17 Jan, 2008

URGENT APPEAL: Claims of Torture, Assault, Sexual and Physical Abuse

URGENT APPEAL After Family visitations and the Release of a number of Activists: Claims of Torture, Assault, Sexual and Physical Abuse

Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, January 17 2007

• Human Rights Activists Subjected to Atrocious Treatment to Extract Confessions • After 2 Weeks of Interrogations and Psychological Torture: Continued Claims of Human Rights Violations in Bahrain • Families Allege the Hearing of Screams Upon Visit to Interrogations Centre

(Names of sources are confidential for safety purposes! contact BCHR Vice-President Nabeel Rajab for further details)

The BCHR has received disturbing news from the families of the detained activists, as well as a number of activists who have been released, on torture and physical assaults being used as a means to extract confession from those detained.

Released activists have informed the BCHR that they were subjected to beatings, verbal abuse, sleep and food deprivation as well as solitary confinement and continued use of handcuffs and eye blindfolds.

Some of the detainees claim that they were handcuffed for one to two weeks and had to even sleep and eat with the handcuffs on. They were not permitted to shower for 10 days and after that were only permitted a short chance to clean themselves in the sink with cold water and the stench was unbearable given that a number of them were detained in one room without having the ability to see or speak with each other. More than one detainee complained that they were subjected to psychological torture by making them sleep on a cold floor, and were beaten or kicked as soon as they dosed off. They were not permitted to speak to the other detainees and their blindfolded for most of the time.

Detainees also claim that individuals came at night and picked up one of the activists in the room for interrogations and they then heard anguished cries and screams which made them at a constant fear that their turn may come next. Threats against family members and verbal insults and remarks were continuous. Discriminatory and humiliating verbal abuse was used to belittle the detainees and to break them down emotionally. Cold water, and forcing the detainees to stand for a long period of time, in some cases 3 days, were also used as a favorite torture method. Detainees were also not permitted to pray at times and called derogatory names when they requested a chance to pray.

One of the most disturbing claims made was that one of the detainees, after being subjected to beating and psychological torture, confessed to the hiding of the alleged stolen gun. The SSF took him to the area he informed them off, and tried to dig it up, they could not find it and he told them that he had lied to escape their torture. They then, according to BCHR source, buried him up to the neck in the same hole they had dug and pointed a gun at him telling him that they were going to kill him.

On a slightly different note, family members of some of the activists have informed the BCHR that during a visit to the Adliya interrogations Centre on Tuesday 15th of January to request visit permits, they heard screams coming from the centre and claim it was the sound of individuals being subjected to beating or assault. They were informed by the officer that it was just the screams of school children leaving a nearby school, a claim that they bluntly refused to accept. Furthermore, the father of on of the detainees informed the BCHR today that his son, Maytham Bader Alshaikh, a member of the Unemployed Committee, had informed him, in a brief visit that he had been subjected to sexual abuse including rectal penetration using a stick. There had been many cases of Saxual abuse during interrogation in the eighties and nineties. the most recent case was in Dec. 2006 when Mossa Abdali, a human rights activist was allegedly abducted and subjected to physical an sexual abuse. As a result of such atrocities, Mr Abdali was granted political asylum in the UK starting August 2007.

Accordingly, the BCHR Calls upon all Human Rights Organizations to intervene in whichever way that is within their means to put an end to the physical and psychological emotional torture the detainee are being subject, including,

• Prompt visits to the detainees by representatives of national and international human rights organizations, • Reminding the Bahraini authorities that any confessions taken under torture, according to International law, is void • Calls for an immediate and objective enquiry into these highly disturbing allegations and not to let these human rights violations pass without holding those responsible accountable for their actions Furthermore, The BCHR would like to remind the Bahraini authorities that the review of Bahrain record in the United Nations Human Right Council is to commence next April, and they have, through these latest arrests and methods of detention and torture violated a number of fundamental human rights as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights including articles 1,5,9,10, 11, and 12.

16 Jan, 2008

BCHR: Rights Defender Forbidden from Media Access

Date: 13 January 2008 Person(s): Mr Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja Target(s): Activists and rights defenders Type(s) of violation(s): censorship, forbidden

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) expresses its concerns about the measures taken by the Bahraini Authorities to terminate a live program arranged by the Egyptian News Satellite with Mr Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja – President of Bahrain Center for Human Rights- to cover the trip of Mr George W. Bush, US president to Bahrain. The producer of the Egyptian program expressed their apology to Mr Al-Khawaja for the last minute termination of the program as a result of the sudden refusal of the Bahrain TV administration to carry out the interview, which was arranged over a week ago through the Union of the Arab Broadcasters.

The Bahraini Authorities did not explain the reasons for the termination of the program which was planned to be broadcasted at 10pm Saturday evening (local time) on January 12 th 2008. This act by the local Authorities could not be understood but being part of the systematic media blockade imposed on human rights defenders who may portray an image about the situation in Bahrain, different than that broadcasted by the Governmental media bodies to the regional and international communities . RECOMMENDED ACTION: Send appeals to the Bahraini Authorities asking for their respect for freedom of expression, particularly for human rights defenders, whose views are important to maintain and protect general rights and liberties. Furthermore, the Authorities are called to stop preventing human rights defenders from access to media and all means of communications to the public. APPEAL and TAKE ACTION TO: - His Highness Shaikh Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa- King of Bahrain Riffa –Bahrain

- His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa Cabinet Prime Minister Fax: +97 3 1 721 1363

- Mr Jehad Bu-Kamal, Minister of Information Please copy appeals to the source if possible. MORE INFORMATION:

For further information contact Nabeel Rajab, Vice-President, BCHR, Manama, Bahrain, Tel: +973 3963 3399 / 3940 0720, fax: +973 1779 5170, e-mail: nabeel.rajab@bahrainrights.org, info@bahrainrights.org, Internet: http://www.bahrainrights.org

10 Jan, 2008

OPEN LETTER TO MR. W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

THE OBSERVATORY FOR THE PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS (OMCT-FIDH)

OPEN LETTER TO MR. W. BUSH,

PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Geneva - Paris, January 9, 2008

Re: Arbitrary arrest of human rights activists in Bahrain

Dear Mr. Bush,

In view of your upcoming visit to Bahrain, 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), would like to convey to you its deepest concern over the recent arrests of human rights activists in Bahrain.

