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BCHR:An Example of Discrimination Violating the Law in Granting Citizenship

The Case of Al Satrawi’s Extended Family: An Example of Discrimination Violating the Law in Granting Citizenship

Al Haj Saleh bin Ahmad Al Satrawi, is a Bahraini citizen from Sitra Island, whom Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid bin Abd Al Wahab Al Khalifa disagreed with on the possession of a piece of land. The court released in its book, issue nr. 1439 for the year 1356 Hijri, under the management of the Bahrain government’s counsellor, a default judgement that only a quarter of the land is for Al Haj Saleh. Because Al Haj Saleh considered the courts judgement unjust and bias, he did not accept it. He was attacked in his home and he was exposed to an attempt on his life, so he fled with his children to Iraq, and that was in the year 1938.

In a dated letter on Ramadan 16th 1356 Hijri, the Bahrain government’s counsellor wrote to Al Haj Saleh bin Ahmad Al Satrawi in his residence in Basra: ‘In reference to your undated book regarding what you claim about Mohammed bin Rashid Al Khalifa, the case has been resolved and you got a quarter of the palm trees. Therefore the lawsuit is over and there is no need to constantly send letters in this regard.’

Al Haj Saleh used to hold passport nr. 19 and a citizenship certificate nr. 438 and he used to hold residence identification in the Basra province issued in the year 1939. He passed away in Basra in the year 1946. Two of his sons are still alive and they hold the old Bahraini passports. The number of children and grandchildren are now almost 100 person, most of them still live in Basra in Iraq.

In the year 1957, all the Iraqis including the residents were added up, and the family of Al Haj Saleh was considered Iraqi and they got the Iraqi citizenship. However, in the year 1986 an order was issued from the Iraqi government to denaturalize all residents whose grandparents held residents before the population statistic of 1957 and getting a residence was regarded illegal because they concealed their real identity. As a result of that they got exposed to a lot of harassments.

We have documents that were released by the Iraqi government circulating to all quarters and universities that the children of Al Haj Saleh Al Satrawi are not Iraqis, but are holders of the Bahraini citizenship. That greatly influenced the way they were treated by official bodies, their children’s studies in university, job applications and even in getting ration cards during the economic blockade on Iraq. The children of Al Haj Saleh suffered from a lot of insults when consulting governmental departments, especially when the relation between the Iraqi government and the Gulf States became tense. Some of their children were also not issued residence cards. They are currently working in the low level jobs despite that some of them hold university certificates.

In April 1989, Hashim Abd Al Razaq tried entering Bahrain along with his father, as Abd Al Razaq carried the old Bahraini passport, but they were held in the airport for three days, then they were deported to Baghdad. In the year 1990, the children of Al Haj Saleh consulted the Bahraini embassy in Baghdad, and they were given certificates proving that they requested getting passports in order to help them in dealing with the Iraqi authorities. During Iraq’s invasion on Kuwait, members of the family went to the Bahraini embassy in Kuwait, as the Bahraini community was residing in the embassy. The children of Al Haj Saleh went through many risks to supply food and to deliver the wax sealed correspondences between the Bahraini embassies in Kuwait and Baghdad. They received a letter of certificate regarding that from the ambassador.

However, the children of Al Haj Saleh stayed until this moment without benefiting from the right of getting a passport and the freedom of mobility. In the year 1995, some of them tried to leave Iraq with women and children, after getting visas for Jordan. But at the borders of Jordan, they were investigated for many hours and then were returned to Iraq and were told to ask the Iraqi authorities for the reason.

On October 10th, 2000, in a verdict pronounced from the High Civil Court in Bahrain, in a lawsuit filed by 6 of Saleh Al Satrawi’s grandchildren against the Directorate of Immigration and Passports, the verdict was pronounced compelling the defendant to issue Bahraini passports to the suitors. That is based on the defendants being Bahrainis by ancestry according to what article 4 from the citizenship law of the year 1963 states, as there father is of a Bahraini nationality and has a Bahraini passport.

