10 Feb, 2014

Actor Sadiq AlShaabani: Arrested in Oman, Handed to Bahrain Authorities, Subjected to Enforced Disappearance

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses grave concern about the well-being of Bahraini actor Sadiq Jaffar Mansoor AlShaabani, 31 years old, who was arrested by intelligence agents in Oman on the 27th of January 2014. According to information received by the BCHR, Omani authorities handed AlShaabani over to Bahraini authorities on the same day of his arrest. Until the time of publishing this statement, AlShaabani’s whereabouts and condition remain unknown. AlShaabani has not been allowed access to a lawyer or his family, nor has he been allowed any phone calls. His family made several attempts to inquire about his wellbeing with the authorities in Bahrain, to no avail. Authorities in Bahrain continue to practice systematic torture in order to obtain confessions to use against them in court when subjecting individuals to enforced disappearance as has been documented by the BCHR repeatedly.

Sadiq AlShaabani is known actor in Bahrain, mostly in the drama genre, from BiladAlQadeem, and was previously arrested during the State of National Safety in 2011. His arrest lasted for two months and twenty days after his picture was broadcast on Bahrain National television during a campaign to defame individuals who had participated in the popular pro-democracy protest movement. During that period of arrest, AlShaabani was reportedly subjected to torture as was revealed after his release. Among the various types of torture used, he was subjected to:

  1. Hanging from the joints
  2. Electric shocks
  3. Sexual harassment
  4. Severe beatings on all parts of the body
  5. Forced to stand for several consecutive days
  6. Cold water poured on him, then put in the “freezer”
  7. Denial of drinking water
  8. Degrading and humiliating treatment (forced to make animal sounds)

AlShaabani was sentenced to two months imprisonment on charges of participating in illegal protests against the regime. In addition, he was fired from his job at the University of Bahrain during the period when more than 4000 people were fired from their jobs in 2011 as retribution for the pro-democracy protests. Almost a year ago, AlShaabani was put on the “wanted” list, which forced him into hiding and then to leave the country in fear of anticipated arrest and torture. None of those implicated in AlShaabani’s former arbitrary arrest and torture were held accountable, thus there is imminent fear that the violations against him will be repeated.

Sadiq AlShaabani’s family notified the Bahrain Center for Human Rights that they inquired about him at the Central Informatics Directorate (CID), as well as different police stations. Everyone they spoke to denied having any information on AlShaabani or having him in their custody. The second time the family inquired about him at the CID, they were told that they will receive a phone call from the CID, which implies that AlShaabani is in their custory. The CID has become infamous for practicing systematic torture to obtain confessions from civilians during the first period of their arrest, usually during enforced disappearance.

The family added that they received a summons for SadiqAlShaabani on Tuesday, 4th February 2014, to appear before the Fourth Criminal Court. In the summons, AlShaabani was considered to have not attended the first court session. The judiciary system is either not aware or covering up the fact that SadiqAlShaabani is in custody and subjected to enforced disappearance, which further escalates the concern for AlShaabani’s wellbeing. AlShaabani’s lawyer, Mohammed AlMarzoog, submitted a request to the public prosecution to reveal AlShaabani’s place of detention; in addition to submitting a letter to the court stressing on the importance of bringing AlShaabani to his next court session on the 16th of Febraury 2014. His request to the public prosecution was denied, and he received no response from the court.

It is important to note that Sadiq AlShaabani’s brother, Baqer AlShaabani, is serving a three year prison sentence since May 2011 on charges of participating in the peaceful protests during February 2011. The AlShaabani family notified the BCHR that Baqer started a hunger strike in prison demanding that authorities reveal his brother’s whereabouts.

The authorities in Bahrain had recently revealed that one of the victims of enforced disappearance had died after he had been shot and forcefully disappeared for 18 days.

The BCHR considers the continuation of the practice of systematic enforced disappearance and torture to be evidence that the Government of Bahrain has not initiated a reform process, but rather continues to use methods that violate basic rights in an attempt to prevent protests against the regime. The continuation of these practices also comes as a direct result of the continued policy of the culture of impunity which is practiced by the highest authorities in government.