A violent wave of arrest began after the death, on December 17, 2007, of Mr. Ali Jassim Meki[1], due to the excessive use of force by the authorities of Bahrain as he was taking part in a peaceful demonstration in the Sanabis area, at the occasion of the Martyrs’ Day - aiming at paying tribute to past victims of torture.

At around 5 p.m., the demonstration was dispersed by members of the riot police and of the special security force, who heavily resorted to tear gas and rubber bullets. Some participants were chased through narrow streets and beaten on the spot.

According to the information received, between December 21 and 28, 2007, members of the Special Security Forces began a wave a arrests that targeted more than 60 activists. As of January 8, 2007, 28 remained in detention, including 11 human rights defenders. Allegedly, all human rights defenders who were arrested had been involved in public protests during the last few years that related to economic and social rights and restrictions on freedoms.

As of January 8, 2007, Mr. Shaker Mohammed Abdul-Hussein Abdul-Aal, Mr. Maytham Bader Jassim Am-Sheikh, Mr. Majid Salman Ibrahim Al-Haddad, Mr. Hassan Abdulnabi, Mr. Nader Ali Ahmad Al-Salatna, Mr. Hassan Abdelnabi Hassan, Mr. Abdullah Mohsen Abdulah Saleh, Mr. Ahmad Jaffar Mohammed Ali, members of the Unemployment Committee, Mr. Naji Al Fateel, member of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR), Mr. Mohammed Abdullah Al Sengais, Head of the Committee to Combat High Prices, and Mr. Ebrahim Mohamed Amin Al-Arab, founding member of the Martyrs and Victims Committee, remained in detention. Some of these human rights defenders have had access to their lawyers and family. None of the lawyers were given access to their clients’ files.

Besides, the Observatory received allegations of use of ill-treatments and torture against the detainees, including the use of electrical shocks.

Furthermore, on December 26, 2007, the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights’ President, Mr. Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, was subjected to verbal insults and beating as he had headed to the Public Prosecutors Office after having received news that family members of the detainees were being beaten as they refused to leave the Office.

The Observatory is highly preoccupied by these arrests which seem to aim at muzzling civil society, and human rights defenders in particular, and consequently considers that these detentions are arbitrary. Additionally, it fears the resurgence of a systematic practice of torture in Bahrain.

Therefore, the Observatory urges you, President Bush, to request the Bahraini authorities to :

* guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of the 28 prisoners;

* ensure that the rights of the defence and, should they be brought before a court, their right to a fair and impartial trial are guaranteed;

* release immediately and unconditionally Mr. Shaker Mohammed Abdul-Hussein Abdul-Aal, Mr. Maytham Bader Jassim Am-Sheikh, Mr. Majid Salman Ibrahim Al-Haddad, Mr. Hassan Abdulnabi, Mr. Nader Ali Ahmad Al-Salatna, Mr. Hassan Abdelnabi Hassan, Mr. Naji Al Fateel, Mr. Mohammed Abdullah Al Sengais, Mr. Ebrahim Mohamed Amin Al-Arab, Mr. Abdullah Mohsen Abdulah Saleh, and Mr. Ahmad Jaffar Mohammed Ali, as well as all the other persons arrested in the framework of this wave of repression;

* Put an end to any acts of harassment against all human rights defenders in Bahrain;

* Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially 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”;

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

In the hope that you will take these considerations into account,

Yours sincerely,

Souhayr Belhassen Eric SOTTAS

FIDH President OMCT Director

------------------------------------------- [1] For further details, see the Observatory Press Release of December 21, 2007.

4 Jan, 2008

Front line: Arrest of eleven human rights defenders in Bahrain

Twelve-year-old Badoor holds a picture of her brother, Naji, during a protest held to demand the release of 42 demonstrators detained by police two weeks ago, in Manama, January 4,2008 --------------------------------------------------------

Front Line is deeply concerned following the arrest of eleven human rights defenders and the alleged torture and ill-treatment of a number of those arrested. The arrests took place in the days following demonstrations on 17 December 2007 in Manama and other regions of Bahrain, in which a protester, Ali Jessam Mekki, was killed. The demonstrations were organised by members of the National Committee of Martyrs and Victims of Torture to mark the 13th anniversary of the death of two young Shiite men killed by security forces while participating in a demonstration calling for the restoration of democracy. From the 21st to the 28th December 2007, members of the Special Security Forces (SSF) arrested approximately 50 people including at least 11 human rights defenders.

Further Information Posted 04/01/2008 On 21 December 2007, at 4.00am Shaker Mohammed Abdul-Hussein Abdul-Aal, member of the Unemployment Committee was arrested; at 8.00am Abdullah Mohsen Abdulah Saleh, member of the Unemployment Committee was arrested; at 8.50 am, Naji Ali Fateel, member of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) was arrested; at 2.15pm Mohammed Abdullah Al Sengais, head of the Committee to Combat High Prices; at 5.00pm Maytham Bader Jassim Al-Sheikh, member of the Unemployment Committee; On 22 December, at 2.00pm, Majid Salman Ibrahim Al-Haddad, member of the Unemployment Committee was arrested; On 23 December 2007, at 11.30pm, Ahmad Jaffar Mohammed Ali, member of the Unemployment Committee was arrested; On 26 December, at approximately 11.00am, Hassan Abdulnabi, Board member of the Unemployment Committee was arrested; on 23 December, at 2.00am, Nader Ali Ahmad Al-Salatna, member of the Unemployment Committee was arrested; On 27 December 2007, at approximately 11.00pm, Hassan Abdelnabi Hassan, member of the Unemployment Committee was arrested by members of the SSF; On 28 December 2007, at 11.00am Ebrahim Mohamed Amin-Al-Arab, founding member of the Martyrs and Victims of Torture Committee was arrested by members of the SSF. Both Hassan Abdelnabi Hassan and Ebrahim Mohamed Amin-Al-Arab have been arrested in the past. All eleven human rights defenders have been accused of having taken part in an ‘illegal gathering and rioting’ and of ‘theft of a weapon and ammunition and possession of a weapon and ammunition without permission’. None of the human rights defenders have access to their lawyers. They are reportedly all being detained at the Criminal Investigations Department, (CID) in Adliya.

