Vast violations related to protests in Daih and Sanabis on January 19th [1]

Use of excessive force by special police leading to casualties and damages Random Arrests and incommunicado detention Risk of unfair trial and imprisonment for up to 10 years Confessions obtained through coercion Bias and misinformation by the media Violation of the right to freedom of gathering

2 January 2006 Ref: 02010606

The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) is gravely concerned for the health condition and fate of nine Bahrainis suspected of involvement in protests on the 19th of January, who are being held in custody for two weeks pending investigation. BCHR was told by relatives that the detainees were severely beaten during arrest and were ill-treated during interrogations.

The detainees were arrested in connection with an “Unauthorized” demonstration which was dispersed by force by the special-police- force in the Sanabis-Daih area on the Western skirts of Manama (Details of the incident to follow).

In violation of International and national laws, all detainees were held incommunicado for at least three days, during which they were reportedly subjected to mistreatment and torture to give information on others and sign confessions. For two days, the relatives of most of the detainees remained uninformed of the arrest and the where about of their children. Up to date human right societies were denied access to the detainees.

A General Prosecution spokesman said to the local press that the defendants now face charges of staging an illegal rally involving more than five persons, violence and acts of sabotage compromising public security. According to an earlier statement issued by the Interior Ministry, they could face up to 10 years in jail [2].

Those held over in detention include:

  1. Abdulla Madan, 26 years, brother of activist detainee Abdulameer Madan, from Maameer
  2. Mohammed Abdulrasool, from Daih
  3. Sadeq Mohammed
  4. Jaffer Hussain Eid, 25 years, from Daih
  5. Jaffer Abduljabbar Jaffer Al- Mushaima, 24 years, from Daih
  6. Ahmed Yousif Mushaima, 26 years, from Daih
  7. Mohammed Hassan Saif, 24 years, from Manama
  8. Ali Jaffar Jassim Al-Rabee
  9. Mohammed Adel Al-Taranje- released on the 01/02/06

Four others who were released on 21 January revealed to BCHR how they were beaten and mistreated during arrest and interrogation before they were released due to “lack of evidence” (Attached summery of their testimonies).

Information and updating about the detainees:

Mr. Madan's brother, Jaffar, told the Gulf Daily News on the 22nd of January, that Abdulla was not taking part in Friday's demonstrations, but was in Daih visiting friends. The family have been to see Abdulla Madan since then, and report to have seen bruises and signs of beatings on his body; as related by his brother who visited him on the 28th of January, 2006.

Mother of Mohammed Saif told the BCHR on the 23rd of January that she has just been to visit her son, where she witnessed bruises and clear signs of beatings on his body in addition to stitches in the head that he claims was a result of the police brutality. She told the BCHR that her sons shirt was torn up when she met him and he conveyed to her that it had happened during the beating. He also told her that he had been subjected to beating during interrogation.

The Two Mushaima Cousins were arrested together on Thursday night, while they were on their way to meet their fiancées. Their families have been to see them since and report to have seen bruises and signs of beating on their face and the rest of their body.

Jaffar Hussain Eid has also been visited by his father on the 29th of January, and is reported to have a broken or fractured leg which has been gypsed. Mohammed Siaf’s mother related the same information to the BCHR after her last visit to her son.

Details of the events at Sanabis and Daih:

Trouble flared as a wall of riot police confronted marching demonstrators demanding the release of 21 people held in connection with clashes at Bahrain International Airport on December 25th [4]. Police opened fire with teargas and rubber bullets as a gang of youth started turning over large bins to build a barricade. Organizers tried to disperse the crowd of around 200 people, before the trouble escalated. Riot police crossed into the Daih area and fired teargas and rubber bullets into the small streets, causing residents - including small children playing outside - to rush into their homes. Youth then spread out through the Sanabis and Jidhafs area, setting fire to rubbish bins and screaming, "Come and get us". Helicopters and riot police convoys continued to patrol the area for at least an hour and a half after the demonstration ended [3].

A Human Rights activist attending the demonstration, Abdel-Mohsen Habib Al-Muqdad, 46 years, member of “Committee of Relatives of Detainees” was hit by a rubber bullet in the back and was treated in the Salmaniya Medical Complex. He told BCHR that his car and seven other cars were reportedly damaged by the police. He, and other owners of the cars, failed to report the damage the next day, because the officer refused to fill in a complaint against security.

Two other men, Isa Mansour Mohammed, aged 42, and Ali Hussain Al Hakim, 35, were treated at the Salmaniya Medical Complex. The men, from Hamad Town, claim that they were only in Daih to pick up food for their family when they were caught up in the incident. Mr. Al Hakim had to get stitches to his head while Mr. Mohammed was treated for injuries to his face and back [5].

As well as in previous incidents, media coverage of the violations was subjective and biased, based primarily upon information obtained from the authorities. And as some local newspapers reporters conveyed to the BCHR, there are orders from the authorities to censor and desist from writing any information related to the cases of the detainees.