Based on the above, the BCHR calls on the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Nations and all other close allies and relevant international institutions to pressure the Government of Bahrain to:

  1. Immediately reveal SadiqAlShaabani’s whereabouts and allow him access to his lawyer and family.
  2. The immediate and unconditional release of SadiqAlShaabani and all other political prisoners who are being targeted due to participating in the pro-democracy protests.
  3. Put an end to the systematic practice of subjecting civilians to enforced disappearance, and to ratify the convention on the “International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance”
  4. Hold to account all those implicated in cases of torture, especially those in high positions who hold administrative responsibility for the ongoing systematic use of torture.
9 Feb, 2014

Bahrain King: Up to 7 Years Imprisonment if You Insult Me!

Bahrain King passes new amendment to Article 214 that allows up to 7 years imprisonment for insulting him

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses grave concern about the continued crackdown on the right to freedom of expression. Hamad Alkhalifa, Head of Executive, Judiciary and Government of Bahrain, issued an amendment to the 1976 Penal Code, Article 214 on the 4th of February 2014 stating:

“a punishment of imprisonment for a period of no less than one year and no more than seven years and a fine of no less than BD1,000 and no more than BD 10,000 will be inflicted upon any person who offends in public the Monarch of the Kingdom of Bahrain, the flag or the national emblem” [1]It is not specified within the language of the law what constitutes as an offence, and by leaving it vague it allows space to criminalize any form of criticism of the King.

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights recently released a report about civilians targeted due to practicing their right to freedom of expression by criticizing the King of Bahrain, and were charged with “insulting the king”. The BCHR has documented around 30 cases in 2013 alone wherein people were charged, tried or detained for “insulting the King” because of public speeches, online posts or other forms of peaceful expression. At least seven were sentenced to one year’s imprisonment, more than ten are awaiting trial and at least two including a journalist are currently on trial.[2]

The new amendment allows the already problematic judiciary system, which is not independent  nor fair, to sentence civilians to maximum seven years imprisonment and up to BHD 10,000 (equivalent to 26,525 US Dollars) for practicing their right to free expression.

This new amendment to Article 214 of the penal code violates people’s basic rights as guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and conventions that Bahrain is signatory to. Article 19 of the UDHR states: (Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.)

The BCHR believes this latest step comes as an escalation to the ongoing crackdown against freedom of speech, and as a result to the increase of civilians criticizing and mocking the king of Bahrain due to the continuous use of excessive force. The head of the government and supreme commander of the Bahrain Defense Force, Hamad Alkhalifa, is placing himself outside the limits of criticism by issuing this amendment. By making himself the head of all governments during his unilateral change to the constitution in 2002, and as head of the ruling monarchy in Bahrain, Hamad Alkhalifa has placed himself in a position for public criticism.

Based on the above, the BCHR calls on the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Nations and all other allies and relevant international institutions to pressure the Government of Bahrain to:

  1. Immediately repeal the new amendment to Article 214, and all other laws that infringe on people’s basic rights as guaranteed by the UDHR.
  2. Reform the Judiciary system so that it abides by international standards of due process and fair trials.
  3. Hold all those who issue and implement abusive laws against civilians in Bahrain accountable, especially those in high positions.
  4. Immediately allow space for the people of Bahrain to practice their right to free expressions, as well as freedom of assembly and association without fear of retribution.

Maryam Al Khawaja at TEDxLecce

3 Feb, 2014

Bahrain: Abducted, Beaten and Threatened

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses concern about the continuation of grave violations including abduction of civilians, severe beatings and leaving them in a stranded area. These actions appear to come as a form of punishment and threat for those who participate in pro-democracy protests in the country. The BCHR has document numerous such cases in different areas that witness daily protests demanding the right to self-determination.

