Urgent Appeal: 16-Year-Old Children Reportedly Beaten in Prison then Moved to Solitary Confinement
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses grave concern over the alleged torture of children in Bahrain’s Jaw prison at the hands of prison guards. Jehad Sadeq and Mustafa Al Muqdad are reportedly two of at least 8 youth the detained president of the BCHR, Nabeel Rajab, reported witnessing their torture.
On the 14 of May 2013, Nabeel Rajab, the president of BCHR, stated in a telephone call from jail that he witnessed the torture of young political prisoners by the guards in Jaw prison and asked his wife to request that the ICRC visit him so he can report what he saw. That night he was removed from his cell (Read: www.bahrainrights.org/en/node/6121).
Further reports from Bahrain’s Jaw prison identified some of the youth that were reportedly tortured that day, amongst them two children, Jehad Sadeq and Mustafa Al Muqdad. To conceal what had happened, they were removed from their cells and put in solitary confinement. Their family reported that they have not received any calls from their sons for more than a week now. Jehad did not attend his scheduled appeal hearing on the 21st of May 2013.
Jehad Sadeq, 16 years old, has been detained for approximately 10 months now. He was arrested on 23rd July 2012 and was subjected to enforced disappearance; his family did not know his whereabouts for up to 48 hours. Jehad was reportedly beaten, cursed and insulted at the time of arrest. He was tried under the internationally criticized terrorism law and was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment last month based on confessions taken under duress (Read: www.bahrainrights.org/en/node/5701).
Mustafa Al Muqdad, 16 years old, was arrested on 19 May 2011 after a house raid at dawn. He was reportedly tortured for two weeks after his arrest. According to the testimony, he was beaten with a plastic cable, deprived from sleep for three days and was forced to stand for days. His lawyer requested a medical examination at court but was rejected. Mustafa was not allowed access to his family nor legal representation until his first court hearing on 21 June 2011 at the military court. In October 2011, he was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment at the National Safety court (vis-à-vis the Military court) which was later reduced to three years (Read: www.bahrainrights.org/en/node/4845). Both Mustafa and Jehad Sadeq are academically excellent students who have now been deprived from their studies because of their imprisonment on trumped up charges and bad prison conditions.
The BCHR and the families of the detainees are concerned over the wellbeing of Jehad Sadeq, Mustafa Al Muqdad and all the other detainees that were subjected to torture in Jaw prison. The Government of Bahrain is signatory to the Covenant of the Right of the Child and its actions are in direct violation of its articles, specifically article 37 that states that “(a) no child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Neither capital punishment not life imprisonment without possibility of release shall be imposed for offences committed by persons below eighteen years of age. (b) no child shall be deprived of his of her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily. The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be in conformity with the law and shall be used as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time.”
The Government of Bahrain continues to ignore the recommendations of the Committee of the Rights of the Child (CRC.C.BHR_.CO_.2-3.doc) which stated several times, most recently after the May 2011 review, the recommendation: “(b) raise the age of full criminal responsibility years and accord protection of juvenile justice to al children below 18 years and over the newly established minimum age. (d) ensure that al cases of children in conflict with the law are treated by specialized judges, in specialized courts.”
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls on the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Nations and other close allies and international institutions to put pressure on the government of Bahrain to:
- Immediately release Jehad Sadeq, Mustafa Al Muqdad and all other political prisoners
- Put an end to the practice of systematic torture of prisoners
- Form an independent committee to look into all allegations of torture and ill treatment
- Hold those responsible for torture and ill-treatment in prisons accountable, including officials in higher positions
- Allow Jehad, Mustafa and all other prisoners to contact their families
- Reform the judiciary system to that it adheres to the international standards of fair and independent trials
- Allow immediate access to the ICRC to the prison to meet with human rights defender Nabeel Rajab who witnessed the incident