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The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders: Urgent Appeal

Acts of physical and psychological torture perpetrated against Messrs. Abduljalil Al-Sengais and Abdulghani Ali Issa Al-Khanjar while in detention

1 September 2010

The Observatory has been informed by the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) about the acts of physical and psychological torture perpetrated against Messrs. Abduljalil Al-Sengais, Spokesperson and Director of the Human Rights Bureau of the Haq Movement for Civil Liberties and Democracy, and Abdulghani Ali Issa Al-Khanjar, Spokesperson of the National Committee for Martyrs and Victims of Torture (NCMVT), while in detention.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Bahrain.

On August 27, 2010, Mr. Abduljalil Al-Sengais appeared before the Public Prosecutor [1]. On August 29, Mr. Abdulghani Ali Issa Al-Khanjar also appeared before the Public Prosecutor. On that occasion, they denounced the cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment they were subjected to during their detention.

The Public Prosecutor charged them with “forming an illegal organisation with the objective of overthrowing the government and dissolving the constitution”, “forming an illegal organisation with the intention of overthrowing the basic system of the country”, “participating in the forming and organising and inciting to overthrow and change the political system of the country”, “forming an organisation that deals with collecting funds in an illegal manner”, “inciting and planning terrorist acts”, “inciting hatred and contempt against the regime”, “agreeing to and inciting others to damage public property and committing terrorist acts”, “spreading false information”, “inciting others in public methods to not abide by the laws”, “inciting hatred against a certain sect”, “inciting acts of burning, resisting authorities and demonstrating”, “contacting and working with international organisations”, and “receiving funds from international parties”.

The Public Prosecutor then extended their detention to an additional period of two months, but no information could be obtained regarding their place of detention as of issuing this urgent appeal.

Mr. Abduljalil Al-Sengais, who suffers from complete paralysis in one leg and partial paralysis in the other due to poliomyelitis, told the Public Prosecutor that he was held handcuffed and blindfolded in solitary confinement for more than two weeks. His wheelchair and crutches were confiscated, and he was forced to keep standing on his partially paralysed leg for two consecutive days. He was also prevented from sleeping by loud sounds played whenever he was about to fall asleep. Mr. Al-Sengais further reported that he was repeatedly beaten on his fingers with a rigid object and slapped on both ears. His nipples and earlobes were pulled with tongs and he was beaten in the back during the interrogation period in order to force him to sign papers of unknown content. The perpetrators moreover threatened to rape him as well as his female relatives. Mr. Al-Sengais almost lost his hearing ability and suffers from sever injuries in his back and other parts of his body.

On August 26, 2010, Mr. Abdulghani Ali Issa Al-Khanjar, together with other detainees, was reportedly transferred in a police ambulance from the Ministry of Interior’s Police Fort Clinic in Manama to an unknown destination, suspected to be the military hospital in Riffa. His whereabouts remained unknown until he appeared before the Public Prosecutor on August 29, 2010, and denounced the acts of torture he suffered while in detention. Mr. Al-Khanjar was forced to stand for two days, severely beaten and prevented from sleeping during five days.

On August 28, 2010, the Public Prosecutor ordered a ban on any publications related to the case of Mr. Abduljalil Al-Sengais and the other detainees as well as on torture allegations.

Furthermore, Mr. Jaffar Al-Hessabi, a Bahraini, human right activist involved in the fight against torture who has been living in the United Kingdom (UK) for 15 years and Mr. Mohammed Saeed, a board member of BCHR, who were respectively arrested on August 16 and 17, 2010, also remain detained incommunicado to date (see background information and Urgent Appeal BHR 004 / 0810 / OBS 101).

The Observatory calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Messrs. Abduljalil Al-Sengais, Abdulghani Ali Issa Al-Khanjar, Jaffar Al-Hessabi and Mohammed Saeed.

In addition, the Observatory strongly condemns the cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment that Messrs. Abduljalil Al-Sengais and Abdulghani Ali Issa Al-Khanjar were reportedly subjected to, which seems to only aim at sanctioning their human rights activities, and fears for their physical and psychological integrity. Therefore, the Observatory calls upon the Bahraini authorities to take prompt action in order to immediately and unconditionally release them, and to order an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the above-mentioned facts, in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before a competent and impartial tribunal and apply to them the penal sanctions provided by the law.

More generally, the Observatory urges the Bahraini authorities to ensure the ability of all human rights defenders and organisations in Bahrain to carry out their work without hindrances in accordance with the Bahraini legislation.

The Observatory also calls upon European Union (EU) embassies in Bahrain to attend all upcoming hearings in the above-mentioned cases, as well as to visit human rights defenders in jail, in line with the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders.

Background information:

On August 13, 2010, early in the morning, Mr. Abduljalil Al-Sengais was detained at Bahrain International Airport while he was returning from the UK with his family. On August 5, 2010, he had participated in a seminar on the situation of human rights in Bahrain at the House of Lords and had addressed the resurgence of torture, the increase of discrimination, the decline of public liberties and the deterioration of the environmental situation in the country. Mr. Al-Sengais had also visited several international human rights organisations during his stay in the UK.

On the same day, at around 5.30 pm, the Special Forces violently dispersed with tear-gas, sound bombs and rubber bullets a peaceful gathering set up in solidarity in front of Mr. Al-Sengais’ house, inflecting several injuries among the demonstrators.

At around 3 am on August 15, 2010, Mr. Abdulghani Ali Issa Al-Khanjar, was arrested at his home by the Security Forces. His computer and mobile phones was also confiscated.

Messrs. Abduljalil Al-Sengais, Abdulghani Ali Issa Al-Khanjar are accused of “forming an organised network aiming at weakening the security and the stability of the country” under the Anti-Terrorism Law and the Criminal Code. According to Government representatives, this network would be involved in “illegal practices and other acts that would harm the stability of the Kingdom of Bahrain and its civil peace”, and would have been calling for “violence and terrorist acts”. The Public Prosecutor’s Office reportedly issued a warrant to search Mr. Al-Sengais’ house and belongings and, as of issuing this Urgent Appeal investigations would be ongoing to “uncover the remaining members of the network”.

On August 16, at 11:30 pm, Mr. Jaffar Al-Hessabi was arrested at Bahrain International Airport, and on August 17 at 3 am, Mr. Mohammed Saeed was arrested at his home.

Sheikh Mohammed Al-Moqdad and Sheikh Saeed Al-Nori, together with Sheikh Mirza Al-Mahroos and Sheikh Abdulhadi Al-Mukhuder, also religious and political activists involved in peaceful protest actions for the release of political prisoners, have been arrested between August 15 and 17.

Actions requested:

The Observatory urges the authorities of Bahrain to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Messrs. Abduljalil Al-Sengais, Abdulghani Ali Issa Al-Khanjar, Jaffar Al-Hessabi and Mohammed Saeed, as well as of all human rights defenders in Bahrain;

ii. Carry out an immediate, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the above-mentioned allegations of torture and ill-treatment, the result of which must be made public, in order to bring all those responsible before a competent, independent and impartial tribunal and apply penal, civil and/or administrative sanctions as provided by law;

iii. Take prompt action in order to disclose the whereabouts of Messrs. Abduljalil Al- Sengais, Abdulghani Ali Issa Al-Khanjar, Jaffar Al-Hessabi and Mohammed Saeed and ensure their immediate and unconditionally release since their detention is arbitrary as it only aims at sanctioning their human rights activities;

iv. Put an end to any acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Messrs. Abduljalil Al-Sengais, Abdulghani Ali Issa Al-Khanjar, Jaffar Al-Hessabi and Mohammed Saeed, and against all human rights defenders in Bahrain;

v. Conform in any circumstances with the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted on December 9, 1998 by the United Nations General Assembly, in particular its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually or in association with others, to promote the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, and its Article 12.2 which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;

vi. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Bahrain.