A civilian, who asked to remain unnamed for safety reasons, told the BCHR that he was abducted by security forces on the 17th of January 2014. He was reportedly severely beaten with different weapons and blunt objects. He added that he was verbally abused, and the security forces used very derogatory sectarian terms during the beating. The victim was then taken to Karraneh beach, where he thought he would be dumped, but the security forces continued to beat him until he lost consciousness after which they left. A number of Karraneh residents found him and moved him to a house where he was treated by a volunteer nurse as he feared anticipated arrest if he were to go to the hospital.

Photo: Injuries of the citizen who was abducted

The BCHR has documented many similar cases like the Karraneh victim; one of the latest being two victims who were abducted in Bilad AlQadeem on the 11th of January 2014. The two victims, whose names are also withheld for safety reasons, stated to the BCHR that they were abducted by security forces, tied and blindfolded, then severely beaten. These two victims also reported verbal abuse, and the constant use of sectarian derogatory terms. The victims added that the security forces threatened them to stop protesting or they will come back for them; they were released approximately an hour later.

Photos: Injuries of the two young men who were abducted and beaten in Bilad Al-Qadeem

At a time when the authorities in Bahrain claim that security forces adhere to the rules of Police Conduct and that this guarantees their best behavior while on duty, the BCHR has documented numerous cases of abductions, including children; when the victims are subjected to severe beatings then released with threats that they must stop protesting or face further consequences. In several cases victims were forced to work as informants for the police. Recommendation number (1722 - c) of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry stated: “To implement an extensive program of public order training for the public security forces, the NSA and the BDF, including their private security companies, in accordance with UN best practices. To ensure future compliance with the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, and the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, the security forces should be trained in the human rights dimensions of detention and interrogation, and in particular the obligation to refuse to participate in any actions involving torture and other prohibited ill-treatment.

The BCHR believes that these practices are meant to create a culture of fear to prevent people from their legitimate right to peaceful protest. These violations and the continuation of other violations come as a direct result of the culture of impunity implemented by the highest levels of the government. The same officials in charge of similar violations documented in the BICI report continue in their positions, unless promoted, thus the continuation of these violations come as no surprise.

Based on the above, the BCHR calls on the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Nations and all other ally governments and relevant international institutions to:

  1. Immediately intervene to put an end to these abductions which are used to terrorize people and end protests
  2. Pressure Bahrain to respect the conventions that Bahrain is signatory to, and to uphold the Universal Declaration of Human rights, especially that related to freedom of expression and assembly
  3. Hold the Government of Bahrain accountable internationally as it has proved impossible to do so locally

The BCHR calls on the Government of Bahrain to:

  1. Launch an independent and impartial investigation into the abductions
  2. Hold accountable all those involved, especially those in high positions
  3. Allow space for people to practice their right to free expression and peaceful protest without terrorizing civilians or creating fear
  4. Compensate all victims of violations committed by the Government of Bahrain
28 Jan, 2014

Bahrain must abide by its own laws and immediately release leading human rights defender Nabeel Rajab

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) and the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) expresses grave concern regarding the Bahraini authorities’ treatment of Nabeel Rajab, imprisoned President of the BCHR and General Secretary of GCHR, in addition to their refusal to grant him early release that he is eligible for as per the law. A request for early release was submitted by Nabeel Rajab’s lawyers on 21 January 2014 to the Court but it was rejected without any reasons given.

On 21 January 2014, the penalty enforcement judge once again rejected a request that was submitted on the same day to release leading human rights defender Bahrain Center for Human Rights President Nabeel Rajab. Before passing judgment, the judge reportedly did not a take any action to investigate whether conditions for early release had been met. This is the third attempt submitted by Rajab’s lawyers requesting his release, based on article 349 of Code of Criminal Procedures which sets conditions for early release. These are as follows: three quarters of the sentence has already been served, trustworthy good behavior during detention and the imprisoned person is not a threat to public security. Although these conditions apply to Rajab’s case, all requests submitted by his lawyers were rejected. (See about previous requests on http://bahrainrights.org/en/node/6635)

In the letter submitted to the judge on 21 Jan 2014, Nabeel Rajab’s lawyer provided evidence of his eligibility for early release and complained about the discrimination against Rajab in applying the law of early release, as well as the harm he suffered because of the prolonged delay in responding to his request which was submitted to the Court of Cassation to suspend the sentence. 