However, in a reply from the Ministry of Internal Affairs to a letter from the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), dated January 6th, 2004 the following was mentioned: ‘According to the provisions of article (3) of the Bahraini citizenship law for year 1963, amended by the announcement nr. 11/1963, (the family of Al Haj Saleh Al Satrawi) are not considered Bahrainis, knowing that a verdict was pronounced from the Supreme Court regarding that by an appeal numbered 323/2002’

The family is currently spread in different countries: almost 75 in Iraq, 7 people in Kuwait and 17 sought refuge in Europe by the help of the United Nations after being forced to leave Kuwait after the war. Sixty six of Al Haj Saleh’s children and grandchildren are Bahrainis and legally have the right to obtain passports and to return to their country, Bahrain.

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) released certificates entitling the members of this family refuge because they were deprived of their original citizenship and their right in returning to their country Bahrain. In a follow-up to one of the family’s member’s case with one of the Bahraini Diplomatic Missions outside, it was said to the Commission’s delegate that the reason for not permitting their return to Bahrain is that their grandfather led an attempt to break up Sitra Island!!

Subsequent to when Sheikh Hamad bin Isa came to power, the family wrote to him a group of letters requiring returning to Bahrain. They told us that a bargain was made in order to grant them passports as long as they renounce their old properties, and some of them were ready for that on the condition of actually securing the ability of regaining the citizenship. After the Iraqi regime’s downfall, as I was on a visit to Basra among the delegation of Amnesty International, they came to present their case. They are currently in constant touch with the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), as they requested from the BCHR to follow-up their case.

The case of Al Haj Saleh Al Satrawi’s family is not an isolated case, yet it is an exemplar case which discloses the regime’s nature and its procedures. Through this case, the governorship of the law can be tested, and the nature of the Bahraini citizenship law and its efficiency. The case of Al Haj Saleh’s family can be compared to the cases of thousands of tribal Syrians, Yemenis and Saudi Arabians who were granted the citizenship secretly without meeting the criteria, and even though they hold another effective citizenship. This reveals the manipulation in the law, abuse of power, corruption and racial and sectarian discrimination in granting the Bahraini citizenship.

The story of Al Haj Saleh’s family is the story of Bahrain, and it shows to what extent there is need for a real reform that makes Bahrain a state of law, and not the possession of a group or certain family that acts the way it wishes to.

Safety of Migrant Workers Neglected Yet Again by Bahraini Authorities and Companies

16 Indian Workers die following Fire in Building Crammed with 200 workers Bahrain Centre for Human Rights

Ref: 01080600

The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights received with great concern, the news of the death of 16 Indian workers following a fire in a three storey building in Gudaibiya at 2:30 AM on Sunday the 30th of July, 2006. According to the Bahraini Gulf Daily News, the building is said to have accommodated over 200 workers, 196 of them escaped while 11 were moved to the hospital for treatment. The Bahraini Premier stated that Municipal Officers had warned the company leasing the building that the condition of the building was dangerous last January, but that the company had done nothing in regards.

Although the Cabinet has ordered an enquiry into the accident, the BCHR feels that this is insufficient and there is an urgent need to improve working conditions as well as insure the safety of Migrant Workers in Bahrain, as there seems to be a recurring pattern of fatal accidents amongst the lower paid migrant workers. The Ministry must take upon itself the responsibility of insuring that health and safety conditions are met by all companies operating in Bahrain, and a crackdown on offenders is deemed necessary. The working condition that many migrant workers have to live in violate international working standards that deem safety and security as a necessity in the working environment. It falls upon the Ministry and the authorities in Bahrain to regulate and monitor companies, and not rely solely on warning companies without follow up and without penalizing offenders who place so little value upon the lives of their under paid laborers. Furthermore the BCHR calls upon the embassies of all Migrant Workers to play a more positive role in insuring that their citizens who come to Bahrain as migrant workers are placed in suitable working environments and that they require of the Bahraini authorities to take the matter of penalizing offenders seriously.