It is reported that a number of the human rights defenders have been ill-treated and possibly tortured while in detention. Witnesses have alleged that Naji Ali Fateel had been detained in handcuffs and blindfolds for two weeks; that Mohammed Abdullah Al Sengais had been handcuffed and blindfolded for one week and he had been held in solitary confinement for approximately two weeks; that Maytham Bader Jassim Al-Sheikh had been allegedly tortured, a witness reported that he had burn marks on his arms and on his stomach, as a result of having been electrocuted, he was also handcuffed for a period of time; that Ahmad Jaffar Mohammed Ali had been handcuffed possibly for a number of days as he had marks on his wrists; that Majid Salman Ibrahim Al-Haddad had been physically assaulted, as a result he has a perforated ear drum, which he is receiving medical treatment for and he also had a hand injury. It has been alleged that some of the human rights defenders may have been ill-treated or tortured while being questioned.

Furthermore, on 25 December 2007, Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), was subjected to a physical assault and verbal insults by a masked Bahraini officer and three SSF members who are not of Bahraini nationality, outside the Office of the Public Prosecutors. Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja was forcibly removed from the entrance of the Office of the Public Prosecutors, where he had tried to be granted permission to enter. It is reported that family members of a number of detained human rights defenders were also physically assaulted by police officers.

Front Line is concerned that the aforementioned human rights defenders have been targeted by the Bahraini authorities due to their peaceful activities promoting human rights, including economic and social rights.

Source URL: http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/1315

31 Dec, 2007

BCHR/IFEX: Security forces assault journalists covering repression of protest

31 December 2007

SOURCE: Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), Manama

(BCHR/IFEX) - According to the Bahraini Journalists Association (BJA) and eye witnesses, on 25 December 2007, the Bahraini Security Forces (BSF) harassed and verbally and physically assaulted journalists Ali Al-Shehabi (of "Al-Al-Ayam" newspaper), Husain Al-Orrayed (of "Al-Waqt" newspaper) and Mohammed Al-Mukharraq (of "Al-Wasat" newspaper).

The BSF officers also confiscated the journalists' mobile phones. The BSF took these actions to prevent the journalists from reporting on the attack these forces were staging against a peaceful protest taking place outside the public prosecutor's office.

Relatives of detained individuals were holding a sit-in, demanding to see family members who had been arrested in prior days. The public prosecutor refused their request, amidst spreading rumours that the detainees were being subject to torture. The BSF forcefully dispersed the protestors. The BSF officers also assaulted the journalists to prevent them from reporting on the incident.

The BCHR expresses its concern over the actions of the BSF, which violate the journalists' right to freedom of expression and to collect and impart information, and which reflect poorly on the attitude of local authorities towards freedom of expression and the practise of journalism in Bahrain.

For further information contact Nabeel Rajab, Vice-President, BCHR, Manama, Bahrain, tel: +973 3963 3399 / 3940 0720, fax: +973 1779 5170, e-mail: nabeel.rajab@bahrainrights.org, info@bahrainrights.org, Internet: http://www.bahrainrights.org

30 Dec, 2007

Lord Avebury speech : Rising tension heralds post-reforms era

Lord Avebury speech, the Vice-Chairman of the Parliamentary Human Rights Group

Bahrain seminar, Moses Room, December 19, 2007,

A year ago our theme was ‘elections without democracy or human rights’. We noted that in Bahrain, there is a pretence of democracy whilst all the sinews of government are bent to maintaining the absolute rule of the al-Khalifa family, with the assistance of others who benefit financially from the regime.

Twelve months later, the people are still powerless, but there is a growing sense of resentment and a feeling that with no sign of progress towards equality, the rule of law, democracy and human rights, the situation is likely to become unstable.

Some people who don’t belong to the exclusive Sunni tribe who hold all the political power have become very rich by collaboration and are dependable supporters of the status quo.

Foreign immigrants have been and still are being granted citizenship and jobs, gradually marginalising the native people and driving most of them downwards into poverty.

The king and members of his family have taken control of several large islands including those regained by Bahrain through a decision of the international court. That annexation showed clearly that King Hamad regards the state of Bahrain as his personal property.

He and his uncle the Prime Minister have also enriched themselves by the sale of valuable land reclaimed from the shallow sea adjacent to the capital, Manama. To quote from Property Development World:

“The Two Seas development is the creation of a luxury waterfront community located across eleven million square meters of manmade island which will offer investors and potential residents the chance to own freehold property in Bahrain within a district dominated by state of the art homes, recreational, retail and commercial space and an expanse of manicured and landscaped gardens”.

It is the ruling family that controls reclamation, though of course the process is opaque, like the rest of the royal accounts.

Nobody demands that the King’s finances be open to public scrutiny, still less that they should be subject to Parliamentary control as they would be in a proper democracy. It’s a taboo subject.

So is the endemic discrimination against the Shi’a, who still form the majority of the population, though not for much longer. The strategy of the al-Khalifas is to continue with their demographic engineering until the Shi’a can be outvoted, so that the inequality of wealth and incomes, of opportunity, and of political power, can be maintained even in free and fair elections.

In the meanwhile, elections change nothing. After the last Parliamentary elections in 2006 the king reappointed the Prime Minister, who has now held that office continually for 37 years, and a cabinet half the members of which also belonged to the al-Khalifa family. The relatives occupied most of the important portfolios such as defence.

