Bahrain: Reports of Physical Torture and Sexual Assault of Detainees at the Criminal Investigations Department Continue
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses it deep concern for the continuous practice of torture in Bahrain as a means of extracting confessions, especially in the Criminal Investigation Department, while the policy of impunity is a factor of not holding its perpetrators accountable.
Sunday evening 2 February 2014, the security authorities arrested Mohammed Al-Sheikh and Mohammed Al-Oraibi (a photographer) upon their arrival at Bahrain International Airport when they were returning from a religious visit to the shrine of Sayeda Zaynab, daughter of Imam Ali bin Abu Talib, granddaughter of the Prophet (pbuh) in Syria. Their families were not able to find out the reason behind their arrest or any other information regarding their whereabouts for several days. They were also not admitted a lawyer.
Their families were able to visit them on 12 February 2014, and according to the information received, Mohammed Al-Sheikh stated that the was subjected to torture for five days in the Criminal Investigation Department, and sexual assault by inserting a wooden stick twice in his anus and electrocuting him more than once in all parts of his body including his testicles. He stated that the electrocution marks are still visible. He added that he lost consciousness for four hours the first time he was electrocuted, and was taken to hospital as a result of that; however he was still subjected to further torture by the use of electrocution after that. He was also tortured by using the Falaqa (hanging him from his legs) and hanging from his hands in a manner he described as the ‘scorpion’ where the hands are tied to the legs and then he is hung; he was also beaten with a rod and was subjected to kicks and hand slaps on the face. He was stripped off his clothes and cold water was poured on him in a cold temperature. He was forced to stand for hours while being blindfolded and handcuffed from behind.
Information was also received regarding Mohammed Al-Oraibi who was subjected to the same type of torture by using electrocution and sexual assault. Statements indicated that torture took place under the supervision of the officer Isa Al-Majali who had numerous torture complaints documented against him by the BCHR.
Their houses were also raided by masked civilians without showing a permit from the Public Prosecution. The charges against them are not clear; however, the Public Prosecution ordered their detention for 60 days pending investigation. It is feared that they get subjected to more torture during their detention period.
The BCHR condemns the continuation of systematic torture in the detention centers, which is a result of the policy of impunity obviously practiced by the Public Prosecution and judicial apparatuses in Bahrain, and at the highest governmental levels. The Prime Minister had visited the officer accused of torture, Mubarak bin Huwail, at his home and thanked him for his work. It is quite apparent that none of the recommendations related to holding the perpetrators of the human rights violations accountable and questioning them, with their varying roles and responsibilities, have been implemented, and which is one of recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry. Statements from detainees are still being received after transferring them from the torture center ‘the Criminal Investigations’ to the detention center regarding them facing torture by beating, electrocution, harassment and sexual assault.
Worth mentioning that the government of Bahrain had in fact called off an expected visit from the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, and which was supposed to take place in May 2013.
In light of the aforementioned, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls on the United States, United Kingdom, United Nations, European Union and the close allies and international institution to put pressure on the Bahraini Authorities in order to:
- Immediately and unconditionally release Mohammed Al-Sheikh and Mohammed Al-Oraibi and all the other detainees who have been arrested for politically motivated charges due to the current public movement for freedom and democracy;
- Provide medical treatment for Mohammed Al-Sheikh and Mohammed Al-Oraibi for the injuries they suffered as a result of the torture inflicted upon them;
- Put an immediate constrain to practicing torture as a means to extract confessions, and to provide guarantees for the safety and security of detainees;
- Question and hold accountable all those implicated in torture, specifically the higher ranking ones who ordered or supervised the practice of torture.