Addresses:

· Cheikh Hamad bin Issa AL KHALIFA , King of Bahrain, Fax: +973 176 64 587 · Cheikh Khaled Bin Ahmad AL KHALIFA, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tel: +973 172 27 555; Fax : +973 172 12 6032 · Cheikh Khalid bin Ali AL KHALIFA, Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs, Tel: +973 175 31 333; Fax: +973 175 31 284 · Permanent Mission of Bahrain to the United Nations in Geneva, 1 chemin Jacques-Attenville, 1218 Grand-Saconnex, CP 39, 1292 Chambésy, Switzerland. Fax: + 41 22 758 96 50. Email: info@bahrain-mission.ch

Please also write to diplomatic representations of Bahrain in your respective countries.

------ Footnotes

[1] Article 27 and 28 of the Law n°58 on “Protecting the Society from Terrorist Acts” promulgated in August 2006 provides extended detention without judicial review, without charge, and based on secret evidence, for up to 15 days following an arrest.

HRW: Bahrain: Pursue Torture Allegations

Counterterrorism Charges Against Activists Follow Weeks of Incommunicado Detention

September 1, 2010

"Bahraini authorities should immediately investigate these allegations of torture and guarantee the physical and psychological well-being of the four men. The attorney general has a legal obligation to throw out any coerced confessions and any evidence obtained by ill-treatment, including information that led to the men's indictments." Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch

(Washington, DC) - Bahraini authorities should immediately look into allegations of torture by four opposition activists who had been held in incommunicado detention for more than two weeks, Human Rights Watch said today. In their formal interrogation sessions with prosecutors, the four contended that their captors had subjected them to torture and degrading treatment. Attorney General Ali Fadhul al-Buainain summoned Abd al-Jalil al-Singace for formal questioning and arraignment during the late evening of August 27 and early morning hours of August 28, 2010. According to people familiar with the proceedings, al-Singace, who had spent the previous 15 days in incommunicado detention, told al-Buainain of having been handcuffed and blindfolded the entire time. Al-Singace said that his captors beat him on his fingers with a hard instrument, slapped him around, and pulled and twisted his nipples and ears with tongs.

The next day, three other detainees arrested shortly after al-Singace complained of similar mistreatment at the hands of their captors during their Public Prosecution Office (PPO) proceedings.

"Bahraini authorities should immediately investigate these allegations of torture and guarantee the physical and psychological well-being of the four men," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "The attorney general has a legal obligation to throw out any coerced confessions and any evidence obtained by ill-treatment, including information that led to the men's indictments."

Prosecutors charged the four men with various national security and counterterrorism crimes and ordered another 60 days of detention.

Security forces took into al-Singace into custody at Bahrain International Airport on August 13, as he returned from London with his family. They arrested the three other activists, Abd-al Ghani al-Khanjar, Sheikh Said al-Nuri, and Sheikh Muhammad Habib al-Moqdad, on August 15. Both al-Singace and al-Khanjar had attended a conference at the House of Lords in London on August 5, during which they criticized Bahrain's human rights practices.

Security forces have reportedly made many additional arrests since then - at least 160, according to one lawyer. One was al-Singace's sister, Fakhria, who was arrested on August 24 after she held a banner in a shopping mall that read, "No one shall be subject to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile." Authorities released her the next day. Most or all of the other opposition activists, including people associated with human rights groups, remain in detention.

Bahraini criminal law requires the authorities to bring a detainee before prosecutors within 48 hours of an arrest, and to charge or release the person. A 2006 counterterrorism law allows for a 15-day administrative detention period before the person must be brought before a prosecutor, however. Those arrested in the latest round may face charges under this law.

On August 28 the state-run Bahrain News Agency quoted an unnamed National Security Agency source as saying that the arrests were "related to the network seeking to undermine national security both inside Bahrain and abroad and to damage the country's stability" and that al-Singace "led, alongside other people, sabotage cells that operated under their command" and "provided funds and financial support to the cells under various covers to carry out acts of terror."

Human Rights Watch contacted lawyers for al-Singace and the others, but the lawyers declined to comment on what had happened in the prosecution office, saying that authorities forbade them to discuss what happened there. The attorney general on August 26 also barred media coverage of the arrests and criminal cases. A public prosecution source who spoke to Gulf News said: "No details or hints about the investigations should be published, and violators of the gag will be imprisoned for up to one year or fined. The only exception is statements issued by the public prosecutor."

During the prosecution office proceedings, al-Singace reportedly complained about extensive beatings and degrading treatment during his detention, and requested medical attention. Sources familiar with the proceedings said that al-Singace told the attorney general of being kept in solitary confinement the whole time and was deprived of a shower, regular access to the bathroom, and sleep for long periods of time.

Al-Singace, who is partially paralyzed from polio and requires assistance to walk, said that authorities took his wheelchair and crutches away from him at the moment of arrest and forced him to crawl to and from his cell. He also alleged that his captors forced him to stand for long periods of time and that he was forced to sign papers that he did not have a chance to review while in custody.

Sources told Human Rights Watch that at their hearings before the public prosecutors on August 28, al-Khanjar, al-Moqdad, and al-Nuri showed signs of beatings and possibly torture on their hands and feet. All three reportedly complained that their captors had hung them by their arms with handcuffs and beat them. Al-Khanjar, a human rights activist, is spokesperson for the National Committee for Martyrs and Victims of Torture.

One of the lawyers said that prosecutors had charged the defendants with various crimes under the 2006 counterterrorism law and the penal code. These crimes include "forming an illegal organization with the objective of overthrowing the government and dissolving the constitution" (article 6 of the counterterrorism law), "inciting and planning terrorist acts" (article 17 of the counterterrorism law), "inciting hatred and contempt against the regime" (article 165 of the penal code); "spreading false information" (article 169 of the penal code), "inciting hatred against a certain sect" (article 172 of the penal code), and "agreeing to and inciting others to damage public property and committing terrorist acts" (article 11 of the counterterrorism law).

It was not immediately clear which applicable laws pertained to several other crimes which the defendants have been charged with, such as "contacting and working with international organizations" and "reciving funds from international parties."

Bahrain is a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 9 of the ICCPR states that "anyone who is arrested shall be informed, at the time of arrest, of the reasons for his arrest and shall be promptly informed of any charges against him," and "shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power."

Bahrain has also ratified the Convention against Torture, which prohibits torture and other ill-treatment under all circumstances and prohibits the use of statements made as a result of torture as evidence in legal proceedings. In a February report, Human Rights Watch concluded that security officials repeatedly used torture for the apparent purpose of securing confessions from security suspects. Bahraini officials claimed in response that torture is not routine or systematic, and that any official found to be responsible would be punished. But to Human Rights Watch's knowledge, there have been no independent investigations or prosecutions concerning cases documented in its report.

The counterterrorism law's provision authorizing 15-day detention before a suspect is presented before the public prosecutor does not appear to meet the ICCPR's requirement of "promptly" presenting the accused before a judicial body. In addition, the overly broad and ambiguous language of the 2006 counterterrorism law and the penal code allow the government to criminalize the basic rights to freedom of expression and association.