This incestuous system leads to corruption and skulduggery of the sort described by De Salah al Bander, a British citizen who worked for the government until he blew the whistle and was expelled. He exposed Sheikh Ahmed bin Atiyatalla Al Khalifa – a minister and relative – as the centre of a multi-billion Dinar conspiracy to manipulate the elections, foment sectarian distrust, and to keep the Shi’as down. These criminal activities are tolerated by the government to this day as far as we know.

The authorities couldn’t rebut the 200 pages of evidence Dr al-Bander published, so they tried to blacken his name. The accused Sheikh Ahmed is still a ‘key minister’ according to The Economist.

The allegations made by Dr al-Bander, like every other report of misconduct by the al-Khalifa such as the land grab, can’t be discussed by the media in Bahrain.

Among other recent examples of censorship was the instruction to the media not to report anything said by the woman activist Ms Ghada Jamsheer. She had criticised the Supreme Council of Women, chaired by the King’s wife, for its failure to promote women’s rights and its steadfast loyalty to the government.

Bahrain acceded to the CEDAW in July 2002 and was due to submit is first report in July 2003. So its now over four years overdue, and the second report is also late.

But now at least, Bahrain is due to answer to the UN Human Rights Council next February, under the new procedure for review of member states. Key features of the procedure are that a State has to prepare the information through a broad national consultation process and the High Commissioner for Human Rights has to compile a summary of the State’s compliance with the human rights treaties including the CEDAW.

Bahrain will have to explain why it hasn’t reported, and why the king’s wife is considered to be a suitable person to head the women’s rights body, when she is unlikely to call her husband’s government to account.

It remains to be seen whether the consultation required will include bodies such as the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, or the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights, whose leader Mr Mohammed Al Maskati is due in court on January 21, charged with operating an unregistered society. He says the charge is a violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Bahrain has ratified.

I challenge civil society in Bahrain to put together their own report for the Human Rights Council. The National Committee for Martyrs and Victims of Torture could write a note on the continued violation of the government’s obligations under the Convention Against Torture, drawing attention to the excellent report by Redress that we discussed last year. The BCHR could draw attention to the death of Mr Ali Jassim al-Barbari, a young bus driver, only recently married, following a demonstration on Tuesday, a tragic echo on the eve of Martyrs Day of the two who were killed on December 17, 23 years ago. It was said that he had been overcome by teargas, but he hadn’t previously had any respiratory problems that would have made him particularly vulnerable. Abdul-Hadi al-Khawaja, the head of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights who was at the morgue said that bruises could be seen over Jassem's dead body. And Jassim is not the first unexplained death. The Human Rights Council should be provided with a summary of the many others over the years, to enable them to consider whether the right to life, the most fundamental right of all, is protected in Bahrain.

The Special Forces, largely recruited from other countries had been using excessive force against demonstrators over the last weeks, injuring several people by firing rubber bullets at them from close range and beating up demonstrators, some of them children. Bahrain ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1992 and took 6 ½ years to submit its initial report. Exceptionally, it was given until March 2004 to submit its second and third reports, but they haven’t yet appeared nearly four years later. Evidently Bahrain wishes to be thought of as a state where human rights are respected, but doesn’t have any real intention of complying with standard international norms.

Yesterday was International Migrants Day and Louise Arbour, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, issued a statement condemning

“Working conditions that amount to modern forms of slavery, such as long working hours, payment of salaries well below minimum wage established by law, exposure to degrading and dangerous working conditions and confiscation of travel documents”.

She could have been thinking of Bahrain. Those who complain get sacked, like the 50 migrant workers who went on strike against low wages at a Saudi-owned dairy. And its reported that so far this year alone, tens of thousands have been deported without a hearing.

Finally, the attention of the Human Rights Council should be drawn to the report on Bahrain last month from the freedom of expression NGO Article 19. They talk about the recent crackdown, including the banning of books and films, the blocking of websites, and the prosecution of individuals, such as writers and journalists, for exercising their right to free expression.. This year so far 32 cases have been filed against journalists; two writers have been refused leave to publish academic book; several films have been banned; at least 22 websites, including the site of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, have been blocked by Batelco, the only Internet Service Provider in the country, owned by the Bahraini government. The 2002 Press and Publication Law, and the 1976 Penal Code have been used in justify interrogation and prosecution not only of journalists but even bloggers and website administrators. It seems that no further progress towards freedom and democracy can be expected, and we have entered what the title of our seminar describes as a post-reforms era, when the hopes that were raised by the present ruler when he inherited, are dashed, and people must either knuckle under to the dictatorship or take new initiatives of their own to seize their rights. Let us appeal to the Human Rights Council, from this meeting, to take this issue very seriously, when they consider Bahrain’s record in a few weeks’ time. The rising tensions we see in Bahrain at the end of 2007 can only be defused if the people can get robust support from the United Nations for their legitimate aspirations.

28 Dec, 2007

The Arrests of Two more Activists and Accusing 28 detainees, including 10 activists, with the alleged use of violence

The Arrests of Two more Activists Accusing 28 detainees, including 10 activists, with the alleged use of violence No Visitation Rights for 18 detainees including all the Activists

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) is highly concerned for the continued arrest of activists yesterday and today, in what seems as a crackdown on human rights activists and political groups that are considered responsible for a series of protests related to Economic-social rights and basic freedoms . Apparently the authorities are using the recent unrest to accuse activists of participation in illegal gathering and rioting. The BCHR has received reports that some of the detainees were transferred to the military hospital as a result of beating during arrest or torture.

The two activists that have been arrested last night and today were:

Name: Hassan Abdelnabi Hassan, 26 years, Sitra Affiliations: An active member of the Unemployment Committee who had been previously threatened, kidnapped by masked men, beaten and subjected to repetitive arrests. Details: Hassan was leaving a Seminar with his wife yesterday night at around 11PM, when 3 civilian cars blocked their way and armed individuals in civilian clothes arrested him. The Seminar which Mr. Abdelnabi was taking part in its preparation aimed at highlighting the human rights violations and arrests of activists that have been taking place recently. Hassan was the only senior member of the Unemployment Committee who had not been arrested and was present to share information about the activities of the Unemployment Committee and its members and highlight the fact that they were being targeted for a long time now.