The evidence provided by Rajab’s lawyer is detailed below:

 (Following are excerpts from the letter submitted to the court)

 

First: the availability of the conditions of the conditional release of our client:

  1. In regards to showing trustworthy behaviour while in prison, that condition is met by our client and nothing at any time has been provided by the prison administration that may contradict that, especially as  it has been proved that he took the initiative while in prison to report to the prison administration, Public Prosecution and General Secretariat of Complaints at the Ministry of Interior a about  torture that took place and that was committed by some of the members and officers of the Ministry of Interior against some inmates inside Jaw Prison.

Based on this report, the Public Prosecution began to investigate the matter according to a statement issued by the Chief Prosecutor, Head of the Special Investigation Unit, Nawaf Hamza, on 7/12/2013, published by Bahrain News Agency (BNA) where it stated the Chief Prosecutor’s confirmation, ‘the Special Unit received a report from the sentenced Nabeel Rajab about a number of inmates at the Facility of Correction and Rehabilitation being subjected to abuse by some policemen, and the Unit initiated an investigation into the incident as soon as it received the report’.

This confirms that our client is trustworthy: his statement about the incident corresponded with the investigation carried out by the General Secretariat of Complaints and Special Investigation Unit at the Public Prosecution and which ended with referring the defendants who are members of the public security forces to court.

In this context, it is noteworthy that our client had taken the initiative as soon as he knew about the crime to inform the Administration of Jaw’s Prison about it, however the prison administration did nothing indeed, it interrupted and disconnected our client’s phone call when he was about to tell his wife about the incident, with the aim of conveying the information to his lawyer, so that the latter could inform the official channels on his behalf.

  1. As to the condition that the sentenced person would not cause a threat to public security, our client’s charges are limited to offenses related to peacefully practising freedom of expression and opinion while carrying out his duties as a human rights defender, and thus, he naturally does not form any threat to public security.
  2. As to the third condition regarding the period the sentenced has spent in prison, our client has spent more than 20 months which exceeds three fourths of his prison sentence of two years. Our client has spent detention periods at Hura Police Station pending the hearing of cases in which he was accused , as follows:
    • In case no 4705/2012 he spent 15 days in detention from 5/5/2012 until 20/5/2012.
    • In case no 4947/2012 he spent 8 days from 20/5/2012 until 28/5/2012.
    • In case no 5807/2012 he spent 21 days from 6/6/2012 until 27/6/2012.

The total number of days our client has spent in detention is 15+8+21=44 days

The penalty was implemented from 9/ 7/2012 until now, i.e. 558 days. Hence, the total amount he has spent in jail is 558+44=602 days, which exceeds 20 months, more than three fourths of his sentence period.

 

Second: submitting a request from the Prison Warden is not a condition for release:

 The law does not require that the release is guaranteed by submitting a request from the prison warden. Article 350 of the Law of Criminal Procedure states that the conditional release is by order of the Judge of Penalty Implementation, on the basis of evidence provided by the Manager of Penal Facilities. Submitting a request from the prison warden is just a matter of regulatory procedure, in cases where the sentenced cannot make a request himself. Thus, it is not a requirement to be eligible for release, as it is inconceivable that legislation would intend to mortgage the inherent right of a sentenced to the will or mood of an administrative body.

Henceforth, the sentenced person can submit a request considering him an inherent right and interest holder, and in this matter the Judge of Implementation asks the prison administration about the whether the detained person has met the aforementioned first and third condition, regarding the behaviour of the sentenced person prison and whether or not he had spent three fourths of his prison sentence.

Note that we had submitted two letters on 9/9/2013 and 25/11/2013,  to the Director of the Correction and Rehabilitation Facility Lieutenant Colonel  Mohammed Rashid Al-Hoseini requesting the conditional release of our client, and for his name to be included  among those exempted from the remaining sentence period, However the prison administration did nothing in that regard.