"Bahrain's claim to respect human rights is absolutely incompatible with practices like prolonged incommunicado detention, which is exactly when torture and mistreatment typically occur," Stork said. "To then gag lawyers and journalists from discussing these cases - this is certainly not the behavior of a government committed to human rights."

www.hrw.org

Appeal for Urgent Intervention(2): Political, Human Rights and Religious Figures Facing Torture and Humiliation

in the Detention Centers of the National Security and in a Blatant Cover-up from the Public Prosecution. • The Number of Detainees in the Protest Demands Exceed 200 Detainee, the Majority are Human Rights Activists and Defenders. • It has become Vital for the Ruling Institutes to Embark on Radical Solutions to the Human Rights Issues rather than Resorting to Security Solutions.

31 August 2010

The growth of violations and deterioration of the security state in Bahrain is still ongoing. Further information was received about the mental and physical torture of detainees in the security campaign and especially the political, human rights activists and religious figures. This is a time where the country seems like a military barrack, and where the citizens are living in an unannounced state of emergency. An extensive and intensified media campaign is being organized, where the acts of the detainees and participants are being condemned and in preparation for further arrests. With this, the defendants, lawyers and those in solidarity with them are forbidden from freedom of expression, which comes with the ban on publication ordered by the public prosecution.

The BCHR received confirmed information that Sheikh Mohammed Habib Al-Muqdad, Sheikh Saeed Al-Nori and Mr. Abdul-Ghani Khanjjar are facing brutal physical and mental torture. They were handcuffed and blindfolded the entire time in solitary cells and they were not allowed food or drink for long hours. Sheikh Al-Muqdad was hung from his hands, and the swollen marks were visible on his body, as well as some scattered marks from punches and scratches all over his stomach, back and legs from the beatings. Sheikh Al-Muqdad complained from hearing loss in his right ear due to beating his ears. The torture marks were also clear on the legs of Sheikh Saeed Al-Nori who was tied from his legs in the Falaqa way (tying, securing the feet in stocks, locking the legs into an elevated position, or hanging upside-down) and the continuous beating on them, until they swelled and he was unable to walk. Doctors were brought in for Abdul-Ghani Khanjjar as a result of high blood pressure and the deterioration of his health condition in a manner that could have led to his death, due to forcing him to stand while continuously beating him for two consecutive days and depriving him of sleep for five days by using noise and making him listen to the screams of other detainees while being tortured.

None of the detainees so far were allowed to be alone with their lawyers, and even in the interrogation sessions at the Public Prosecution, the lawyers were asked to sit quietly behind the defendants so that there wouldn't be any type of eye-contact exchanged between the defendant and lawyers. All detainees are still handcuffed and blindfolded in solitary cells and are isolated from the outside world, which gives space for further torture. Through the mental state in which the detainees appeared in, the BCHR does not exclude that the detainees, including the leaderships and figures, have been subjected to harassments and perhaps even sexual assaults. Although the BCHR had monitored numerous cases of torture against the activists of the public protests and civil committees over the last years, and despite the severity of violations during the nineties, it may be the first time that the BCHR registers cases of torture against political, human rights and religious figures and leaderships in this manner. Article (5) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” The Public Prosecution ordered the detention of every defendant who has been brought in for interrogation for a period of two months pending investigation, besides the 15 days the already spent, which means keeping them in the custody of the NSA to face the same torture and violations for the next two months.

The country is living an unannounced state of emergency, and some areas have become similar to a military barrack. All the Shiite villages are surrounded with Special Forces made up of foreigners, and the ones entering and leaving some of these villages are being searched. The arrests and kidnappings having continued without cease. The numbers of detainees and persons wanted due to the protest demands, and whose cases have been documented by the BCHR has exceeded two hundred persons so far, and perhaps there are more detainees whose cases have not been detected yet because of the consecutive events and the expanding area of violations.

Ads of Hatred and Incitement and Condemnation by the Ruling Regime

Besides this security campaign against the opposition activists, human rights defenders and some religious figures, the Authority's bodies are launching a fabricated and organized public, political and media campaign in order to smear the reputation of the detainees and make a prior conviction against them in the society, and to form a public opinion against them and to pressurizes all the forces of society to take the same official stance of these arrests. The government radio and television of Bahrain, and newspapers closely allied with the Authority and some journalists who have been brought and granted a Bahraini citizenship have taken part in this campaign. Large ads (5 x 5m) are spread all over the streets of Bahrain which incites condemning the defendants or anyone who participates in protest acts. While the ads are signed by names of Bahraini families or recently naturalized families, the similarity of all those ads in design and content indicates that whoever made these ads is one single party. This media campaign started after the results of an opinion poll[1] the radio, television and the British Broadcasting Cooperation had run on its electronic website and which resulted in the support of 72% of the participants in the poll to the releases of the human rights organizations in Bahrain .

Ads of Hatred and Incitement put by the Authority with the Aim of Mobilization and Prior Conviction against the Defendants and Connecting them to the Security Confrontations

In parallel to this, the Minister of Justice – member of the ruling family – is holding continuous meetings with the political, religious and social figures, as well as the heads of the political societies and others in order to push them to release public reports and positions of support to the security procedures carried out by the Authority, and especially in relation to the detainees.

In contradiction to the moral and ethical commitment indicated by Article (11) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states, "Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defense.” Television of Bahrain and all the newspapers closely allied with the Authority published photos[2] of some of the defendants accused of participating in the protest acts before bringing them to the Public Prosecution or the issuance of any judicial sentence against them. Noteworthy, this approach contradicts the principle that the "defendant is innocent until proven guilty.”

The BCHR president, Nabeel Rajab, commented on the increasing frequency and area of violations by saying, "It has become necessary for the ruling regime to review its policy that is causing these crises, instead of resorting to security solutions that have proven to only complicate the crisis further and contribute in increasing the frequency of the human rights violations,” he added, "the current crisis and continuous protests are a result of the Authority's policy and its tenacity in restricting liberties and corruption human rights and persistence in the policies of sectarian discrimination against the Shiite citizens. These have increased since the country's King took power, this includes the policy of political naturalization that targets demographic change and continuous arrests, systematic torture in the Bahraini prisons, the negligence of the Authority to most of the outstanding issues and marginalizing the legislative and monitoring role of the Parliament, implanting disappointment among people from this incompetent regime and which citizens have built many of their hopes on in solving most of the issues that are causing tension and divergence between the people and ruling regime”. Rajab ended his comment by saying: "Just as violence and security confrontations failed in solving political conflicts in the past, resorting to security confrontations once again is doomed to failure, and the Authority will find itself once again before a truth it has to face and solve; which is those issues that have become yet more complicated than the past.”

Based on the above, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls upon all the concerned institutes, including the local and international associations and organizations to seek the Bahraini Authorities and demand the following:

1. To immediately stop the systematic torture by the National Security Apparatus and to dissolve this Apparatus and bring the ones responsible for it to a public trial, and to redress the victims from its violations.

2. To allow the detainees to contact and meet their families, and to allow the organized and private meetings with their lawyers because it is their fundamental rights and it will limit the torture from continuing.

3. To release all the detainees and especially the human rights activists and defenders because they have been arrested for reasons related to them practicing their fundamental rights in expression, organizing, and peaceful assembling, and which is guaranteed to them by international laws.