Name: Mr. Ebrahim Mohamed Amin Al-Arab, 38 years, Bani-Jamra Affiliations: A member of the AMAL Political Society and a founding member of the Martyrs and Victims of Torture Committee Details: At 11AM this morning Special Security Forces attacked the house of Mr. Alarab, and arrested him. Mr. Alarab, who had been arrested 8 times during the political unrest in Bahrain in the 90’s and was subjected to brutal torture (scars on his hand and forehead are still visible), had 3 months ago participated in a Seminar on “Truth and Reconciliation” organized by several human rights groups including the BCHR in collaboration with Human Rights Watch. Mr. Alarab gave a live witness account of the torture he had been subjected to.

The BCHR has learnt that 18 out of reported 48 detainees were officially accused of illegal gathering, rioting, damaging a police vehicle, theft of a weapon and ammunition and possession of weapon and ammunition without permits. The Public Prosecutor office had announced that visitation rights will not be given to families of theses detainees. At least ten of the accused are well known activists, who had been arrested during the past 8 days.

Three other detainees were accused of attempted murder while ten more detainees were accused of illegal gathering and rioting. The BCHR is informed by relatives of about 17 more individuals who disappeared, while their arrest has not been announced by the authorities.

The aforementioned arrests took place after security clashes that broke out as a result of the death of one of the participants on December 17, 2007 in a demonstration that was demanding truth and equity for victims of Torture. The death of Ali Jassim Mekki, aged 30 years, was due to the use of excessive force by the security forces .

Attachment: a list of detainees according the information received.

For more information. Please contact: Nabeel Rajab, BCHR Vice-president, Mobile: +973 39699933, Email: boddah88@hotmail.com

List of Detainees, Including Activists Arrested during the Last Nine days

Including Available Affiliation and Accusations

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights – 28 December 2007

Detainees Accused of Illegal Gathering, Rioting, Damaging A Police Vehicle, Theft of a Weapon and Ammunition and Possession of Weapon and Ammunition without Permits

No. Name Area Age Date/Time of Arrest Affiliation 1 Naji Ali Fateel Bani Jamra 32 8:50 am - 21/12/2007 Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) (Senior member) 2 Mohammed Abdullah Al Sengais Sanabes 40 2:15 - 21/12/2007 The Committee to Combat High Prices (Head of Committee) 3 Hassan Abdulnabi Sitra 11:00-11:30 26/12/2007 The Unemployment Committee (Board Member) 4 Nader Ali Ahmad Al-Salatna Sanabes 35 The Unemployment Committee (Former Board Member) 5 Maytham Bader Jassim Al-Sheikh Isa Town 31 5 pm – 21/12/2007 The Unemployment Committee (Former Board Member) 6 Ahmad Jaffar Mohammed Ali Daih 28 11:30 pm – 23/12/2007 The Unemployment Committee (Former Board Member) 7 Abdullah Mohsen Abdullah Saleh Isa Town 30 8 am – 21/12/2007 The Unemployment Committee (Former president) 8 Shaker Mohammed Abdul-Hussein Abdul-Aal Hamala 26 4 am - 21/12/2007 The Unemployment Committee 9 Majid Salman Ibrahim Abdullah Al-Haddad Daih/Jedhafs 22 2 pm – 22/12/2007 The Unemployment Committee 10 Isa Abdullah (Isa)Al-Sarah Bani Jamra 25 5 pm - 22/12/2007 Active Member of the Islamic Action Society 11 Mohammed Maki (Ahmed) Tareef Sanabes 12 Hussein Jaffar Tareef Sanabes 20 23/12/2007 13 Hussein Khalil Ibrahim (Al-Madoob) Jabalat Habshi 23 Almost 4:30 21/12/2007 14 Ahmad Abdul-Hadi Ahmad Mahdi Salman Mugshae 17 15 Hussein Shaker Mohammed Fardan Shaker Bani Jamra 35 11:30 pm – 22/12/2007 16 Mohammed Khalil Al-Madoob Jabalat Habshi 27 Almost 4:30 - 21/12/2007 17 Mohammed Hassan Ali Hassan 18 Mahmood Hassan Saleh Karraneh 21/12/2007

Detainees Accused of Attempted Murder

19 Hasan Abbas Mansoor 20 Salman Abdul Adhim Salman Shakoora 22 17/12/2007- demonstration Sanabes 21 Ghasan Mirza Ali Bu Madan Bu-Quwa/Sihla 18 17/12/2007

Detainees Accused of Illegal Gathering and Rioting

22 Khalil Ibrahim Mirza Al-Meshemea Hajjar 26 23 Sadiq Ali Abdullah Al-Mutawa Malkiya 15 8 pm - 15/12/2007 24 Ahmad Saeed Ahmad Saleem Demestan 18 25 Ali Kadhim Saeed Kadhim Malkiya 15 8 pm – 15/12/2007 26 Hasan Ahmad Nasser Juma Sitra – Mhaza 21 8 pm – 17/12/2007 27 Ibrahim Khalaf Ibrahim Malkiya 28 8 pm – 15/12/2007 28 Sayed Ali Mohammed Saeed Mohammed Sihla 21 9 pm – 17/12/2007 29 Mohammed Hussain Yousif Demestan 35 30 Saleh Mahdi Salman Demestan 31 31 Hisham Mohammed Aon

An additional list of “Individuals reported as disappeared while their arrests have not been announced by the authorities” will not be published due to lack of confirmation of the received information.

