Bahrain: 16-year-old boy latest reported victim of ongoing practice of enforced disappearance
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) expresses grave concern over the ongoing practice of violent arrests and enforced disappearances of people arbitrarily arrested, especially children.
On the night of 13 April 2015, Ahmed Abdulla Al-Arab (16 years old) was arrested by security men in civilian clothes after they chased him on the road in the village of Bani Jamra. Witnesses told his mother that the arrest was accompanied by sounds of shooting and they heard the screams of Al-Arab, causing fear that he might have been injured. Witnesses told his mother that he was put in the car boot and taken away.
His mother Fatima Haroun went immediately to the Budaya police station to ask about him, but the responsible officer there told her that her son was not there. She told BCHR that she recognized some of the security men who used to raid her house looking for Al-Arab, and when she asked them about her son one of them said to her: “We have taken him to his [detained] uncle and he will get a life sentence and you won’t see him again ever.”
She went to ask about him at the Criminal Investigation Directorate (CID) where she was given no information. She went to the ombudsman to file a complaint about her son’s enforced disappearance where she was told they can’t file anything as long as he is not officially detained. She also approached the National Institution for Human Rights for help. She was kept in the dark about the whereabouts and well-being of her son up until the night of 17 April 2015 when the boy finally called for a few seconds to confirm that he was at the CID. Until the time of writing this report, the family still has no contact with him and they were not informed of his whereabouts or allowed a visit.
His mother told BCHR that Al-Arab has been wanted by the security forces since he was 14 years old, they have raided their house many times looking for him and she was threatened that they will kill him if they arrested him. Their last statement that he was taken to be with his uncle increases his mother’s fear, as her brother Ali Haroun has been reportedly tortured after he was deported from Thailand to Bahrain.
The family had no information on the charges against Al-Arab. His family was not presented a memo showing the charges or order of arrest or search warrant on any of the occasions where their house was raided and searched in an attempt to arrest the boy.
The BCHR has documented many cases where people report that they were subjected to torture and degrading treatment in the Criminal Investigation Directorate during period of enforce disappearance.
Based on the above, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls on the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Nations and all other relevant international associations and human rights organizations to apply pressure on the government of Bahrain to:
- Immediately release Ahmed Abdulla Al-Arab and all people who are arbitrarily arrested and detained in absence of legal proceedings and known charges;
- Immediately reveal full information on the whereabouts and wellbeing of Ahmed Abdulla Al-Arab and allow him direct contact with his family and lawyer, as well as medical care if needed;
- End the practice of enforced disappearance, and depriving arrested individuals of their right to a lawyer, and contacting their families;
- End the practice of torture as a means to extract confessions, and to provide guarantees for the safety and security of detainees; and
- Investigate all credible claims of torture, and hold accountable those found to be responsible for this practice, particularly the higher ranking individuals who ordered or supervised the practice.