4. To immediately stop implementing the Anti-Terrorist Law that allows arbitrary arrest and unjust trials, and which has been openly condemned by the UN and the international organizations.

5. To put an end to the media campaign that incited hatred and which pushes the country towards sectarian clashes.

6. To stop publishing the photos of the defendants in the Bahraini newspapers as they are innocent until proven guilty.

7. To start working on a serious and sincere political reform to solve the human rights issues related to the civil and political rights or the economic, social and cultural rights.

---

[1]BBC Poll Results [2]www.alayam.com

CPJ: Bahrain gags press as it cracks down on opposition

New York, August 31, 2010--Bahrainian prosecutors have banned journalists from reporting on the detentions of dozens of opposition activists, according to news accounts. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities to lift the censorship order immediately.

Authorities detained Shiite opposition activists in a series of arrests that began on August 13, according to Bloomberg and other news reports. The New York Times reported Thursday that as many as 159 people had been detained, and that later detainees included people not known as activists.

In an order announced on Friday, Public Prosecutor Ali Al-Buainain barred all news outlets from reporting on the crackdown, which comes ahead of October parliamentary elections, The Associated Press reported. The detainees include Abduljalil Alsingace, a blogger who has been critical of the government and who tracks human rights issues for the opposition Haq Movement for Civil Liberties and Democracy.

In a statement published Friday in all Bahraini newspapers, Al-Buainain banned "print, radio, TV, Internet, and other media from publishing or broadcasting any news related to the case" of Alsingace and the other detainees. The statement said "ongoing investigations require secrecy in order to uncover the truth and preserve public order." Violations are subject to penalties of one year in prison, the statement said.

Mansoor Al-Jamri, editor-in-chief of the Arabic-language daily Alwasat, told CPJ that editors received the official order via e-mail and fax.

"The authorities in Bahrain cannot cite operational secrecy as pretext for barring domestic coverage of a crackdown that has already been widely reported by the foreign media," said Robert Mahoney, deputy director of CPJ. "The people of Bahrain have a right to know if their government is detaining scores of their fellow citizens and the media have a duty to report it. This gag order must be lifted immediately."

Mohamed Ahmed, Alsingace's lawyer, told CPJ that the order allows authorities to issue official statements about the case. These official statements can be covered by the press, effectively allowing the government to label the detainees "terrorists" without any balancing, independent coverage, he said.

One journalist faces charges for violating an earlier gag order issued by Bahraini authorities. Reporter Mohamed al-Sawad was charged in July with violating a gag ordered concerning a corruption case against former Minister of State Mansour bin Rajab.

CPJ

Urgent Appeal - Dr. Al-Singace makes claims of torture to Public Prosecutor


“...I was handcuffed and blindfolded the entire time, they beat me on my fingers with a rigid instrument; they slapped me on my ears and I was pulled by my nipples and ears by tongs, and I was hit with a rigid object on my back and that was to force me to sign papers I had no knowledge what was written on them…” - Dr. Abduljalil Alsingace


• Transferring other detainees to hospitals without knowledge of their conditions in solitary confinement • The Public Prosecution bans any publication on the case in order to cover up torture and other violations • The continuation of temporary arbitrary kidnappings by the militias of the national security in which they are stripped naked and tortured • No other choice but to dissolve the national security apparatus and present those responsible to public independent trials • Any official in the government, who ordered or had knowledge of these violations without immediately stepping in to stop it, according to the International law, is legally responsible

28th August 2010

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights has received with great concern information that Dr. Abduljalil Alsingace (Head of the Human Rights office at the HAQ movement) was subjected to severe physical and psychological torture in which he almost lost his hearing ability and has severe injuries in his back and other parts of his body. The information received also includes the transfer of some activists and human rights defenders to hospitals due to torture including Shaikh Mohammed Habib Almuqdad (religious figure, human rights activist and president of Alzahra charity society of orphans), Abdulghani Khanjar (head of the national martyrs committee and torture victims, and the official spokesperson for the Truth and Justice coalition which is made up 11 societies and organizations, both human rights and political), and Abdulhadi Alsaffer (active member of Committee against rise in prices and Detainees and families committees). The center has also been following up on the kidnappings committed by the national security militia in the Bahraini villages and streets in an offensive and arbitrary manner.

The torture of the human rights defender Dr. Abduljalil Alsingace:

One form of torture described by Dr. Abduljalil Alsingace to the Public Prosecutor, Nawaf Hamza, was that his hands were handcuffed and he was blindfolded the entire time he was detained more than 2 weeks ago on the morning of the 13th of August 2010. He was kept in solitary confinement, his prescription glasses were confiscated, and he was not allowed to shower for more than a week despite Bahrain’s severe heat. His wheelchair and crutches were taken from him, and thus he was forced to go to and from the cell door pulling himself with his arms. Dr. Alsingace was diagnosed with polio when he was two years old, resulting in complete paralysis in one leg and partial paralysis in the other; he usually depends almost completely on the wheelchair for his movement. As part of his torture he was kept standing on his partially paralyzed leg for two consecutive days.

Dr. Alsingace told the public prosecutor that he was repeatedly beaten on his fingers with a rigid object and slapped on both ears until he could barely hear from them. His nipples and earlobes were pulled with tongs which caused severe pain which he was still suffering from during his meeting with the public prosecutor. He was beaten with a rigid object on his back during the interrogation period in order to force him to sign papers of unknown content; they would lift his blindfold just so he could sign but not read the content. They made him listen to the sound of the electricity machines to scare him, as well as threatening to rape him and his female family members. Whenever he would start to fall asleep, they would play sudden loud sounds or the sound of sharp tools to startle him (a new torture tactic known for being used in the infamous Guantanamo prison). He was forced to listen to the screams of his fellow detainees caused by severe torture in adjunct rooms. Dr. Alsingace demanded from the public prosecutor that he immediately be allowed to get treated by a doctor for his severely injured back and his ears which he can barely hear from.

Other detainees were transported to hospitals with no knowledge about their solitary confinement conditions:

From left to right: Almuqdad, Alsaffar, Alkhanjar
On the evening of Thursday, 26th August 2010, witnesses told the Bahrain Center for Human Rights that they saw a large number of intelligence security forces in the Ministry of Interiors’ Police Fort clinic in Manama. With them were two detained human rights defenders Mr. Abdulghani Alkhanjar and Mr. Abdulhadi Alsaffar. They were then removed with a police ambulance to an unknown destination, suspected to be the military hospital in Riffa. There was similar information about the detainee Alshaikh Mohammed Habib Almuqdad, a religious figure involved in defending human rights and is the president of Alzahra society for Orphans. The Bahrain Center for Human Rights still has no information about the conditions these detainees are going through due to the solitary confinement enforced on them.

The Public Prosecution orders censor on the torture allegations and the activities of the National Security apparatus:

The newspapers published on, August 28th, 2010 a confirmation was made by the head public lawyer Abdulrahman Alsayed, that there was a ban on any publications about the case of Dr. Abduljalil Alsingace and the other detainees, which is currently undergoing in the Public Prosecution. On the other hand, the defendants lawyer Mohammed Altajer, as well as representatives of human rights organizations, condemned the terrorism law procedures used in dealing Dr. Abduljalil Alsingace and the other detainees; procedures which clearly go against the Universal Human Rights standards[1]. The Bahrain Center for Human Rights has reason to believe that the Public Prosecutions ban decision comes as an attempt to censor the torture allegations and other violations committed by the national security forces. This comes to confirm what the center had already stated in previous statements and reports about the clear complicity and the absence of integrity and independence of the public prosecution, which is a part of the judicial system. This decision may also confirm that the decision to ban publications comes to prove that the government is no longer able to convince the public and international opinions with the announcement they hastily publicized about revealing a secret organized network which incites violence; therefore they resort getting confessions through torture and they ban any publications except their own.