 

Third: the availability of evidence of discrimination against our client:

It is confirmed from what has been presented that the prison administration neglected the report submitted by our client regarding the crime committed by its employees, and it also ignored or did not respond to his requests for conditional release or to exempt him from the remaining sentence period. However, and according to information published in the Official Gazette regarding the release of 208 prisoners in October 2013 and the release of 172 prisoners in January 2014, we know that, the administration handles hundreds of releases constantly whether through conditional release or exemption from the remaining sentence period.

Based on the above, it has been proven to your Justice that our client is being subjected to discrimination by excluding him from conditional release provisions or exemption from the remaining sentence period despite the fact that all the prescribed requirements have been met according to the law.

It seems that depriving him from his right to conditional release is part of a broader campaign against human rights defenders, aimed at silencing the voices that condemn human rights violations in Bahrain, human rights violations that have been documented in official reports such as the report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) established by his Majesty the King, and by several UN institutions such as the UN Human Rights Council.

Human rights defenders in Bahrain have shed light on these human rights violations with the aim of putting an end to their  continuation and holding those responsible for them accountable, in order to maintain human dignity and rights as called for by the country’s constitution.

 

Fourth: persistence to harm our client by postponing the decision on his urgent request to stop the implementation of the sentence against him:

In addition to  the above , at a time when our client is being discriminated against by the prison administration, that is associated with a carelessness in making a decision to stop the implementation of the sentence against him which he submitted to the Court of Cassation in the list of appealing the discrimination in the current sentence that is being implemented; the appeal was submitted on 10/1/2013, more than a year ago, and a court session has not been specified to look into the urgent request to stop the implementation until now, although an urgent request has been made to the Court of Cassation.

Based on the above, we ask of Your Justice, after enquiring from the prison administration about the good conduct of our client and the prison sentence he has already served, to issue a conditional release order for our client Mr / Nabeel Ahmed Rajab immediately.

His lawyer stated that all documents and proofs were submitted with the letter, however, the judge did not  ask the prison administration to confirm the  time that Rajab has already served or about his behavior and  rejected the request on the same day, without providing any justification and without replying to the discrimination complaint.

The GCHR and BCHR believes that Nabeel Rajab is being subjected to discrimination by the Bahraini authorities  and that the reason for denying him the legitimate right to early release is because of his activities as a human rights defender.  

 

Therefore, the GCHR and the BCHR calls on the US administration, the UK government, the EU and other governments that have influence on the Bahraini authorities  and  leading human rights organizations to call the Bahraini government to abide by its own laws and immediately release leading human rights defender Nabeel Rajab.

27 Jan, 2014

Bahrain: Victim of Enforced Disappearance confirmed dead after being shot by police

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights is appalled by the news of the extra-judicial killing of 19-year-old Fadhel Abbas Muslim Marhoon by police fire, following 18 days of his enforced disappearance.

On Wednesday January 8, 2014, 17-year-old Sadeq Jaffar Alasafoor, 19-year-old Fadhel Abbas Muslim, and 18-year-old Ali AbdulAmir were subjected to violent arrest by the police while visiting a released prisoner in the village of Markh. The three youth were reportedly chased by members of the National Security Forces who opened fire, injuring two of them. They were subsequently arrested and held incommunicado. The Ministry of the Interior released a statement the following day, stating that arrests were made “regarding the involvement of suspects in the smuggling of weapons and explosives”, resulting in the injury of two suspects during their attempt to escape when one tried to run over the police with his car and the other was believed to be reaching for a weapon[1]. No information pertaining to the whereabouts and wellbeing of their sons was ever provided. Furthermore, the family was not provided with basic information as to who was arrested or who was injured. Subsequently, according to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the three youth were subject to enforced disappearance since the incident. (refer to BCHR Statement /en/node/6730)

An eye witness contacted the BCHR and gave the following testimony (name withheld for safety reasons):

“Around 11pm I heard shooting, it was several shots and very loud. Approximately 10 minutes later I got up on the roof of the house, and I saw three civilian cars and people running. The place where the incident took place is where laborers live, and it’s a pretty big open space. Five minutes later, approximately riot police vehicles arrived to the place of the incident, followed by two ambulances who arrived and left rapidly. More riot police vehicles arrived accompanied by NSA vehicles who stayed at the site of the incident until 5am before leaving.”

