Bahrain: Detainee Beaten, Now Confined to Wheelchair and Deprived From Medical Care Post-Surgery
10 Feb 2013 The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses concern over the torture allegations and the deprivation of required medical care to the detainee Habeeb Ayoub Al-Mughani who is currently in a wheel chair.
Arrest and Torture
Habeeb Ayoub Al-Mughani (23 years old) was arrested during a 3:00 AM raid on his house on 10 April 2012. Before this incident, the police raided his grandfather's house at Al-Eker Village looking for him and searched the house without presenting a warrant. They forced his uncle to escort them to Habeeb's house. Habeeb was arrested directly from his bed. He was blindfolded from the moment he entered the police jeep and was taken to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in Adliya. According to family, Habeeb was subjected to physiological and physical torture, he was handcuffed at all times.
The security officers asked Habeeb if he suffers from any health conditions, and he informed them that he had surgery on his left knee after he had a "cruciate ligament rupture" in 2009. They then focused on beating him particularly on his left knee, as he has told his family. The BCHR has documented several other similar torture techniques where the victim is beaten in the area of a previous injury, so that the forensic reports written by the official doctor (if any) can clear the torturers from causing any harm and blame all damages on the old injury.
Habeeb was forced to stand for 48 hours on one knee. He was beaten in places that are difficult to be identified in future, such as the head, thighs, and private areas.
For three days after his arrest, he was not allowed any contact with his family or lawyer, and he was deprived from the right of having a lawyer present during his interrogation. He was tortured and forced to sign papers without knowing their content.
Habeeb was blindfolded and taken to the public prosecution where he refused to confess the alleged crime of involvement in the Al-Eker explosions on the 9th April 2012 along with another 17 defendants who were arrested under similar circumstances. He was taken out to the hall where he was beaten and finally made to confess before he was taken back to the public prosecutor Ahmed Bucheeri. On the third day, Habeeb was taken to Al-Eekr village to re-enact the events.
Need for Surgery and Trial
Habeeb was then taken to the Dry Dock Prison. He had severe pain in his knee for which he received no medical treatment. The prison authorities took him to the prison clinic and he was given injections of an unknown substance; afterwards, his lawyer insisted that the authorities take him to the hospital. The doctor at the hospital told Habeeb that he will need an urgent surgery for his knee, but no surgery was scheduled.
On the 20th of November 2012, while in the courtroom where he was on trial, he was asked to stand in front of the judge, Habeeb fell down and started screaming of pain when he stood up, the judge was very upset and postponed the session. After that incident, Habeeb has not taken to attend his trial sessions. The judge in the case requested that Habeeb must be taken to the hospital but the police officers, took him to the prison instead.
On 9th of December 2012, Habeeb was taken to hospital for surgery and he was allowed to stay at Salmaniya hospital till 23rd December because of the severe pain he experienced. The doctor charged with is case requested that Habeeb must receive extensive physical therapy. Since Habeeb was discharged from hospital, he has not been taken to physical therapy despite the doctor’s orders. Habeeb has been in a wheelchair ever since the date of his surgery.
The note reads: "the patient suffered from an injury on his left knee on 2009 which caused his knee to have full Cruciate ligament rupture, and he again had an injury exactly the same place 9 months ago [April 2012], which required immediate surgical procedure and it is advised that he undergoes extensive physical therapy"
Habeeb is having troubles using the toilets in prison cells which are of "Arabic style/squat toilets " and he can't use them since he is on wheelchair and can't stand on his feet. He demanded to use the one used by prison officers, who have sitting toilet. Habeeb complains that many times he is forced to wait for a long time before he is taken to the toilet. Since his surgery, he requires certain diet and the food at prison is not suitable for his recovery.
Habeeb started a hunger strike to protest being deprived from medical care, he fainted on several occasions, and his sugar level dropped to very low levels, the "general inspector" at the prison visited him on 29th Jan and asked him to stop his hunger strike and promised him that he will be taken to the Salmaniya hospital the next day. Yet, he was not taken to the hospital. Habeeb escalated his protest by refusing to call his family and declined visitation until he is taken to the hospital. On the 7th of January, Habeeb was scheduled to have a medical appointment at 10:00 AM, but he was taken late at 12:00; his doctor was already gone.
Habeeb’s family has raised concerns over his mental condition and his health in general since he confined to a wheel chair at all times and is locked in one corner of the cell. They fear that he might get permanent damage and might never be able to walk in future since he was prevented from receiving physical therapy for two months. They are also worried that he is not getting the prescribed medicines ordered by the doctor. The BCHR has previously documented many similar cases of detainees who are in need of medical treatment, but are deprived from it in Bahrain’s prisons, including the political leader Hasan Mushaima, a former cancer patient www.bahrainrights.org/en/node/5614 , and Ahmed Al-Mugabi who suffers anal hemorrhage, bleeding hemorrhoids and infection www.bahrainrights.org/en/node/5519 and Mohamed Sahwan who is living with 80 birdshots in his head www.bahrainrights.org/en/node/5392 .
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights demands the following:
1. Provide Habeeb AlMaghani with the medical treatment required for his case, as well as all other detainees in Bahrain’s prisons who need medical care. 2. Investigate allegations of torture of Habeeb AlMaghani and bring those who are responsible to justice. 3. For the authorities in Bahrain to commit to international conventions which they have ratified, especially the rights of prisoners to receive full medical care. 4. The release of Habeeb AlMaghani and others convicted in the case where the judgment is only based on confessions extracted under torture, which is internationally prohibited.