The continuation of temporary arbitrary kidnappings by the militias of the national security apparatus in which they are stripped naked and tortured:

Photos of some of the victims of kidnappings and militia attacks

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights is continuously receiving information about kidnappings which started happening at around the same time as the arrests. The center continues to record new cases of arbitrary kidnappings and humiliation by stripping the victim naked and torturing them. In Nuwaidrat area, the father of a 16 year old boy complained to Alwasat Newspaper[2] that his son was kidnapped and beaten by unknown men on the evening of the 26th of August 2010 as he was coming out of the mosque. The father told the newspaper: “my son, Mustafa Ahmed Moumen, was coming out of the mosque after the evening prayers walking towards his grandfather’s house, when he was cut off my a black landcruiser, with tinted windows. It stopped by my son and it had masked people inside wearing black clothes, they kidnapped my son by pulling him into the car and going to dark area where they took him out of the car. They beat him, tore his clothes off and tried to injure him with a sharp object. During that time my son tried to escape from them, and he was successful in doing so. They chased him with the car and ran over his leg, but he was not severely injured as the area was sandy and it lessened the injury. In an incident on the evening of the 15th of August 2010, as the student Jasim Ahmed Habib (16 years old) was with his three friends Ali Ibrahim (17 years old), his brother Ahmed Ibrahim and their friend Ali Jaffar Alaradi (15 years old) sitting next to a grave yard, suddenly a group of cars enclosed on them from all sides. 12 men in civilian clothing descended the cars and tied the boys’ hands behind their backs, blindfolded them, put them in the car and told them to keep their heads down. Jasim told the Bahrain Center for Human Rights in his statement, “They kept pushing my head down to the car floor, punching me and kicking me on all parts of my body.” He also added, “They then took us to a far place, maybe 15 minutes away from where we were kidnapped from, they took me out of the car on an unpaved street and they took me into a place I felt the floor was made of marble. I could feel that because I was not wearing shoes or any clothes as they had stripped me naked. I was standing naked the whole time they were beating me on all parts of my body, asking me to give them name of those inciting the burning of tires, my relationship to them and if I was one of them. I was in severe pain from the torture and beating and whenever I would complain of the severe pain they would double the amount of beating. After the call for morning prayers I was forbidden from performing my prayers. One of them tied me tightly and the other one started forcing me to drink water from a waterpipe (popularly known as hookah). I asked them to stop because I was fasting except they ridiculed me by saying “your fasting on our account this time!” The next morning they gave me my pants and my sandals and took me to their car where they beat me then threw me in Juffair at 5 am and they threw my clothes too. When I removed the blindfold from my eyes after they left I saw my friends lying next to me with only their pants on. My friend Hussain Ali Jaffar Alaradi had faced the same severe conditions of torture, except they stopped torturing him after he starting vomiting due to the severe beatings and the forceful drinking of the hookah water.

Photos of some of the victims of kidnappings and militia attacks

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses its grave concern in regards to the arbitrary arrest, solitary confinements, torture and maltreatment of the detainee victims. The center considers the ambush of civilians, the offending and humiliation on public streets of areas of protest, and the arbitrary kidnappings against those suspecting in taking parts in acts of protests, in which they are physically and sexually assaulted, that is the act of uncontrolled gangs and militias. These are not the acts of a governing body that respects itself and alleges the respect of human rights and law.

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights appeals to all societies, organizations and legal institutions locally and internationally to act in order to demand:

1. The unconditional release of all the activists and human rights defenders who are detained with charges related to the political and security unrest clouding over the country. 2. The immediate termination of torturing the activists and human rights defenders, to allow them to be examined by neutral medical entities, to allow human rights organizations to visit their undisclosed detaining areas, to allow their families to visit them and to ensure all their rights according to international standards. 3. The immediate termination of the childish acts of assault and arbitrary kidnappings committed by gangs belonging to the national security service, and the dissolving of this entity and presenting those responsible for it to public, fair, and independent trials. 4. To launch serious channels of discussions with the general public of the society and to look into the crisis the country is undergoing. To terminate the systemized policies of sectarian discrimination and to ensure political, civil, economical and social rights instead of resorting to security measures that worsens the crisis, restricting freedoms and violating human rights.

[1]www.alwasatnews.com [2]www.alwasatnews.com

Scholars at Risk (SAR) Call for Urgent Action for Detained Mechanical Engineering Professor Abdul Jalil Al-Singace of Bahrain

August 27, 2010

Scholars at Risk (SAR) is gravely concerned about the arrest and detention of Professor Abdul Jalil Al-Singace, a mechanical engineer at University of Bahrain in Isa Town. SAR asks for letters, faxes and emails urging authorities to explain publicly the reasons for Prof. Al-Singace’s detention, disclose the whereabouts of Prof. Al-Singace and ensure his access to medical care, family and legal counsel.

Scholars at Risk is an international network of universities and colleges dedicated to promoting academic freedom and to defending the human rights of scholars worldwide. Scholars at Risk invites interventions on behalf of scholars suffering the most serious threats to their academic freedom or their exercise of their fundamental human rights including, as in this case, detention without charge and incarceration in an undisclosed location.

Professor Al-Singace is a scholar of mechanical engineering who has worked at University of Bahrain since 1995. He is also the Director of the Human Rights Bureau of the Haq Movement for Civil Liberties and Democracy, an opposition political movement. Scholars at Risk has learned that Professor Al-Singace was arrested on August 13, 2010 at Bahrain International Airport, upon his return from the United Kingdom, and taken to an undisclosed location. This followed his address on August 5 to the British House of Lords during which he reported on Bahrain’s human rights situation. Reports also indicate that Professor Al-Singace has not been permitted regular visits with his family or lawyer; indeed we understand that his lawyer was able to see him for the first time only recently. Although Bahraini law dictates that detainees are brought before the public prosecutor or formally charged with an offense within 48 hours, Professor Al-Singace has yet to be formally charged. Furthermore, Scholars at Risk understands that Professor Al-Singace suffers from poliomyelitis. In light of this, his prolonged detention without regular access to counsel, family or adequate medical support would appear to constitute a reckless disregard of his health and well-being.

This disregard, coupled with the suddenness and lack of any clear basis for his arrest, raises concerns that this case appears to involve retaliation against one scholar’s peaceful exercise of fundamental rights, which are guaranteed under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 19 of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Bahrain is a party.

Scholars at Risk therefore joins with the many national and international academic associations, human rights organizations and individual scholars that respectfully urge that the government of Bahrain examine the circumstances of Professor Al-Singace’s detention and to disclose his location. SAR urges authorities to intervene to ensure his well-being including ensuring immediate and regular access to legal counsel of his choosing, to family and to any necessary medical treatment. Given the public reports surrounding Professor Al-Singace’s detention, we further urge you to explain publicly the reasons for his detention or absent this, to arrange for his earliest release.

