Urgent: The health of former MP Osama al-Tamimi is deteriorating after being interrogated by the Ministry of Interior in Bahrain
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) expresses its concern about receiving information on the deterioration of the health of former parliamentarian Osama al-Tamimi. He started dialysis after his kidney has stopped functioning. That was after a noticeable deterioration of his health after being summoned and interrogated by the Ministry of Interior in Bahrain.
On Tuesday afternoon, 06 August 2019, police raided the house of former MP Osama al-Tamimi and arrested him arbitrarily after breaking his door and confiscating his personal phone. That happened in front of his family, who had no knowledge of the reason for his arrest. The forces that raided the house did not inform the family of the reason of the arrest, nor did they present a warrant.
Hours after the arrest of al-Tamimi, the Ministry of Interior published a statement in which it announced that the arrest of al-Tamimi came on the background of a case of fraud and forgery filed against him in court. However, after hours of interrogation, Tamimi suffered a relapse that necessitated his immediate transfer to the hospital. Doctors diagnosed his condition as a stroke, that made him lose his ability to move and speak normally.
Although al-Tamimi was not informed of his continued detention, especially as the police left the hospital after his family arrived, he was prevented from traveling when his family was trying to take him abroad for proper treatment. Since then, Tamimi is still undergoing treatment because of his deteriorating health. He started a new stage in dialysis after one of his kidneys stopped functionning.
Tamimi had been subjected to harassment before his last arrest, where he was summoned for investigation more than once. In June of this year, he and his family were targeted by the police. He had then to turn to the US Embassy to get him and his family safely out of Bahrain, but the embassy refused to do so. Al-Tamimi has previously spoken of being harassed and threatened by security agents at different times, and Amnesty International published in its statement on 8 August the details of the harassment of al-Tamimi.
In 2014, Tamimi was shot by unknown assailants before his membership in the Bahraini parliament was overthrown. That was after his repeated criticism of the performance of the prime minister and interior minister and his arrest for a year on charges of insulting a security man. Al-Tamimi's gym was hit by unidentified gunfire once and arson again without the Ministry of Interior reaching the unknown perpetrator.
BCHR fears that the arrest of al-Tamimi is in retaliation against him, given the previous campaigns of threats, prosecution and targeting because of a position against the ongoing human rights violations in Bahrain and demanding that those responsible be held accountable. In particular, the manner in which he was arrested highlighted the arbitrary use of power by the authorities, and which is contrary to the principles of human rights. His denial of travel for treatment abroad suggests a violation of the right to liberty of movement, as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights indicates.
Accordingly, BCHR calls on the Bahraini authorities to:
- Allow al-Tamimi to travel and receive appropriate treatment and ensure that it is not delayed or procrastinated so as not to experience new health relapses.
- Ensure that al-Tamimi is not summoned and prosecuted again.
BCHR also calls on all Bahraini allies to pressure the Government of Bahrain to:
- Ensure all human rights, especially those related to freedom of opinion and expression and freedom of movement.