sensitive areas of their bodies.
We spent several months in jail. Now, we are freed, it was a difficult period waiting for the trial. But the case was closed for lack of evidence.
To Mercedes and other F1 teams: As the Bahraini government continues to kill, injure and imprison peaceful protesters, we call on you to safeguard your reputation, and Formula 1's by agreeing not to race in Bahrain this year. The Grand Prix should only return to Bahrain once it's released and compensated political prisoners and taken verifiable steps towards democracy.
also read BBC: Sacked Bahrain F1 staff stay out