Bahrain: Concern over the fate of Jaafar Sheikh, victim of enforced disappearance in Jordan
Bahrain Centre for Human Rights expresses its concern over the fate of Jaafar Jasim al-Sheikh, a Bahraini victim of enforced disappearance in Jordan. He is a student at Yarmouk University, and was arrested over 15 days ago – no information as to his location and health.
According to information BCHR has obtained, the Jordanian security services arrested Jaafar al-Sheikh with four of his friends living in Bahrain on 19 February 2015. They confiscated his electronic equipment, according to his relatives. The detainees were released on 24 February 2015, apart from Jaafar who remains detained. The detainees were asked about Jaafar’s activities and about whether he had received weapons training in Iraq. They were also asked about al-Sheikh Ali Salman, director general of the Islamic Wefaq Organisation, who is currently detained in Bahrain. In addition, they were questioned about a number of people who are wanted in Jordan.
Jaafar al-Sheikh’s family contacted the Bahraini embassy in Jordan as well as the Bahraini Foreign Ministry about the fate of their relative, but they did not receive a reply. Jaafar al-Sheikh had previously been detained for a month by the Bahraini authorities in August 2013, and was sentenced to 6 months in prison on charges of unlawful assembly. The sentence was handed down after he had left Bahrain to study at university in Jordan.
BCHR expresses its extreme concern for the safety of the detainee Jaafar al-Sheikh, who has not been allowed to contact his family or a lawyer. The location of his detention is not known exactly.
It is unclear whether the arrest was carried out at the request of the Bahraini authorities. It would not be the first time that the Bahraini authorities pursued opposition activists by taking advantage of the transnational security space. They have previously supplied the international police with incorrect information – Sadeq al-Shaabi was subject to forced disappearance and torture after Omani authorities handed him over to Bahrain. Similarly, Ali Haroun was beaten and tortured during and after his forced return from Thailand.
Based on the above, BCHR calls on the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Nations and the European Union, as well as all other close allies and relevant international organizations, to put pressure on the governments of Jordan and Bahrain to:
- Immediately disclose the fate of Jaafar al-Sheikh and allow him to contact his family and his lawyer.
- Free Jaafar al-Sheikh and all other detainees accused of charges to do with political activism for freedom and democracy immediately and without conditions.
- Put an immediate stop to the practice of forced disappearance, and sign up to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
- Put an immediate stop to the practice of using torture as a method of obtaining confessions, and provide guarantees of safety of detainees.
- Bring to justice all those connected to the practice of torture, including those in senior positions who ordered or supervised the torture.