Bahrain: Ongoing practice of torture of detainees, with the support of public prosecution
13 July 2012
The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) has confirmed, in its report back in November, torture cases committed by Ministry of Interior Officials. The BICI list of recommendations had action points to prevent such incidents. However, months after the report’s release, numerous torture cases have been documented by the Bahrain center for Human Rights (BCHR). The absence of accountability, the presence of a culture of impunity and the disregard of torture allegations by public prosecution are sources of grave concern for the BCHR. In the past month, many severe cases of torture committed by Bahrain’s security forces have been witnessed and documented by rights activists. Torture is practiced in official MOI detention centers, unofficial centers (e.g. municipal buildings) and upon arrest in the houses being raided and these are only some of the cases:
Syed Hashim Salman Juma, 18 years old, is one of many torture victims. Syed was arrested in June after riot police attacked Malkiya village. According to his testimony, he was taken to Karzakan village municipality building where he was beaten with batons. Police poured water on him and electrocuted him 7 times on his back. They even tried to set his hair on fire but fortunately they failed. After they were done, he was taken to a deserted farm and he was told to run.
On 14 June 2012, yet another peaceful protest was repressed by Bahrain’s regime forces in Aali village. A group of protesters took shelter in a house in the area to get away from excessive use of tear gas and shooting. When inside the house, security forces raided it. The protesters were beaten with batons and belts, kicked and punched. A 16 year old boy was in the house at the time. He gave his testimony to the BCHR. He was beaten and insulted for half an hour and then taken by police to a yard in the village where he was further tortured and beaten. He was threatened with rape and murder, if he did not collaborate with the police and worked as a spy for them. Human rights activists and witnesses stated that they’ve heard screams and ambulance sirens. A BCHR representative went to the house and saw blood traces all over it.
Yousif Al Ajami is one of the many cases of public prosecution ignoring the allegations made by torture victims. He was arrested on 8 June 2012 from his car near Abu Saiba roundabout along with his friends. They were all released later, apart from Yousif. His friend said that he was beaten with batons and kicked all over his body. On 10 June 2012, he was taken for public prosecution for investigation. He told the prosecutor about the torture he was subjected to in a yard in Abu Saiba and in the criminal investigation department (CID) building. In the CID he was deprived of sleep, food and not allowed to pray for at least 24 hours before interrogation. They poured water on him and put him facing an air conditioner. He was handcuffed at all times, threatened with rape and subjected to ruthless psychological torture by officer Mohammed Khalid Al Saidi. He has apparent marks of torture. His left foot was swollen as the police intentionally closed the car door on it. Yousif told the public prosecution that he was forced to confess and denied all accusations. He requested protection. However, he was tortured again when taken back to CID. Currently, he is in detention for 60 days for allegation of making and possessing explosives for terrorism purposes.
Yousif Al Ajami’s story of torture has become very common in Bahrain. Four families from Salhiya village had their sons arrested during house raids at dawn before the 10 of June. They told the BCHR that their sons told them during a visit that they were tortured and raped. They were stripped naked, sexually assaulted and raped. Many of them mentioned officer Isa Al Majali as their torturer. He forced them to sign confessions blindfolded. Adnan Al Mansi, one of the detainees, told the public prosecutor about the torture he went through during his detention and how he was forced to confess on things he did not do. His testimony was ignored and it was not even recorded.
Dozens of cases of torture were documented by the BCHR and other human rights activists. Recently, with the undeclared martial law, torture cases have increased with no regard for basic human rights. The legal system has been ignoring the allegations of torture. They go unrecorded and without investigated which has strengthened the culture of impunity in the system and led to an increase of the violation of human rights.
Bahrain Center for Human Rights demands: • The immediate intervention of the international community, human rights groups and the United Nations to put an end to the arbitrary arrests and brutal torture by Bahrain’s security forces • The immediate release of all prisoners of conscience • The investigation into claims of systematic torture • Revealing the identities and names of the national security and military officers responsible for torture, bringing them to justice and prosecuting them • The complete separation of the judiciary system from the executive power