23 October, 2017: Bahrain freed two female activists, Ms. Ebtisam Al Saegh and Ms. Rawan Sangoor, as well as activists Mr Radhi al-Qatari and Mohamed al Shakoori, all jailed under the new anti-terrorism law and victims of torture and ill-treatment during their detention.

Ebtisam Al Saegh, who works for Salam for Democracy and Human Rights has been detained since July 4, 2017. She was brought to Isa Town women’s prison where she was interrogated for long hours, tortured and sexually abused by two officers of the National Security Agency. On July 18, UN experts urged Bahrain to investigate reports of torture and ill-treatment of Ms. Al Saegh and to release her. Ms. Al Saegh described as well daily harassment and humiliation by prison officials at Isa Town’s prison since the beginning of her detention, a move that can be seen as a form of reprisal against Ms. Al Saegh for being outspoken about her abuse. Blogger Rawan Sangoori was arrested on the 23th of September and moved to Isa Town’s prison for cooperating with the International Committee of the Red Cross in order to secure a more humane treatment for her tortured brother Ali Sangoor who has been sentenced to 15 years in prison. 

“The release of Ms. Al Saegh and others after months of abuses is a positive news, but the authorities should seriously investigate the reports of torture and drop all the charges against them” said BCHR today. “The continued persecution of human rights activists inside the country and their detention on terorism charges pose a serious threat to all human rights monitoring and reporting in Bahrain at a time when abuses are growing in the country” BCHR added. 

The authorities should ensure that the prison and security officials who violated Ms. Al Saegh’s rights are held accountable and should also immediately and unconditionally release all other peaceful activists, including Nabeel Rajab, BCHR President, whose trial has been marred by serious due process violations.