27 Dec, 2007

BCHR’s President Beaten and Insulted by SSF

Special Security Forces (SSF) use Women Police Officers in the Beating of Women and Forcibly Removing them from the Public Prosecutors Office (PPO) Press Threatened, Searched and Kicked out of PPO

A Report by: The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) 26 December 2007

In a highly disturbing development in the Crackdown on Activists , the BCHR President Mr. Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja was subjected to beating and verbal insults outside the Public Prosecutors office yesterday afternoon at approximately 3 PM. Mr. Abdulhadi had headed there after receiving news that their were women, family members of the detained activists, being beaten inside after they refused to leave. They were protesting against the refusal of the Public Prosecutor to keep a promise made to lawyers and activists the day before, of arranging visits for them to see their sons as they are worried that their sons are unwell and are being subjected to harassment and human rights violations.

Mr. Alkhawaja approached the gate requesting to enter, he was refused permission and asked to leave, after a brief discussion, a masked SSF officer insulted the president of the BCHR and shoved him away and threatened to have him arrested. He told them to go ahead and arrest him if he was found to have done anything against the law, they surrounded him, but apparently there were no orders to arrest him and the officer in-charge started threatening and using very vile language. Mr. Alkhawaja refused to leave without knowing what was going on inside as there were screams of women being heard. The SSF then began kicking and shoving Mr. Al-khawaja away violently until the end of the street, where he stood for around 5 minutes before they came again and started moving him by shoving him and kicking him on his back for approximately 15 m. This was all done in the presence of a reporter of the AFAQ website Ms. Rabab Marhoon, a women and a child who had been forcibly removed from the Public Prosecutors office, as well as Mr. Al-Khawaja’ s daughter.

During the commotion that was taking place inside the PPO two reporters, Ali Alshehabi (Al-Ayam Newspaper) as well as Hussain Al-Arrayeth (Alwaqt Newspaper) were subjected to threats and were kicked out of the Public Prosecutors office by SSF’s. One of the SSF’s threatened the Alwaqt news reporter that he was going to “Rub his head against the ground” if he does not hand in his phone to be searched, he was then himself searched and forced to delete some files from the phone. Both reporters where then pushed out of the main gate.

A BCHR activist, who was inside the building in collaboration with the families, informed the BCHR that after refusing to leave the building, the women were threatened with arrest, beating, and forcible removal. Their response continued to be that the promise of visitation rights be kept. The police forces closed the doors and refused entry to everyone including the press, other families, and even some of the lawyers involved in the defense team. One of the officers, Osama El-Mehry, then ordered the female police officers to forcibly remove the women from the building. The female police attacked one of the girls, Sediqa Haron, and in the process fractured one of her fingers and kicked her mother, who was also present in the building. After this attack the mother passed out and an ambulance had to be brought for her. An ambulance had also been brought for a 12 year old girl, the daughter of one of the detainees, Mohammed Alsingaise, got an anxiety attack. Another, a pregnant woman, Afrah Haron, who had come to demand to see her husband, was also moved to the hospital.

The remaining women in the building, including the human rights activist, were then attacked again by approx. 15 policewomen and dragged outside in front of approx. 20 policemen watching. The women tried to hold on to the benches and were therefore beaten and literally thrown out one by one on the steps in front of the building. (Photos and recorded sound of the disturbing event: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBgoYkNt2y8)

The BCHR urges all concerned to call upon the Bahraini authorities: 1. To investigate the incidents mentioned in regards to the abuse and beating of the women inside the building and reminds the authorities that this could have been avoided had these family members been granted their legal, and human right to meet with their sons, husbands and fathers who they have not heard from for over a week 2. To grant family members the right of visitations and to insure that they are done according to internationally acceptable standards 3. To abide by their own procedural law related to appropriate detention protocol as well as international standards, treatment and conventions related to the rights and appropriate treatment of detainees 4. To insure the safety and well being of the activists. The refusal of the PPO to let family members or lawyers meet the detainees is serving to confirm speculations as well as statements made by some family members that the detainees are being subjected to severe abuses 5. To respect the media and the right of reporters to cover such incident and to desist from threatening reporters and members of the media as a mechanism to avoid any documentation of abuses 6. To halt abuses against members of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights and other human rights activists and to investigate the attack on the President of the BCHR and hold those responsible for the beatings accountable for their misscondact.

For more information. Please contact: Nabeel Rajab, Vice-president, Mobile: +973 39699933

26 Dec, 2007

BCHR: Crackdown on Activists In Bahrain Continues

Arrests On The Streets Breaking Into Homes: Terrorizing Women and Children - Confiscation of Computers Incommunicado Detention: Preventing Family Visits Preventing Lawyers from Attending Interrogations Reports Of Beating and Torture During Arrest and Investigation

A Report by: The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) 24 December 2007 (Updated)

The arrest campaign that the Special Security Forces (SSF) in Bahrain started in 17 December continues. It was reported today, that Mohammed Al-Tattan, from Jidhafs, was arrested at 4:00 am. Prior to that, Ahmad Jaffar Ali, aged 28, from Jidhafs, a former member of “The Unemployment Committee” was arrested. In the middle of the night, the SSF broke into his apartment and to three other apartments belonging to his mother and two brothers. The apartments were searched by a large number of the SSF who were dressed in civilian clothes and black masks. They were pointing their guns at the tenants including Ahmad Jaffar’s mother, wife and two 7 and 8 years old daughters. The activist’s private papers and computers were confiscated as well as his family’s. This was preceded by the arrest of other members of The Unemployment Committee, of those: Haytham Bader Jassim AlSheikh, aged 31, and Nader Ali Ahmad Al-Salatna, aged 35. Nader’s brother, Hussain, told the BCHR that both him and his brother were insulted and beaten, the house was ransacked and the official computer of the Unemployment Committee was confiscated. Private computers and personal items were also confiscated during the arrest of other activists.

Activists from various other groups were also arrested, amongst them: Naji Ali Fateel, aged 32, a prominent member of the Bahraini Youth Society for Human Rights. Also, Mohammed Abdullah Al-Sengais, aged 40, the head of The Committee to Combat High Prices, and Abdullah Mohsen Abdullah Saleh, 30 years old, the former elected president of the Unemployment Committee. Isa Abdullah Al-Sarah, aged 20, a member of the Islamic Action Society was also amongst the activists arrested after he was dragged out of his car and beaten on the main road beside Burger Land restaurant. This was done by seven masked security men, dressed in civilian clothes, this is according to eyewitnesses, amongst them the president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights.