The Bahraini community needs to play a more active role in prohibiting companies from abusing migrant workers and underpaid workers. Bahrainis should take a stance against all companies who refuse to maintain a reasonable standard of security and safety for its employees by refusing to cooperate with them and by openly condemning their disregard for the sanctity of human life.

Abbas Abd Ali’s Case: Prosecution conspires to detain the victim and cover-up the offenders

A Philippine domestic worker subjected to assault, defaming, arbitrary arrest and possible deportation

Bahrain - July 21, 2006

Abbas Abda'ali, 28 years, was admitted to Bahrain Defense Force hospital on July 6, 2006. According to the report issued by the hospital, Abbas was admitted at 05:10 am, and was treated for head and face injuries. The report, and photos published by a local news paper, showed several stitches in three part of the head and on the nose. It also showed , black eyes, bruises and swelling in the eyes, the back of the left ear and the back. He was discharged at 6:40am. But as a result of deterioration in his health and bleeding, he was taken by ambulance to the Government Alsalmaniya Medical Complex were he had been under treatment for three days (Attached: Medical reports and photos).

While at hospital, Mr. Abda'ali told the press, the police, and BCHR representatives that a group of masked men stopped his car as he neared his home in Al-Aker village. He claimed to have been surrounded by several cars, dragged out of his vehicle and beaten severely with sticks and unidentified sharp objects (1). At the day of the incident, Abbas’s family went to the police station and filed a case. On July 8, 2006, the family protested against the incident outside the Royal Court.

The authorities admit the assault, with different details

(2)

On July 8, 2006, Farooq Al Muawda, General Director of the Criminal Interrogation Department (CID), said in a press conference that “the allegations that a gang of masked men had physically harassed him (Abbas) are baseless” “the man had been roughed up by residents of Jaw village for taking a housemaid from the area on a ride” Al Muawda told the Press as a visibly scared and shaken maid sat in front of the journalists.

Al Muawda said the ministry had investigated the matter; “Abbas Ali, a new recruit at the ministry, and a colleague who is a new military staffer, had picked up the Asian maid around 1am from her sponsor’s house and taken her to a night club. At 3am Abbas and the maid dropped the friend at his house in Sitra and the two stayed together until 5am. Then Abbas took the maid to her sponsor’s home” the general director said. He said both Abbas and the maid were surprised when they reached home and saw the sponsor and neighbors waiting for them. “A resident had seen them leaving the area together and taken the car plate numbers.” As soon they saw Abbas, they started beating him up. He however escaped. Al Muawda said the sponsor took the maid to the police station and she would be deported soon.

Al Muawda stressed that the case had no political undertones. It was just a case of seeking illegal pleasures, he said. The residents were angry because they felt that the dignity and respect of one of them (the maid) had been violated. "The military staffer would be punished for not respecting laws and regulations despite being a policeman," Al Muawda said. “He supported Abbas by going with him to pick up the maid from her sponsor’s house without the sponsor’s knowledge which is a crime.”

Imprisonment of the Victim

On 10 July, while on sick leave and despite his health condition, Abbas was summoned to the General Prosecutor Office (GPO). Mohammed Almoutawa, a lawyer, told BCHR: “Abbas and myself waited for About 90 minutes before we decided to leave the GPO building to come back the next day. But I was surprised later in the day when I learnt that Abbas did not come back home and that his family lost contact with his mobile.

The next day, 11th of July, the local press published an official statement that the public prosecutor first listened to Abbas as a plaintiff, then interrogated him for three hours and decided finally to imprison him for seven days under interrogation accusing him of false statements. The public prosecutor claimed that during the earlier interrogation, Abda'ali had denied knowing the housemaid but the prosecutor showed him the large number of telephone calls he and the housemaid made to each other. According to Article 233 of the 1976 Penal Code, false information to the authorities could be punished for up to six months and/or BD50 Fine (3). According to the public prosecutor Abda'ali said that the reason he had denied this part of the details was that he was trying to hide his relationship with the housemaid from his family (4).