Attachment:

Four Youth Tell the Story of their Arrest

Violations and Beating of Youth by Security Forces

A Report By: Bahrain Center for Human Rights, 29/01/06

Four of the thirteen detainees arrested on Thursday the 19th of January, following a demonstration calling for the release of the “Airport Incident” prisoners, were released on Saturday January 21st. Sayed Sharaf Sayed Kadhem Alderazi, 20 years, Sadiq Mirza Jassim, 25 years and Hussain Abdulwahid Shehab, 18 years, met with the BCHR and made statement of the violations and beatings they were subjected to. The fourth person released, “Ali Sadiq” from the UAE, who was visiting Bahrain over the weekend was unable to make a statement at the time.

The four youth were in their car heading to Bahrain Mall when they saw small fires in Sanabis area. They saw special forces, with blue-green dress, wearing black masks beating some youth. They were suddenly attacked by a large number of riot police and were forcefully removed from the car and severely beaten. The driver, Sayed Sharaf, was dragged out of the window and the rest were taken out through the doors of the car.

The three complained of continued harassment and beating during their arrest and detention, vile language used by the security forces and refusal on the part of the authorities to establish contact with their families. They claimed that the treatment they received during interrogations was harsh; they were left in the cold with few dirty blankets, and were ordered not to talk during their stay. One claimed that he was beaten during interrogations and threatened with severe beating if he refused to talk. The youth state that they were handcuffed during most of their two days detention period and were continuously promised access to their parents only if they cooperated during interrogations.

One of those detained with them, as one of them states, Muhammed AbdulRasool was by far the one most seriously injured. He was only taken to the hospital after continuous attempts by the rest to group to pressure the police into treating him. He was finally taken on Friday after interrogations were completed. Mr. AbdulRasool was suffering from an inability to open his eyes, severe pain in his back and possibly his foot, which prevented him from lying down or sitting properly. Mr. AbdulRasool is still in custody, since his arrest on 19th January, and his medical condition is not yet known.

Upon meeting the three Youth the BCHR witnessed fading signs of beating. Mr. Sharaf’s eye still showed signs of swelling and marks on the head and, as he claims, back and knee. Hussain Shehab had signs of swelling on his face.

Personal testimony by one of the Youth:

“When we left the house I called Sadiq and Ali Sadiq “Emarati national” was with me. We left the house, and I told Hussain that I would go and pick him up to go to the Bahrain mall. We saw fires as we entered the roundabout before the Bahrain mall. I said I will first go to Al-Helli. I saw a lot of guys who were getting beaten. The attackers were all masked. The officers riot police wore green and blue clothing. They started hitting our car window. Each one of us was attacked by ten men and they beat each one. The Emarati guy kept shouting that he was Emarati. They threw Sadiq into the car. He was shouting but suddenly he stopped. I thought he had died. They stopped us by the wall with a bunch of other guys, we were around 13. A guy called Jaffar was with me in the jeep. Some of us got thrown in the jeep some in the bus. They put our sweaters over our heads to cover our eyes.

Mohammed AbdulRasool was with us when we were arrested. His eyes and legs were all hurt. He could not stand, sit, or walk properly. We told the police at the station that we were beaten they said it was not possible. They took us to a police station first, and then moved us by bus to interrogations. They refused to turn off the air conditioning when we asked them to at the station even though it was freezing cold.

We asked them once we reached interrogation to call our family but they said after the interrogation. The minute we reached interrogations, an officer of Yemeni Nationality called Isa, beat us.

We also got insulted and beaten in the jeep but when I told the interrogating officer he told us that it wasn’t possible. He refused to listen and they took our statements and we signed the papers then they took us to a freshly painted room (95) and it was very cold and the air-conditioning was on and they refused to turn it off. They gave us each a blanket and they refused to let us call our families.

I was also insulted in the jeep, where a member of the security force told me in a condescending manner: “they say you Baharna (Bahrainis) don’t feel” and he stepped on my hand. “I am Yemeni” he said to me “say welne’em (a word of praise)” and when I refused to answer he hit me with something (a helmet or a gun) on my head. He said “do you use perfume? I am Yemeni and my perfume is more expensive than yours you stinking Bahrani.”

After that, they put us in the room they told us that if we talk they would put us in solitary confinement. But after a while one of the guys with us started talking to us and said what can they do to us that is any worse than this? Then they let many commandoes into the room with us (60-70) all masked.

We were 13 in the room. They pointed out six among them Hussain, two from Ma’ameer, Jaffar, a guy from Daih, and Mohammed AbdelRasool. They wrote their names. After that they interrogated us again. He wrote our statement and told us at 4:00 that they will take us to the Public Prosecutions Office.

They wanted the Emarati guy’s passport. They took me out to give them the number. They pulled me out and made me wait until 4:00. We waited until around 6:00. They sent a woman to the Emarati guy and asked him what he wanted. He said I have to leave (go back to UAE). She said okay we’ll let you go, we’ll even take you to the airport even if the case is not closed. A guy called Fahad at interrogations had told him that they will not let him go back. He asked to see the Emarati guy to interrogate him personally. From the beginning he told them that he was Emarati and said he would not talk until he’s back in UAE.” (End of testimony)

Notes:

[1] For background information on the airport incident, kindly refer to the BCHR’s report dated 16th January, Ref:16010605. [2] The Gulf Daily News, 22 January, 2006 [3] [4] The Gulf Daily News, 20 January, 2006. [4] The Gulf Daily News, 22 January, 2006