Scholars at Risk invites letters, emails and faxes be sent:

-respectfully calling on the authorities to examine the circumstances of Professor Al-Singace’s detention and to disclose his location;

-respectfully calling on authorities to intervene to ensure his well-being including ensuring immediate and regular access to legal counsel of his choosing, to family and to any necessary medical treatment; and

-given the public reports surrounding Professor Al-Singace’s detention, respectfully urging authorities to explain publicly the reasons for his detention or absent this, to arrange for his earliest release.

PLEASE WRITE TO:

His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa Prime Minister Ministry of Foreign Affairs P.O. Box 547 Government Road Manama Kingdom of Bahrain Fax: +973 17536343 info@mofa.gov.bh

His Majesty Shaikh Hamad bin Issa Al Khalifa King of Bahrain Office of His Majesty the King P. O. Box 555 Rifa’a Palace, Kingdom of Bahrain Fax: + 973 17668884

Her Excellency Ms. Houda Ezra Ebrahim Nonoo Ambassador of Bahrain to the United States Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain 3502 International Drive NW Washington, DC 20008 USA Fax: +1 202 362-2192

COPIES TO:

His Excellency Dr. Majid Bin Ali Al Nuaimi Minister of Education Ministry of Education Building Al Istiklal Street P.O. Box 43 Isa City Kingdom of Bahrain Fax: +973 1768 7866 Email: moe.relations@bahrain.gov.bh

The Honorable Hillary R. Clinton United States Secretary of State U.S. Department of State 2201 C Street NW Washington, DC 20520 USA

His Excellency J. Adam Ereli Ambassador of the United States to the Kingdom of Bahrain Embassy of the United States of America Bldg 979, Road 3119, Block 331, Zinj Kingdom of Bahrain Fax: +973 1727 0547

Scholars at Risk New York University 194 Mercer St., 4th floor New York, NY 10012 USA Fax: +1 212 995-4402 scholarsatrisk@nyu.edu

To view a copy of SAR’s letter of appeal, please visit our website: www.scholarsatrisk.org

Cancer Treatment Halted by Bahraini authorities due to HAQ Presidents Public Criticism against Security Campaign

In Accordance to the Security Campaign Launched by the National Security

27 August 2010

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses its grave concern over the Bahraini authorities’ decision to ask a hospital in London to stop the cancer treatment that Mr. Hassan Mushaima, president of Haq movement, is receiving. The hospital was informed that the government in Bahrain will no longer pay the expenses for the treatment starting from the 25th of the month. It appears that the reason behind this decision is because of the criticisms expressed by Almushaima in a public seminar at the House of Lords, as well as to television programs about the crackdown on freedoms and the escalation of abuses committed by the security bodies in Bahrain.

Almushaima was receiving treatment since June at a specialized hospital in London for lymphoma. It is the norm for the Ministry of Health to send a few patients abroad for treatment especially if the treatment is not available in Bahrain. According to the information received by the Bahrain Center for Human Rights the ministry decided to send Almushaima abroad because the appliance used to scan the progress of the cancer after every chemo session is not available in Bahrain. Nonetheless, in a phone call received by the hospital yesterday, an official from the Bahraini health ministry asked that the hospital immediately stop treating Almushaima on the ministry’s expense, and that he return to Bahrain should he want to keep getting treated. The Bahrain Center for Human Rights received documentation related to Almushaima’s health which confirms that should he travel to Bahrain, traveling on an airplane during his current condition could be a threat to his life. And it is believed by the Bahrain Center for Human Rights that this decision comes in response to his participation at the House of Lords seminar as well as his continuing meetings with foreign television channels, which came after the attack launched by the Bahraini authorities against opposition activists and defenders of human rights; especially his recent interview the program “Eye on Democracy” which was aired by Al-Hurra channel. The center has reason to believe that part of the reason of why they request his return is because they aim to arrest him or ban him from traveling after they arbitrarily arrested numerous political activists and human rights defenders. Almushaima himself has been subjected to several arrests and unfair trials the most recent being in 2009.

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights finds this decision as being arbitrary and inhumane as it could threaten Almushaima’s life, and it comes as a part of a revenge policy against the opposition and human rights activists. This decision comes based on discrimination in offering governmental public services to the citizens, depending on their political opinions or activism. Hence the Bahrain Center for Human Rights demands that the Bahraini authorities withdraw this inhumane decision immediately and to allow Mr. Hassan Mushaima to continue his treatment.

Documents: [1]Letter from Ministry of Health (Bahrain) to the hospital

[2]Letter from the hospital to the Ministry of Health (Bahrain)

The BCHR Condemns the Attack on the President of Alwatan Newspaper

Alwatan plays a main role in escalating the sectarian congestion and defaming opposition leaders and human rights activists

27 August 2010

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses a serious concern about the increase in acts of violence which comes as a result of political and security unrest. This time it comes in an incident of attack that was reported by Mr. Muhannad Abu Zeitoun, chief editor of Alwatan newspaper. This incident took place in the morning of Wednesday, 26th August. He claimed that it resulted in a wound in his hand and the burning of a part of his car. According to the French News Agency, the chief editor of the Bahraini Alwatan Newspaper, Muhannad Abu Zeitoun announced that he was subjected to an attack by anonymous individuals in front of the newspaper headquarters in Rifaa area, South of the Capitol city Manama. Abu Zeitoun said that a masked man approached him when he was getting into his car at 3 am, and asked him if he worked for Alwatan Newspaper to which he said yes. He noticed another masked man and was going to him “but the first (man) hit me on the shoulder with a sharp object which caused me to bleed so we wrestled”, according to the French News Agency. Abu Zeitoun added that the masked men fled, only to find a fire starting in his car, which was put out.

Background on the Bahrain Newspaper Alwatan, run by Muhannad Abu Zeitoun

Alwatan newspaper, which is run by Muhannad Abu Zeitoun, is regarded as being one of the newspapers linked to the royal court, which expresses its political orientations. The newspaper is owned namely by Hisham Jaffar, who is one of the Bahraini businessmen who are close to the regime and the supervisor of the projects of the King and his family; but it is believed, and according to some statements, to be owned in reality by Shaikh Ahmed Bin Atteya Al Khalifa, Minister of cabinet Affairs in the current government, and who is close to the royal Court. His name was part of the scandal released by the former government advisor Dr Salah Albandar, in which he claimed that there is a dangerous secret network within the country’s governmental bodies that aims for the exclusion and marginalization of the Shiaa sect and to weaken them in the electoral process. Also to incite problems between them and the Sunni’s, to sabotage the electoral process, and create GONGO’s or to breach the independent organizations. The same report stated that Alwatan Newspaper had been formed to become the media front for this secret initiative – as it started since its launch in instigating sectarian problems and publicly encouraging hating the Shiaa’s and their beliefs. According to the report, this newspaper is supervised and financed by the undersecretary assistant in the office of the head of the royal court, who has direct links to the naturalization and changing the population’s demographics committee in the royal Court. Also a part of that committee is the media advisor to the president of the kings’ court, who is considered the main supervisor of the media group in the secret organization which is mentioned in the Al Bandar report. In addition, Ali Radhi Hassanain, who is an Egyptian journalist working for the kings court, is also mentioned in the report as being the civil supervisor to the Egyptian media group which was formed and given headquarters as part of the secret organization. In parallel to this newspaper there is a expiatory website and electronic forum which is running with obvious disregard from the ministry of media. It is believed that the same crew that are responsible for Alwatan Newspaper also run the website. This website which is called Bahrain Kingdom Forum is expiatory and instigates against the Shiaas, as it works to feed intolerance, religious and sectarian hate and it encourages hating Shiaas. Bahrain Kingdom Forum is run by a journalist and reporter from the above mentioned newspaper and is government funded, and in accordance with the foreign Media Department at the Ministry of information as a part of the media strategy mentioned in Dr. Salah Albandar’s report. The report also mentioned that there is a media group with the sole objective of monitoring Shiaa forums and participating in them with pennames to create sectarian splits, fabricate non-existent battles between them, and to plant the seeds of incitement to serve the goals and interests of the ruling regime.