The case of Abbas Abduali was brought to court on July 16. The Lower Court, presided by Judge Manna Al Buflaseh, heard a list of five requests by the defense lawyer which included; to releas Abduali, to present the housemaid, her sponsor and Abduali’s friend, Mohammed, who was with him on the night he was attacked, as witnesses, to prevent the housemaid from leaving the country until the cross-examination was completed, to allow his client to be taken to hospital for medical examination and to receive a copy of the complete file on his client. The judge told the defence lawyer that he will consider the four requests (5). Two days later Abbas was released on bail confused about how how he become a felon instead of a victim.

Relevant Background Information

Abbas Abda'ali, is among scores of Shia citizens who were employed by the interior ministry last year after wide public criticism to the ministry for discriminatory recruitment policy. Following protests by the unemployed, Mousa Abda'ali, an active member of the unemployed committee and brother of Abbas, was allegedly abducted by security elements and subjected to physical and sexual assault. Mousa and other members of the Unemployed committee are in jail for participation in “unauthorized gathering” (Ref: BCHR 00040600) In the last few months, the BCHR received complaints from Shia employees at the Ministry of Interior complaining of disposition and harassment (BCHR Report 3 June 2006). Two days prior to the assault against Abbas Abda'ali, a newly recruit of the ministry, Ahmed Jaffer, 33 years, sent a letter to the Minister of Interior complaining from a series of harassments including a brief arrest on the 2nd of July during which he reportedly received a death threat from a high officer at the Criminal Interrogation Department.

Notes:

(1) Ref. Gulf daily News 7 July 2006 (2) Bahrain Tribune 9 July 2006 (3) Alwaqt daily, July 11, 2006 (4) Ref. Bahrain Tribune 13 July 2006 (5) Ref. Bahrain Tribune 17 July 2006

Detained Activists Brother Ambushed & Brutally Beaten

Abbas Abdali Attacked by Masked Men and Left Bleeding for Three Hours

Bahrain Centre for Human Rights Ref: 07070600

[acidfree:149 align=right]

The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights was greatly concerned upon hearing that Mr. Abbas Abdali, 31 years, Ekr, the brother of the currently detained activist Moosa Abdali (BCHR Ref: 03030300), was brutally beaten by a school near his house at 2 AM on Thursday the 6th of July, 2006. Significantly Mr. Moosa Abdali, the victims brother and active member of the Unemployment Committee, was beaten on the same spot last December by masked men who physically and sexually assaulted him, and who threatened him of assaulting members of his family should he continue in his activities (BCHR Ref: 04020603). Mr. Moosa is currently in prison in relations to what has become known as the “Dana Mall” case.

The incident, as related to the BCHR by the victim, happened while he was on his way home to his home in Ekr from Sitra Village at approximately 2 AM. He was surprised to find a parked Mitsubishi car by a high school fence close to his house, and slowed his car down to check what the problem was due to the fact that its door was open. Just as he was stopping a Range Rover came from behind and blocked his way, making his car skid. A masked man ( wearing mask similar to the one used by the riot police) came out of the car and asked him if he was the brother of Moosa Abdali, when he confirmed, he found himself surrounded by 8-9 cars driven by masked men in the traditional “Thub” clothing. After the question the masked man who enquired gave Mr. Abdali a hit on the head with a wooden stick and dragged him out of the car, where the rest of the group joined in beating him with wooden sticks, and according to Mr. Abdali a sharp object. The beating was directed at his head mostly, and his back and legs. After loosing consciousness resulting from a blow to the neck Mr. Abdali only regained conscience around 5 AM after an Asian worker tried to wake him. He barely made it home in his car, which had been left running all night. He was received by his mother and wife who took him to the hospital where he recieved stitches in more than one place in his head. He currently suffers from back pain, hearing problems, dizziness due to the blows recieved to the head and pain in his legs (Kindly find pictures attached).

The family have filed a case with the police station and enquiries are being made, but the BCHR finds itself concern as to the outcomes of these enquiries due to the fact that similar ones were made after Moosa Abdalis case and nothing came out of it. Mr. Moosa suspended his cooperation with the authorities a while after the assault and stated that the Public Prosecutors Office was “neither a neutral body nor does it have any serious intentions about disclosing the truth of this case”(attached a copy of the statement).