Najji Ali Fateel, 32 years, an active member of Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) and closely related activist to the BCHR documentation team, was seen leaving the Public Prosecutors office after officials at the office bluntly rejected family members claims that he was at the Public Prosecutors office. The BCHR Legal Coordinator had coincidently met Mr. Fateel briefly before he was taken away and describes him as looking fatigued and incoherent. He was still, after two days of arrests and despite the increasingly cold weather still dressed in the undershirt he was arrested in. Family members have still been unable to meet Mr. Fateel.(You-tube video of Mr. Fateel leaving the Public Prosecutors Office )

The aforementioned arrests took place after security clashes that broke out as a result of the death of one of the participants on December 17, 2007 in a demonstration that was demanding truth and equity for victims of Torture. The death of Ali Jassim Mekki, aged 30 years, was due to the use of excessive force by the security forces . The authorities have apparently taken advantage of the unrest to wage a crackdown on activists that have connections with public protests during the last few years in regard to economic and social rights and restrictions on freedoms.

In an unprecedented manner, the use of special armed and masked militia forces has been documented . Not only are they used to disperse protests and to track down participants and physically abuse them, but also to break into homes and destroy properties and terrorize women and children while carrying out arrests. The majority of these forces speak in Pakistani language or Yemeni, Syrian or Iraqi dialect. They did not in any of the previous cases show any warrants of arrest or inspection.

Although a week has past since the arrest of the detainees, only seven detainees have been granted a 3 minute meeting after protests and threats that the families would not leave. The meetings were brief and attended by members of the Public Prosecutors office. The families complained that the activists were not given a chance to speak about anything relevant. Some family members complained to the BCHR that the defendants looked tired, had not eaten and one mother came out shouting that her son had been beaten. Until the publication of this report the BCHR has not learnt that any other detainee has been granted permission to meet their families or their lawyers. All detainees were brought to the Public Prosecution Office in a disclosed manner and their lawyers were prevented from attending investigation. Reports has been received from the families regarding transporting some of the detainees to the Military Hospital due to reported beating and torture. Some families complained that the security authorities deny the presence of their missing sons in custody so the families say that do not know whether they are alive or dead.

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses its deep concern regarding all the stated violations, and calls upon all concerned to protect human rights and to embark upon the following: - to guarantee that arrests are carried out in integrity and legal manner up to the International standards - To insure the safety of the activists. The refusal of the Public Prosecutors Office to let family members meet the activists in addition to the recent video of Mr. Fateel, is worrisome and raises questions as to the well being and treatment of the activists - To halt the attacks on individuals and members of activists families, the violation of the privacy of activists and other detainees and to call for an end to the destruction and confiscation of personal properties or information documents and equipments - To cease the systematic targeting of activists in defamation campaigns and arbitrary arrests in order to suit an underlying agenda of attempting to intimidate them and halt their activities - To allow families and lawyers to meet the detainees from the beginning of the arrest to ensure their safety and rights - To release the detainees immediately, or to issue formal charges that do not contradict international standards - To stop the use of excessive force against peaceful activities and the work of human rights defenders, and to reform the strictive laws related to civil liberties - To put an end to the use of civilian militias and request a proper investigation into claims of their abuses.

Attachment: a list of detainees according the information received as well.

For further reference and information, please contact: Abdul-Hadi Al-Khawaja – Phone no.: +97339400720 – email: abdulhadi61@hotmail.com

The List of Names of Detainees in Bahrain during the Last Seven days The Bahrain Center for Human Rights – 24 December 2007

(The BCHR has interviewed some of the relatives and is documenting the majority of the cases) Due to the lack of transparency on the Public Prosecutor part the list is not yet Finalized