Further evidence of this enforced disappearance is given by Fadhel Abbas Muslim’s father who went to Budaiya police station where he was told there were no detainees with his son’s name. He sought further answers at the Salmaniya Medical Complex but was again told his son was not hospitalized. Finally, he went to the Military hospital where he was immediately escorted out.

There was no official communication to the family throughout the 18 days following the January 8 incident. Fadhel Abbas Muslim was held incommunicado in an unknown condition, at unknown location until he was finally announced dead by the Ministry of the Interior on January 26, 2014.

To further exacerbate the situation, The Ministry of the Interior claimed in a statement released on January 26, 2014 that Fadhel Abbas Muslim was injured “while resisting arrest”, “intentionally trying to run over the policemen, who were forced to use their weapons to defend themselves”[2]. However, the deceased suffered a wound in both the back of his head and in the back of his leg indicating that he was shot from behind. Additionally, bruises were seen on the head and several areas of Fadhel’s body indicating that he was subject to brutal beating at time of arrest.

According to medical sources, who have viewed photos of the injury suffered by Fadhel, there are no marks of surgical interference, indicating that his condition was beyond surgical intervention.

 

Photos of Fadhel Abbas' body (Very graphic)

 

The Ministry of the Interior has labeled all the victims as criminals, despite the fact that the father of Fadhel and the father of Sadeq were not given any information regarding if charges were filed against their sons when they were seeking information at the police station. For example, Sadeq AlAsfoorhas no criminal cases logged against him in the police electronic system, as per what his father was told at the police station. Sadeq AlAsfoor, the other victim of shooting, has been subject to enforced disappearance for over 15 days before his family was finally allowed to briefly see him at the prisoner’s clinic at the HQ of the Ministry of the Interior, on Friday January 24, 2014, under security presence and with restrictions on their talk limited to his medical condition. Sadeq’s family was made aware that he was injured in his kidneys, stomach, and back, despite a clear mark of operation in his belly. It was not clear how many bullets were removed from his body.

This is not the first incident of violent arrest leaving serious injury. In December 2012, BCHR reported the shooting of a young man in the face by police, as they were trying to arrest his companion.[3]

At the funeral of Fadhel on January 26, 2014, security forces once again dealt with mourners and protesters in the same violent manner as February 2011, with shotgun and excessive tear gas fire. Serious injuries by shotgun fire in the upper parts of the body were reported.

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights has continuously documented the cases of extra-judicial killing since 2011, but no one has been held adequately accountable for any of the over 80 cases. In the few show trials held for low-rank policemen, the passed sentenced ranged between a few months after appeals to acquittal. [4] The widespread systematic culture of impunity and the absence of international pressure are encouraging more extra-judicial killing by the government of Bahrain.

The BCHR calls on the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Nations and all other allies and international institutions to put pressure on the Government of Bahrain to

  • Stop its use of excessive force in dealing with peaceful citizens and end the systematic policy of impunity,
  • Immediately initiate an impartial and independent investigation into the killing of Fadhel Abbas and all other victims of extrajudicial killings, and hold all those involved in the killing accountable, especially those in high positions who gave the orders.
  • To consider a meaningful solution to resolve the persistent political issues of instability in the country.