The BCHR calls once again for an urgent intervention to protect activists and their family members in Bahrain. It is regretful that incidents such as these are happening repetitively with no serious enquiries being made nor any individuals charged or held responsible.

Nabeel Rajab Bahrain Center for Human Rights +973 39633399

Photos of

“Dana Mall” trial postponed: Public prosecutor repeats denial of existence of video of the incident

Activist Hospitalized after Health Deterioration

Issued by: Bahrain Centre for Human Rights Ref: 03070600

The Bahraini 4th Criminal Court postponed the “Dana Mall Trial”, today until the 15th of July, 2006. (BCHR’s Reports on Dana Mall case: Ref: 08040606, Ref: 00040600, Ref: 09050611). The case involves 17 Bahrainis, including four minors and at least two activists, they are:

  1. Mohammed Jassim Khalifa, 16 years, Sanabis
  2. Ahmed Jameel Al-Qassab, 17 years, Nuaeem
  3. Ahmed Jaffar Al-Metghawi, 16 years, Diraz
  4. Hassan Ali Hamada, 16 years, Nuaeem
  5. Moosa Abd-Ali Ali Muhammed, 24 years, Ekr, member of the Unemployment Committee
  6. Qanee Saleh Abdel-nabi Rashed, 25 years, Sitra, member of the the Committee to Combat Genetically Transmitted Blood Diseases

The Public Prosecutor once again denied the existence of any video taping, while the owner of the Mall claimed that the SSF confiscated all tapes related to the Mall’s security system, which may show what happened on March 10, 2006 when the Special Security Force (SSF) entered the mall and attacked scores of youths who before entering the mall were allegedly participating in “unauthorized” gathering to call for the release of detainees.

Testimonies received by the BCHR accused the (SSF) of unnecessarily storming the Mall and using excessive force against men, women and minors. More than ten injuries was treated at Alsalmania Medical Complex at the day of the event. Photos of the events show the SSF severely beating youths while one photo shoes few individuals kicking a member of the SSF. The authorities published only the letter photo to justify the arrests and trial of 17 persons (kindly find attached pictures of the police assaults on individuals).

The BCHR has learnt that the activist, Qanee Saleh Abdel-nabi Saleh, 26 years, Sitra, active member of the Committee to Combat Genetically Transmitted Blood Diseases, who is one of the 17 defendants in the Dana Mall case, has been recently moved to the Salmaniya Medical Complex due to a deteriorating medical condition. Mr. Saleh suffers from Sickle Cell disease, which has developed and worsened since his arrest due to his prison condition and environment. Ms. Fatima Al-hawaj, one of the lawyers in the case has requested that Mr. Saleh be not returned to prison due to his serious health condition.

Bahraini House of Representatives Legislates Banning Defence of Detainees

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights

Press Communiqué

Within the “Reform Project” and among set of legislations violating human rights:

The Bahraini House of Representatives Legislates Banning Defence of Detainees

June 12th, 2006

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) received, with great concerns, the decision of the House of Representatives (HR) to pass a bill governing amendment of Article 246 of the Penal Code. This Article states, after amendments, that “it is punishable, with imprisonment of not more than a year or fine of not more than BD 100, who publishes, with any means (..), names or photographs of those accused, before the final verdict, and without permission from the Public Prosecution (PR) or the relevant court depending on the circumstances. It is also punishable with the same penalty who cooperated with foreign media by providing names and photographs of the those accused”.

It is anticipated that the Appointees (Shura) Council will approve this bill, and later pass it to the King for ratification, for an its issue in form of a law. In return, the accused, their families, and human rights defenders, inside and outside Bahrain, will be completely prevented from the being able to make any move to protect the rights, especially those related to arbitrary detention, or torture, or maltreatment, or unjust prosecutions. This is attributed to the fact that any public activity, to defend the accused, is not possible without declaring their names and photographs, which will be a punishable crime, with imprisonment or fine, after the said amendment.