No. Name Area Age Date/Time of Arrest Other Details 1 Mohammed Abdullah Al Sengais Sanabes – house 76 40 2:15 - 21/12/2007  They searched for him at his home in the morning but no one was there, they arrested him in his parents’ home.  Criminal investigations - Adliya 2 Naji Ali Fateel Bani Jamra 32 8:50 am - 21/12/2007  Member of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights  He was arrested at his house  Criminal Investigations – Adliya 3 Akbar Jaffar Jassim Jidhafs 19 18/12/2007  Was beaten harshly 4 Saeed Ali Janusan 21/12/2007 5 Hussein Khalil Ibrahim Jabalat Habshi 23 Almost 4:30 21/12/2007 He was arrested at his house 6 Mohammed Khalil Al-Madoob Jabalat Habshi 27 Almost 4:30 - 21/12/2007 He was arrested at his house 7 Hussein Ali Mansoor Al-Bash Mussala 18 21/12/2007 8 Mahmood Avon Hasan Malkiya 19 9 Hisham Jassim Malkiya 15 10 Shaker Mohammed Abdul-Hussein Abdul-Aal Hamala 26 4 am - 21/12/2007  There is a filming of entering his house by force  Member of the committee of the unemployed people  Criminal investigations - Adliya 11 Khalil Ibrahim Mirza Al-Meshemea Hajjar 26  Qudhaibiya and then Nuaim police stations 12 Osama Ahmad Abdullah Rabea Naim 33 4 am - 21/12/2007  His whereabout is unknown yet 13 Sadiq Ali Abdullah Al-Mutawa Malkiya 15 8 pm - 15/12/2007  Hamad Town – was arrested on the main road in Malkiya with four others 14 Isa Abdullah Al-Sarah Bani Jamra 25 5 pm - 22/12/2007  He was arrested after making him step out of his car and beating him on the main road beside Burger Land. 7 masked security forces dressed in civil clothes  Member of Amal Society 15 Abdullah Mohsen Abdullah Saleh Isa Town 30 8 am – 21/12/2007  The former elected president for The Committee Of The Unemployed  Criminal Investigations - Adliya 16 Hasan Ahmad Nasser Juma Sitra – Mhaza 21 8 pm – 17/12/2007  Arrested in Sitra  Transported to the Central Stations 17 Ibrahim Khalaf Ibrahim Malkiya 28 8 pm – 15/12/2007  Arrested in Malkiya, roundabout 17 18 Hasan Ali Abdullah Malkiya 28 8 pm – 15/12/2007  Arrested in Malkiya, roundabout 17 19 Ali Kadhim Saed Malkiya 15 8 pm – 15/12/2007  Arrested in Malkiya, roundabout 17 20 Ibrahim Abdullah Maki Dalal Karrana  21 Mahmood Dar Kulaib 22 Sayed Ali Mohammed Saed Mohammed Sihla 21 9 pm – 17/12/2007 International Hospital 23 Mohammed Al-Tattan Jidhafs 4 am – 24/12/2007 24 Ghasan Ali Bu Madan Bu-Quwa/Sihla 18 17/12/2007  Arrested in Daih – International Hospital  He was not participating, but only passing by – Budayea Station 25 Nader Ali Ahmad Al-Salatna Sanabes 35 26 Mohammed Maki Tareef Sanabes 27 Hussein Shaker Mohammed Fardan Shaker Bani Jamra 35 11:30 pm – 22/12/2007  Arrested at his house 28 Hussein Jaffar Tareef Sanabes 20 23/12/2007  Arrested at his house after breaking and destroying 29 Maytham Bader Jassim Al-Sheikh Isa Town 31 5 pm – 21/12/2007  Member in the committee of the unemployed people  Arrested at his house and had his computer (laptop) confiscated  Criminal Investigations - Adliya 30 Salman Abdul Adhim Salman Shakoora 22 17/12/2007- demonstration Sanabes  They asked about him in the central station and they told him he was not there 31 Ahmad AbdulHadi Ahmad Mahdi Salman Mugshae 17  Detained – his family asked about him in the investigations and the station but without any trace, he was found in the police station and was arrested because of the incidents 32 Ahmad Jaffar Mohammed Ali Daih 28 11:30 pm – 23/12/2007  Member in the committee of unemployed people  They took the computers that were at his house  He was arrested in front of his mother, wife and daughter 33 Abdullah Saleh Isa Town 34 Majid Salman Ibrahim Abdullah Al-Haddad Daih/Jedhafs 22 2 pm – 22/12/2007  His house was blockaded  Place of arrest: Sar roundabout 35 Sadiq Maki Jidhafs 36 Mohammed Saed Abdul-Aziz Jannosan 21/12/2007 Place of arrest: Al-Sadiq Mosque 37 Hussein Abbas Hussein Mansoor Hajjar 29 17/12/2007 38 Hasan Mansoor  Khamis Station 39 Saleh Mahdi Salman Demestan 31 40 Mohammed Hasan Yousif Demestan 35 41 Ahmad Saeed Ahmad Demestan 18

23 Dec, 2007

JOINT URGENT APPEAL: Arrest of Human Rights Activists from their Residence

Reports of Wide Arrests and Excessive Use of Force by Special Security Forces Friday 21st December, 2007

The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) and the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) are highly concerned for the wellbeing of three activists. It is confirmed that today morning Friday the 21st of December, 2007, Special Security Forces (SSF) headed by security officers in civilian clothes have broken into the residences of the three activists arresting them and confiscating their information files and CD’s. The armed security officers did not permit the arrestees or the women residing in the houses to change their clothes. Until this moment their families could not get any information concerning their whereabouts. The three activists are: 1. Najji Ali Fateel, 32 years, active member of Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) 2. Maytham Al-Tamar, 33 years, active member of the Unemployment Committee 3. Abdulla Mohsen, 27 years, Political Activist Other activists have also reportedly been arrested, of them: 1. Osama Ahmed Rabea, 29 years, Political Activist 2. Mohammed Al-Singais, 35 years, Political Activist and Head of the Committee to Combat Inflation in Bahrain 3. Shaker Mohammed Al-Hamali, member of the Unemployment Committee According to Maytham Al-tamar’s brother Hani, SSF’s forced their way into the residence of Maytham father house, arrested Maytham and seized several computers. Najji Fateels wife informed the BCHR that a similar manner was used in his arrest at around 9am this morning. Mohammed Al-Singais’s sister informed the BCHR that SSF’s broke into his house this morning, ransacked the house but made no arrests as he was not at home. Later at approximately 2:15 PM SSF’s forced their way into his father’s house where the family had gathered for lunch, lined the men up by the wall at gunpoint and arrested Mohammed. The activist Najji Ali Fateel, worked closely with the BCHR and the BYSHR in the collection and documentation of arrests and assaults in the previous three years. Since the beginning of the unrest, his name and mobile number were published in internet forums and community places as a contact person for relatives to submit information to. The BCHR and the BYSHR would be grieved to find that this was an indirect attempt by the Special Security officers to crack down on activists related to the Centre, in order to cut down the information received on violations, by neutralizing activists who provide reliable information. Background Information: This comes after Riot police as well as heavily armed masked officers in civilian clothes blockaded several villages following some skirmishes which took place between some demonstrators and riot police at the end the 3rd day Vigil of Ali Jassim Makki, 32 years, Jidhafs who died, according to reports, as a result of riot polices excessive use of force during a demonstration which took place on Monday the 17th of December, 2007. The demonstration is an annual commemoration of Bahraini Citizens who were killed through excessive use of force and torture during the period of political unrest in Bahrain. The BCHR and the BYSHR calls on all Organizations and Societies working towards the protection of Rights activists to do all that is in their power and within their means to secure:

1. The unconditional release of the activists 2. Guarantees from the Bahraini authorities that the activists are not subjected to any sort of harassment or human rights violations during interrogation and detention. 3. The halt of these barbaric and overly exaggerated armed arrests which are done with little or no sensitivity towards the privacy of the activists or their family. 4. The protection of other Human and Civil Rights activists in Bahrain who we fear may be arrested as a result of the recent chain of arrests and crackdown.