30 Aug, 2014

Leading Human Rights Defender Maryam Al-Khawaja Detained Upon Arrival to Bahrain

--UPDATE--

The authorities have stated that Maryam Al-Khawaja will appear before a judge on the morning of 31 August 2014. No information has been provided regarding the charges against her.

--

The Bahrain Center for Human rights expresses its grave concern over the denial of entry to human rights defender and co-director of the Gulf Center for Human rights, Maryam al-Khawaja, to her native country Bahrain.

Maryam al-Khawaja decided to fly to Bahrain to visit her father, the detained human rights defender, Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja who began an open hunger strike on August, 26. Al-Khawaja's health has been rapidly deteriorating and there is urgent concern for his well-being. (Read more: http://bahrainrights.org/en/node/7013)

Upon the arrival to Bahrain airport hours earlier, Maryam al-Khawaja was told by security forces that she doesn't have Bahraini citizenship. Al-Khawaja's Danish passport was taken and she was told to close her mobile phone or it would be confiscated.

Maryam al-Khawaja sent us the below message:

"If this letter has gone public then it means that the Bahraini authorities have not let me into the country. Due to this, I have decided to launch a water-only hunger strike and to refuse to leave the Bahraini airport. I will continue the hunger strike until I am allowed in to Bahrain to see my father.
I want to make it clear that I refuse any and all food or treatment during my hunger strike.
Sincerely,
Maryam Al-Khawaja"

The BCHR calls on the Bahraini authorities to immediately allow Maryam al-Khawaja to access to her family and lawyer and allow her in her country Bahrain.

#انقذوا حسين #SaveHussain #البحرين #Bahrain

Nabeel Rajab discusses the continuing demonstrations in Bahrain

Nabeel Rajab

6 Jun, 2014

Bahrain: Urgent Appeal: Redha AlGhasra at Risk

Redha AlGhasra

The BCHR is alarmed by the news relayed by Redha AlGhasra's family that he is held in cell with an inmate who has Pulmonary Tuberculosis, which is highly infectious. This comes after AlGhasra has already been subjected to different types of harassment, ill-treatment and reported torture.

The family of Redha AlGhasra informed the BCHR that they visited AlGhasra yesterday, Thursday 05 June 2014, and informed them that an inmate who suffers from Pulmonary Tuberculosis has been placed with him in the cell. Since his arrest, Redha has been in been placed in solitary confinement in a medical isolation ward where he is constantly guarded by Special Forces commandos. He told his family during the visit on 25 May 2014 that he has not been allowed to shower, or obtain personal hygene products since being detained, despite an order from Officer Jassim Al-Mulla on 12 May 2014 that he be allowed to. AlGhasra was allowed to shave only because he refused to attend the visit unless he was permitted to do so. He was hadcuffed during the entire visit, and not been allowed to receive any money.

The BCHR Medical Consultant said:

"Tuberculosis (TB) is spread through the air from one person to another. The TB bacteria is released into the air when the person infected with the disease of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, speaks or sings. People in the vicinity may breathe in this bacteria and get infected. TB in correctional facilities is a public health concern. For example, approximately 4-6% of TB cases reported in the United States occur among people incarcerated at the time of the diagnosis. The incarcerated population contains a high proportion of people at greater risk for TB than the overall population. Without treatment, TB can be fatal. Untreated active disease typically affects lungs, but can spread to other parts of the body through the bloodstream."

The BCHR is especially concerned that should Redha AlGhasra be infected with TB, give the systematic denial of access to adequate medical treatment, the infection may be fatal.

Previous BCHR statement on Redha AlGhasra:

--Update 26/05/2014--

Yesterday, 25 May 2014, Redha Al-Ghasra’s family was able to visit Redha in prison for the second time since his arrest on 23 April 2014. Redha's family reported that they noticed several marks of torture on Redha's body. They stated that they could see bruising, scratches, and lacerations on his chest that appeared to have not been treated. Redha also reported that he had severe pain in his ear as a result of torture. 

Redha was brought to the family visit twenty minutes late. His hands and ankles were shackled and attached together, which did not allow him enough mobility to hold the phone without crouching. The family was not allowed any privacy: Redha and his family were both surrounded by four police officers and because they were separated by a thick glass barrier, they had to conduct their conversation through a phone. The family’s conversation was also broadcasted through speakers in the room.

Since his arrest, Redha has been in been placed in solitary confinement in a medical isolation ward where he is constantly guarded by Special Forces commandos. He told his family that he has not been allowed to shave, shower, or obtain personal hygene products since being detained, despite an order from Officer Jassim Al-Mulla on 12 May 2014 that he be allowed to.

Redha's sister stated that she had phoned the prison for three consecutive days prior to the family’s first visit, but a police officer reportedly told her that Redha refused to speak to them. During the family’s first visit on 15 May 2014, Redha reported that he had not been permitted to call or have visits.

The family also reported that they deposited money for use at the prison store into Redha’s account on 15 May 2014; however, yesterday the family was informed that the transfer was not completed.

----

 The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses grave concern in regards to the health and well-being of Hassan Sabah Al-BanaaRedha Al-Ghasra, and seven others (listed below) arrested by the Bahraini government on Wednesday, 23 April 2014. Al-Ghasra’s family informed the BCHR that they received a seconds long phone call in which Al-Ghasra was only able to say hello and that he was fine before the line was cut; a member of family reported that Al-Ghasra’s voice sounded very weak. The BCHR has documented a pattern of these types of telephone calls as a common practice during episodes in which the detainees report that they are subjected to torture.

The family protested outside the Criminal Investigations Department on the day of his arrest. Officers outside the building threatened the family, stating that if any pictures of their protest in front of the CID is broadcast, Al-Ghasra will not be allowed to contact them. The photo below, of Al-Ghasra’s mother, is included at the specific request of the family.

Al-Banaa and Al-Ghasra reportedly escaped from Jaw Central Prison at three o’clock in the morning on Tuesday, 22 April. While serving his prison sentence, Al-Ghasra was reportedly denied rights allocated to other prisoners. He had his hands and feet chained, and was not allowed access to books nor able to purchase supplies from the prison store. During his entire imprisonment period, Al-Ghasra was either in solitary confinement or in a locked cell with two criminal prisoners in a three meter by two and a half meter cell, and not allowed to go outdoors or interact with other political prisoners.

Given the previously documented force used against Al-Ghasra, and the pattern of arrests and subsequent systematic torture documented by the BCHR, the BCHR believes he is at serious risk f