 

 

23 Jan, 2014

Bahrain: Enforced Disappearance of Detainees and Injured with Security Forces’ Bullets and Preventing their Families from being Reassured about their Health Condition

Detention of the Writer and Islamic Researcher Mahmood Al-Mousawi on the Charge of Hiding a Wanted Person

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses its concern for the security practices and use of excessive force, including firing live bullets in residential neighbourhoods during an arrest which resulted in injuries among other people. The BCHR also condemns the regime’s continued practices of forced disappearances and whose victims were the writer and Islamic researcher Sayed Mahmood Adnan Al-Mousawi and the wanted Ali Abdulameer – 18 years old, Sayed Mahmood Al-Mousawi’s relative who was arrested after the security apparatuses had chased them, and as a result of that his friends Sadiq Al-Asfoor and Fadhel Abbas were shot with live bullets before arresting them all. Until now the families of detained victims and injured have not been provided with a chance to contact their families to be reassured about their health condition and place of detention.

According to the information received by the BCHR, the three youth Ali Abdulameer (18 years old), Sadiq Al-Asfoor (17 years old) and Fadhel Abbas (19 years old) were in a visit to a person who had been released recently in the village of Markh on the night of 8 January 2014, when they were chased by the security apparatuses who were targeting Ali Abdulameer; live bullets where shot at the youth in an attempt to arrest them, and which resulted in the injury of Sadiq Al-Asfoor and Fadhel Abbas; they were arrested with their injuries along with Ali Abdulameer. The Ministry of Interior posted on its official account on the social media network Twitter on the night of the incident that its men were able to ‘arrest a number of accused in an operation to smuggle explosives and an arms depot and the injury of two while attempting to escape and running over policemen[i]. No information was provided directly to the families of detainees and injured that could confirm their arrest or health condition.

The BCHR indicates that the use of live bullets in a residential area to arrest a wanted person is a type of use of unbalanced excessive force and which puts the lives of civilians at risk; while the need to use it was not apparent.

Manipulating the families of injured detainees and putting off giving them their right to contact their sons

Although two weeks have passed since the shooting incident, the families of Sadiq Al-Asfoor and Fadhel Abbas are still unable to be reassured about the health condition of their children or their place of detention, despite the confirmed information of them facing injuries on the night of the incident. On the next day of the incident 9 January 2014, Sadiq Al-Asfoor’s father headed towards Salmaniya Medical Complex and then to BDF hospital to enquire about his son Sadiq, however the officials at both hospitals denied knowing any information about his son or about being entered to the hospital. Sadiq’s father then headed to Budaiya’s police station, then to the Public Prosecution who also denied having any information about Sadiq, and even when they checked their electronic system they could not find any cases registered against him.

On 16 January 2014, Sadiq Al-Asfoor’s father received a call that is believed to be from the Criminal Investigation’s side informing them that Sadiq is in the hospital and that they have to coordinate with the Public Prosecution if they wished to visit him. Sadiq’s father attempted to coordinate a visit on the same day with the Public Prosecution, however they told him that it was late (2 o’clock pm) and that he had to wait until Sunday to try again. On Sunday he was informed that he had to write a letter requesting a visit, and although he wrote a letter on the same day 19 January 2014, he did not receive any response even with the end of the working week. Later, he was told that he had to write a new letter because the previous letter becomes ineffective after the end of the week.

Detaining Sayed Mahmood Al-Mousawi on the grounds of covering up and the enforced disappearance of Abdulameer after being subjected to beating

The family of the detainee, the writer and Islamic researcher Syed Mahmood Sayed Adnan Sayed Ali Al-Mousawi stated that at the dawn of Thursday 9 January 2014, civilian forces, backed up by regime forces, raided Sayed Mahmood’s house[ii] in the village of Bani Jamra, and they searched the house and tampered the contents without showing permission for that. They added that the forces were escorted by a blindfolded youngster and every now and then they were asking him about the place where the weapons were hidden. Al-Mousawi’s family stated that the youngster was in a miserable state; his clothes were torn and there were signs of blood streaming down his face. Given that his face features had changed, apparently from the extreme beating, the family was only able to recognize and identify him at a later time as the activist Ali Abdulameer who was arrested in a mysterious manner the night before.