The course of the House of Representatives (HR) is in complete contrast to a popular campaign, started many years ago, demanding the protection of the detainees of smear, carried out by the security authorities or the public prosecution (PR), by publicizing their names and photographs prior to bringing them to court or the final verdict in the crimes they are accused for. Instead of introducing constraints of the executive authority and the PR in defaming the accused, the HR surprisingly opted to privilege PR and courts in publishing their names and pictures, while banning the accused, families and supporters from such privilege to enable advocating detainees cases inside Bahrain and abroad.

The amendment of Article 246 by the HR comes in a format stiffer than the current one, which includes imprecise phrases, which do not initially ban publishing, as do the amendment passed by the HR. It is to be noted that the current format, before the amendment, prohibits publishing the court deliberations, and empower the prosecution authorities to ban publishing “any news regarding any interrogation in a crime or any of its documents, if the prosecution authorities decided to carry it out discretely away from opponents, or it was banned publishing part of it in consideration for public order, morality or appearance of the truth.

This bill comes after HR has passed other laws which stirred local and international protests, as it violate human rights principles. This includes the enacted “Political Societies” code, the “Gatherings and Processions” bill, which awaits approval of the Appointees (Shura) Council, as well as “Terrorism Combat” code which will be presented soon, enabling pursuit of political opponents with convicts reaching up to death sentence. Unfortunate, that HR is, not only, unable to protect citizens rights by amending legislations, and perform oversight to the conduct of executive, it is approving new legislations which strip basic rights of individuals and groups, obstruct the role of civic societies in promoting and defending those rights. These decisions and their consequences are the bare responsibility of all the Representatives, the political parties they represent, as well as the political the authority which has weakened the HR and is performing its direct influence upon it.

The BCHR is calling for an extensive and urgent campaign in and outside Bahrain to stop this ominous deterioration of the legislative status with regards to freedoms and human rights in the country (Bahrain). The BCHR is also calling all reform concerned parties in the region to benefit from Bahrain experience to evaluate the disfigured circumstances created by the “reform” policies adapted by the regional governments close to the US administration. These policies institute for establishments and pseudo democratic conducts, which us adopted by the authoritarian regimes to constrain and violate human rights. We regret that these conducts is being treated with either silence or advocacy of the US administration and its embassies, which show clearly its double standards between its slogans and policies on the ground.

For information: Nabeel Rajab- Vice president of BCHR Tel: +937-39633399 Email: nabeelr@batelco.com.bh; boddah88@hotmail.com

A Petition by Bahraini Civic Societies to the UN Human Rights Council

Manama 3 June 2006

We, the undersigned Bahraini civic organizations, propose to your honorable council to look in the human rights record for the Kingdom of Bahrain since it's an elected member in the council. According to the bylaws of the new council, human rights records of all members are the first to be reviewed and valuated. Therefore, we would like to highlight some of aspects of the Bahraini record before the first meeting of council in Geneva on the coming June 19 th . We also attach some recent reports about the situation in Bahrain.

- The authorities have been abusively arresting and unfairly prosecuting more than 60 Bahrainis, most of them were attacked, beaten before being arrested in peaceful gatherings. The last event was on Friday May 12 th, 2006, when three youngsters were arrested after being beaten and one of them was hospitalized before taken to prison.

- Abusive detention, torture and prosecuting of activists continues. A number of activists has been imprisoned since December 29 th, 2005. As for targeting activists, the last incident – until the issue of this petition - was the detention of the human rights activist Abdul Raoof Al-Shayeb on May 22 nd, 2006 on the boarders at the causeway to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He was released on the same day, after intensive rights lobby. Mr Al-Shayeb is the president of the National Committee for Martyrs and Victims of Torture. On the other hand, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights is still dissolved and its members are legally threatened according to administrative and judicial ruling based on the abusive Societies' law.