A page of the Bandar Report concerning Alwatan Newspaper and the secret media network

In the year 2006, more than one hundred Bahraini important figures from different religious, political and social sects directed a letter to the King of Bahrain, Shaikh Hamad bin Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, to express their shock over the critical information revealed in the report released by the former advisor to the government Salah Albandar which also revealed the role of Alwatan. Also mentioned in this letter was information related to the objectives of that network that consisted of creating a sectarian split, breaching civil societies and changing the demographics of the country. It also contained information about the governmental officials, persons, bodies and civil societies involved in the network, as well as its formation, how it works and some of its finances. The letter also contained information which was commented on as being the most dangerous which said that there was a main role in the network for officials in the royal court.

Government reactions to Albandar Report and the role of the newspaper

As soon as the former government advisor’s report was leaked to the press, the political societies and human rights organizations, his house was raided; he was arrested and removed to the UK as he is a British citizen. It is notable that the same report was sent to the king since the beginning of September 2006, except no actions were made in response or any investigations about the network. After that, a case was filed in the Bahraini courts against Albandar, accusing him of harming the country, negatively affecting its image and stealing government documents. The government also prohibited that anything related to Albandar or his reports be published to this day. Anonymous governmental entities through anonymous phone calls threatened human rights activists with sexual assault if they do not stop publicizing and spreading the documents and its contents. Most civil societies have issued statements criticizing the content of the report, in addition to seminars and civil resistance organized by several political societies demanding an independent investigation in the report as well as the role of Alwatan Newspaper in instigating the sectarian split the country is witnessing today.

The Expiatory Forum which is believed to be run by people in Alwatan Newspaper

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights condemns any attack on a person’s safety and life, as it happen to Mr. Muhannad Abu Zeitoun, chief editor of Alwatan newspaper, and regards that as a violation of human rights, especially the right to life. It is stated in article 3 in the Universal Declaration for Human Rights: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and the security of person”. The center regards the choice for physical assault as being a wrong choice in dealing with those you disagree with.

The center demands:

1. There be an independent investigation into the incident, to ensure its seriousness and to present those responsible to a fair trial

2. That the sectarian instigation campaign be stopped, as well as the defamation of human rights activists that is being done by Alwatan Newspaper, and that those responsible be tried in court

3. That the rumors about hatred between the different sects in Bahrain which is being circulated by the media belonging to the government be stopped, and instead start campaigning for religious tolerance as well as launch channels for discussions about unresolved issues one of them being religious discrimination.

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[1]Alwasat newspaper [2]British citizen and adviser to the Council of Ministers - issued a report on the outline of a sectarian and a secret network headed by government officials in sensitive positions to sow discord between the people of the country and incitement to hatred of the Shiites and their beliefs [3]موقع ويكيليكس [4]The Report: What it says

NEAR: Bahraini Professor and Activist Arrested

26 August 2010

A lecturer in Engineering was detained by authorities in Bahrain on 13 August, Human Rights Watch reported on 17 August 2010. Dr Abduljalil al-Singace, who teaches engineering at the University of Bahrain, was arrested at Bahrain International Airport as he returned from London with his family.

Al-Singace is a prominent human rights defender, acting as spokesman and director of the Human Rights Bureau of the Haq Movement for Civil Liberties and Democracy, an opposition political organisation. Whilst in the UK, al-Singace attended a seminar on Bahrain at the House of Lords, where he criticised Bahrain’s human rights practices.

Al-Singace has been accused of “inciting violence and terrorist acts”, and Bahrain officials are yet to issue a formal charge that would justify his arrest or inform lawyers or family of his whereabouts, according to a report by Human Rights watch on 17 August 2010. Dr al-Singace is disabled and restricted to a wheelchair and his family is concerned for his health. Three other opposition activists were also arrested on 15 August.

Dr al-Singace has faced travel bans, arrest and media defamation over the past two years by the Bahrain authorities, Frontline Defenders reported on 15 August (http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/12959). He was arrested in January 2009, in relation to an alleged “terror plot”; whilst in February 2009, he and 8 other human rights defenders took part in a hunger strike in protest to the detention of other human rights defenders.

RECOMMENDED ACTION

Please send appeals:

- Demanding the immediate and unconditional release of Abd al-Jalil al-Singace

- Expressing concern about his health and urging that he be allowed full access to medical professionals, lawyers and his family whilst in detention

- Reminding the Bahraini government of its obligations as a signatory of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states that "anyone who is arrested shall be informed, at the time of arrest, of the reasons for his arrest and shall be promptly informed of any charges against him"

Appeals to:

Shaikh Khaled bin Ali al-Khalifa Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs Ministry of Justice and Islamic affairs P.O. Box 450, al- Manama, Bahrain Fax: +973 17536343 Salutation: Your Excellency

His Majesty Shaikh Hamad bin Issa Al Khalifa King of Bahrain Office of His Majesty the King P. O. Box 555 Rifa’a Palace, Kingdom of Bahrain Fax:+ 973 1766 8884 Salutation: Your Majesty

Network for Education and Academic Rights (NEAR)

The King of Bahrain Grants the National Security Apparatus (NSA) Full Power

• The NSA is Behind Planning and Executing the Recent Campaign against the Political and Human Rights Activists and the Kidnaps and Torture by the Armed Militias • It Specializes in Prosecuting the Opponents and Activists and has the Authorities of the Ministry of Interior and the Public Prosecution and is Immune from Legal Prosecution • The Apparatus is Formed on a Sectarian Basis and Uses the Foreign Mercenaries in all its Institutes and Operations • Dissolving the National Security Apparatus and the Special Security Forces and Returning its Authorities to the Regular Security Apparatus is Inevitable

Minister of National Security Sheikh Khalifa bin Abdullah Al-Khalifa

23 August 2010

The name of the National Security Apparatus (NSA) emerged during the last days in running the security affairs of the country, as well as its responsibility for the pervasive violations of human rights, the latest of which was the arrest campaign that reached a number of well-known activists, physical assault and sexual abuse and harassments, as well as cutting off roads to kidnap activists by a group of armed militias affiliated with the same apparatus. In addition, the NSA is running a campaign of deliberately smearing the reputation of the political activists, human rights defenders and sons of the Shiite sect, and which is the same technique used by the NSA during the last twenty years to attack the political opposition. The NSA is currently chaired by Sheikh Khalifa bin Abdullah Al-Khalifa.

The BCHR had previously warned from the ever-increasing and grave role of the NSA on behalf of the liberties and the promotion of human rights in Bahrain, especially that this apparatus is not subject to any questioning by the Council of Representatives or any other monitoring institute, and its members are also not subject to legal prosecution before the regular courts.