Photo – the result of the security raid of Sayed Mahmood’ house

 

The family mentioned that the forces had left the house for a few moments and then returned to Hashim (12 years old) – Sayed Mahmood’s son – and asked him how well he knew Ali Abdulameer and when he denied knowing him they threatened to arrest and torture him.  In an attempt to intimidate him, the forces took his number and asked him to work with the intelligence by informing them about the timings of protests in Bani Jamra. They then went to the rooms and started searching them; they confiscated an amount of money, two phones, two computers, some books and family albums. Then they arrested Sayed Mahmood and took him to an unknown destination. On 12 January 2014, Sayed Al-Mousawi was brought forth to the Public Prosecution who ordered his detention for 7 days on the charge of covering up and his detention was renewed for another extra 10 days on 19 January 2014 where he is currently being held at the Dry Dock Prison. It’s worth mentioning that Sayed Mahmood Al-Mousawi is an Islamic researcher and writer known in cultural circles, and the author of 20 books, in addition to writing several researches and attending conferences, and writing articles for newspapers, and participating in civil society institutes, as well as being one of the founders of Al-Resalah Islamic Society in Bahrain. [iii]

Ali Abdulameer did not get a chance to obtain any information about his place of detention or his health condition since his arrest. They only received a few seconds’ calls telling them words that seem dictated that ‘he is fine’. It is feared that he will be subjected to further torture after the way he appeared in during the house raid of Sayed Al-Mousawi.

These types of cases of excessive use of force upon arrest and which reaches attempted murder is not the first of its type, the BCHR had previously monitored in December 2012 a shooting incident against a youth that was not wanted for security reasons and he suffered a serious injury in the face when the security forces attempted to arrest the other youngster escorting him.[iv]

The BCHR believes that the spread of these practices is clear evidence that there is green light from supreme bodies allowing junior officers and members of security apparatuses to continue to commit violations especially amid the lack of accountability and control and the prevalence of impunity.

Based on the above, the BCHR calls on the United States, United Kingdom and United Nations and all the regime’s close allies and relevant international institutions to:

  • Immediately and unconditionally release all political prisoners;
  • Put an end to the use of excessive force when dealing with cases of arrest and peaceful protests;
  • Allow parents of the injured detainees Sadiq Al-Asfoor and Fadhel Abbas to contact their families and to be reassured about their health condition;
  • Put pressure on the regime in Bahrain to take into account and maintain human rights;
  • Put pressure for the intervention of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights;
  • Trial Bahrain internationally for the continuous and constant violations of the international conventions and treaties it had already endorsed.

It also calls on the regime in Bahrain to:                                                       

  • Stop practicing and pursuing the policy of enforced disappearances;
  • Hold all those implicated in the violations and torture accountable whether by supervision and / or order and subject them to questioning, especially the higher ranking ones.
4 Dec, 2013

I've Been Forced into Exile for Defending Human Rights in My Home Country, Bahrain

I am not going back to my country. 

It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made. But I made it to continue doing the work that matters most to me: documenting the human rights violations in Bahrain that have been ongoing since protests for change began in February 2011. I will stay abroad and work from exile for the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) after receiving numerous death threats for launching a campaign to hold officials accountable for torture.

The BCHR launched a campaign called "Wanted for Justice" from Nov. 1 to Nov. 23, which has involved publishing the names and photos of people responsible for human rights violations in Bahrain. Many of these offenses have gone unpunished. What we want is simple: We want their crimes to be known internationally, and the perpetrators must be held accountable and given fair trials.

We've listed 59 people in our report. The allegations range from torturing protesters to arbitrary arrests. The list covers lower level police officers, to Bahrain's King Hamad himself. 

Despite promises of reform and the government-commissioned Bahrain Independent Commission for Inquiry (BICI) report, the situation on the ground is still grim. Human rights violations will only continue as long as those responsible for carrying out torture go unpunished. 

Bahrain's Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa (who took office in 1971) is shown here with Lt. Colonel Mubarak Huwail after he was acquitted of charges related to torturing doctors who treated injured protesters in 2011.

 

Read on http://www.policymic.com/articles/74665/i-ve-been-forced-into-exile-for-defending-human-rights-in-my-home-country-bahrain

Know the facts: Migrant Rights in the Gulf

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