  • Members of more than 180 families, born and have been living in Bahrain, don't have a nationality status due to ethnic and political matters. However, there is reiterative news about thousands of non-Bahrainis, having effective nationalities and live outside Bahrain, are granted nationalities on exceptional basis. In addition to that, the mercenaries who have been brought to Bahrain to be recruited in the security establishments; the army or the Special Security Forces. All of those are deployed to play with the results of the parliamentary elections and marginalize the majority Shia in favour of the minority tribal Sunis.
  • More than 170 Bahraini families, who were exiled from Bahrain in the past period for political reasons, enduring humanitarian suffering due to negligence to basic needs.
  • As for the torture victims in the previous state security era, they are still deprived fair reparation and justice, while those, accused of torture in that period, are still protected from prosecution by the Impunity Code no. 56 for the year 2002.
  • Citizens are still harassed as a result of their names being still in travel banning lists which contain names of activists and politicians, who are detested by the Authorities. The last ban was at the Kuwaiti border on April 25 th 2006.
  • The authorities have recently passed a draft for the Gatherings law – which constrains freedom of expression and association in public places. This is done through the parliament controlled by the Authority as a result of the constitutional changes the King unilaterally and illegally introduced enabling him to appoint half of the parliament's members and Gerrymandering the electoral districts. The parliament has previously passed a law that constrains activities of the political societies, as it doesn't allow them to work in the form of political parties. Alleging combat of terrorism, the government intends to pass more restrictive rules on societies

Although there is a great increase in the country's oil income and investments, more than half the citizens are still suffering from unemployment, the low wages, inexistence of social insurance and improper housing. This is attributed to government mismanagement, corruption and embezzlement of the public lands by dominant members of ruling family and dignitary Staff in the Government.

Finally, Bahrain has pledged to protect human rights when proposed for candidature in your honorable council. Although we appreciate that posture, as you are aware, there is a great gap between words and deeds. That what concerns us and revert us to address your honorable council. We, therefore, plea that you take all measures to review Bahrain's record on human rights and endeavour to bring the Authorities to respect human rights by conduct and enacting of legislation. This also include take the necessary commitments not to harass activists and active civic organizations.

Signing Organizations:

  1. Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights
  2. Bahrain Center for Human Rights
  3. Society of Public Freedoms and Support of Democracy
  4. "HAQ":Movement of Liberties and Democracy
  5. Society of Bahraini Child
  6. National Committee for Martyrs and Victims of Torture
  7. Sufferers of Hereditary Diseases Committee
  8. Committee of Stateless
  9. Rights of Exiles Committee
  10. Committee of Solidarity with Activists and Detainees of Conscience
  11. Commission of Appropriate Housing
  12. Commission of Unemployed and Underpaid
  13. Retrieval of Coasts and Public Lands Committee
  14. Center of Bahrain Youth

Detainees Beaten by Security Forces Following Appeals Trial

Defense Lawyers Threatened by Judge with Disciplinary Action

Bahrain Centre for Human Rights REF: 22050613

The second Appeals Trial of the “Daih Detainees”(Ref: 02010606), sentenced to one year in jail earlier this month following random arrests that occurred after unrest resulting from frustration over the “Airport incident”(Ref: 19040609), took place this morning, 22nd of May, 2006. The trial took place in the Second Criminal Supreme Court with Judge Ebrahim Al-zayed presiding. The legal coordinator of the Committee of Defense for the Detainees Mr. Mohammed Al-Jishy related to the BCHR that the Defense Counsel was repeatedly interrupted during their cross-questioning of a witness presenting by the prosecution. Any questions attempting to discredit the witness were prohibited or overruled. The Judge repetitively silenced the defense counsel and after a brief quarrel between the Judge and the Defense the Judge threatened one of the defense lawyers with disciplinary action if she continued. The Session was thereafter postponed to the 28th of May, 2006.

Following the trail, the defendants were refused permission to speak to their families who were not permitted access to the court. After a short protest from the detainees, the security forces preceded in beating the detainees in front of members of the press and legal counsel, thereafter removing them by force and returning them to prison.