A list received by the BCHR[1] and which includes the names of more than 1000 employee working at the NSA, reveals that 64% of its workers are non-Bahraini citizens, their majority is of Asian nationalities. The general budget of the years 2009/2010 revealed an increase in the NSA allocations with a 34% from the previous years, and this is considered the largest increase percentage of a government institute during the last years. The country's King gave the NSA full power by granting it judicial jurisdictions through the decree to amend some of the provisions of Decree No. 14 of 2002 and which grants the NSA the authority of judicial control. Thus, the NSA has become a security institute that is completely independent of the Public Security and Defense; however, it benefits from double jurisdictions that combine the domains of the Public Security Forces and the Judicial Authority. Its members cannot be prosecuted before the criminal or civil court and only before the military court which lacks transparency and independency, and which deprives the victims of the violations of the NSA the right to equity in court, and provides the appropriate ground for the members of the NSA to commit violations and escape punishment. This blatantly contradicts the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and a number of International Conventions, among them the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention against Torture which Bahrain has joined and which it must adhere to. The country's King Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa had given full immunity for the violators of human rights in the past era and through Decree-Law No. 10 of 2002; however, the new Decree granted immunity to the violators of human rights from the employees of the NSA in the current era and future which contributed in giving them the green light for further crimes and violations away from accountability and punishment.

Moosa Abd-Ali was sexually abused by members of the NSA and he is currently a refugee in Britain

The NSA was first established in May 2002, by finding it as an alternative to the "General Directory for the State Security Investigations" and which was affiliated with the Ministry of Interior. By that, the NSA became a directorate that is akin to any other state institute, instead of it being a part of it, where its jurisdictions interferes with the judiciary and the institutes of the Ministry of Interior, and its authorities are extended to the Central Informatics Organization and the Ministry of Information through the Foreign Media department, as well as the Ministry of Social Development. The NSA draws its administrative influence from its relation and role as the executive arm of the Supreme Defense Council which is considered the supreme authority in the country as it is made up of the King, Crown-Prince, Prime Minister, Minister of the Royal Court and ten others from the King's family who hold the chief political and security posts in the country.

The Royal Decree of establishing the NSA states, "The NSA is affiliated with the Prime Minister, and its head is appointed with a Royal Decree in the rank of a minister". The NSA's first head was Sheikh Abdul-Aziz bin Atyat-Allah Al-Khalifa who was appointed in May 2002, and then it was chaired by Sheikh Khalifa bin Ali bin Rashid Al-Khalifa – the current ambassador in London, and the current head is Sheikh Khalifa bin Abdullah Al-Khalifa, who was the former ambassador in London. The NSA and since its establishment in 2002, has been carrying out a growing role in penetrating the civil society institutes, monitoring and prosecuting the political opponents and human rights defenders, both locally and abroad. This apparatus is directly responsible for a large number of violations documented by the BCHR and other local and international organizations, especially the ones related to kidnaps, physical and sexual assaults. As well, the NSA is responsible for the death of the activist Ali Jassim Mohammed in December 2007, and injuring hundreds of citizens with wounds, suffocation and shotgun and the use of excessive force against the seminars and demonstrations and other protest acts, and the arrest of hundreds of activists and human rights defenders, and systematic torture which has returned to Bahrain once again since December 2007, and inventing accusations and managing security fabrications and plays to make the country seem to be facing acts of terrorism or sabotage from the mere imagination of the NSA, as well as running the media campaign locally and abroad in order to smear the reputation of the human rights defenders, and the political opposition to justify the campaign of arrest, the unjust trials and the severe judicial sentences against the violators of the political regime.

The political activist Ali Hasan Al-Sitri and the marks of torture visible on his body

The NSA supervises on the ground – and in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior – the work of the Special Forces, and which are semi-military forces whose number exceeds 10 thousand recruits, and approximately 90% of them are non-Bahrainis who are brought, trained and financed as groups of mercenaries, headed by officers from the King's family or from tribes it is politically allied with. The Special Security Forces have been used effectively in the surrounding areas of the villages and areas where the majority of residents are Shiite. The Special Security Forces also use armed militias with civil attires, and who are usually masked, where they attack the villages and prosecute the demonstrators and assault them, and they kidnap who they believe to be activists and abuse them both physically and sexually.

The torture marks visible on the back of Hakeem Al-Ashiri, and Hussein Ali Dawood's head after pulling it out with a pincher

According to the international standards related to prohibiting the use of mercenaries; the description of mercenaries can be applied to the foreigners who belong to the Special Forces where it selectively brings them from abroad for security and military use outside the framework of the regular security and military apparatuses, and they are particularly trained and prepared, and it provides them with job and materialistic benefits which the regular security employees, whether foreigners or citizens, do not get, such as housing, travel, reunion and the Bahraini nationality. Most of them live with their families in isolated areas such as the area of "Safra", south of Riffa, and they are naturalized beyond the regular legal requirements, and they are resettled within the project of demographic change to marginalize and lessen the percentage of Shiite residents in Bahrain. Their votes have been used effectively to marginalize the political opposition in the elections of the Council of Representatives in 2006, where they made the liberal opposition candidates fall short; and it is expected that this role repeats itself and strengthens in the coming Parliamentary elections.

The victims of Special Forces affiliated with the NSA, among them the human rights defenders Abdul-Hadi Al-Khawaja and Nabeel Rajab

What increases the risk of supporting the role, jurisdictions, influence and budget of the NSA is its full dependence on mercenary men who have no relation whatsoever with Bahrain, and this strengthens the saying that the country permanently depends on and takes its strength from the foreign forces to confront its citizens and their legitimate demands, and this stresses its loss of trust in the original residents of the country, both Sunnis and Shiites. As a result, the ruling regime, and through the influence and jurisdiction granted to the NSA is creating a new tyrannical reality which is far more organized and dangerous than the State security measures in the past era, and accordingly the NSA in Bahrain is following in the footsteps of the Iranian "SAVAK", as well as the Secret Service of Augusto Pinochet and which caused prevalent violations to human rights in their countries during their reign, and was a main cause for extensive international criticism and in the people's revolution which ended the reign of the Shah in Iran, and in the criminal prosecution of the dictator Pinochet which continued until the last moments of his life.

Based on the above, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights renews its demands for the following:

1. End the kidnaps and enforced disappearance and assaults on citizens and activists in the streets; 2. Withdraw the foreign militias affiliated with the National Security Apparatus from the protest areas, and especially those who do not use the official attire; 3. Dissolve the National Security Apparatus and the Special Security Apparatus and return their jurisdictions to the regular security apparatuses; 4. Stop the policy of brining non-Bahrain mercenaries to work in the security apparatuses and Special Forces who are used in confronting the peaceful demonstrations and public protests; 5. Stop the current methodology in supporting the laws violating the rights, institutes and practices that restrict and suppress the public liberties, and instead of that to guarantee and maintain the civil and political rights and to launch the public liberties, especially those related to expression, peaceful gathering and organization; 6. Stop the continuous violations and prosecution of human rights defenders and political opponents, and to guarantee the healthy and appropriate environment for the work of the human rights organizations and civil society institutes away from severe laws, and the interference and threats of security apparatuses; 7. Ensure the independency of the judiciary, and to guarantee the right of citizens in prosecuting the public officials with all their specialties and levels, and to end any image of immunity and impunity, especially in relation to arbitrary arrest, torture, unjust trials and targeting the human rights defenders; 8. Rely on dialogue and the participation of the various forces of the society institutes in order to develop practical solutions to the outstanding files whether they are related to the civil or political rights, or the economic, social and cultural rights.

-- [1]http://bahrainonline.org/showthread.php?t=230882