Those standing trial today are:

  1. Jaffar Abduljabbar Jaffar, 24 years, Daih
  2. Ahmed Yousuf Ahmed Nasser, 26 years, Daih
  3. Mohammed Abdulrasool Ahmed Ahmed, 30 years, Daih
  4. Abdulla Madan Ahmed, 26 years, Maameer
  5. Mohammed Hassan Yousuf Saif, 24 years Manama
  6. Ali Jaffar Jassim, 20 years, Daih
  7. Jaffar Hussain Mahmood Yousuf, 25 years, Maameer

The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights is greatly disturbed by the Security forces unjustifiable harsh dealings with detainees during this trial as well as previous ones. The Security Forces have repeatedly used unnecessary force to remove handcuffed detainees from the courthouse. And today’s trial provides further evidence that the Bahraini court is far from independent in will. Chances that these detainees as well as others who stood trail in these past months, have received a fair trial is highly questionable, therefore prompting the Centre to call for their release, as the Bahraini Judicial System has proved itself unqualified to provide a just and fair trial.

Heated debate concerning exclusion of human rights monitors and family members

Unfair Trial of 17 Defendants Amongst them Rights Activists

Bahrain Centre for Human Rights Ref: 09050611

A heated debate took place today, outside the 4th Criminal Court, after Mr. Abdul-Hadi Al-khawaja, President of the BCHR, and Mr. Nabeel Rajab Vice-President, were escorted outside the courtroom where 17 defendants were standing trial in relations to the “Dana Mall” incident. Mr. Al-khawaja demanded that families be allowed entrance to the trials, as these cases were declared as open and not secret court sessions. In all previous cases relating to the latest unrests in Bahrain, the court had prohibited family members from attending the trial sessions, and ignored protests in regards. The police officers, who outnumber the reporters and family members form a barrier, and only let certain people in during the trial, leaving the family members waiting outside the courtroom. Human Rights monitors were allowed entrance to previous trials, however this time could set precedence for further violations and close courtroom procedures in the future. Of those violations the BCHR focuses on the continuously apparent fact that the Judicial system is constantly found lacking in independence, as well as the questionable and restrictive laws that the defendants are charged and sentenced in accordance to.

Following the debate between Mr. Al-khawaja and the police officers, in which Mr. Al-khawaja rejected the fact that the police were present in exaggerated numbers inside the courtroom and by the entrance, the defendants inside the courtroom refused to stand before the judge without their families presence and the human rights monitors, which resulted in the Judges decision to postpone the first hearing and to permit one representative of each family to attend future court sessions.

The “Dana Mall” incident took place after the riot police forcefully dispersed a peaceful demonstration calling for the release of the “Airport Detainees”. Nineteen individuals were arrested, after receiving a severe beating, according to the detainees and family members. Of those arrested, Mr. Moosa AbdAli, 24 years, Ekr, (BCHR Ref: 04020603), a rights activist who was had been arrested, assaulted and kidnapped by police several times in the past, due to his activities in the Unemployment Committee (BCHR Ref: 11020604), and Mr. Qanee Saleh Abdel-nabi Saleh, 26 years, Sitra, a member of the Committee of Individuals with Genetically Transmitted Blood Diseases. Mr. Saleh has been in and out of the hospital several times since his arrest and suffers from acute Sickle-Cell.

Other detainees brought before the court today are identified as:

  1. Seyed Mohammed Mustafa, Jidhafs,
  2. Majeed Ali Al-Tashani, 32 years, Bilad Al-Qadeem,
  3. Salman Najji Salman, Al Hamala
  4. Hussain Mohammed Ahmed, 23 years, Al-Hamala
  5. Ahmed Abdulla Ahmed, 28 years, Hamad Town
  6. Hussain Ali Hassan, 26 years, Al-Nuwaidrat
  7. Mohammed Jassim Khalifa, 16 years, Sanabis
  8. Ahmed Jaffar Al-Metghawi, Diraz
  9. Jaffar Nuuh Smakhar, 22 years, Al-Malchya
  10. Hassan Abdulla Al-Afoo, 19 years, Nuaeem
  11. Hassan Ali Hamada, Nuaeem
  12. Faisal Abdulla Hassan Mohammed, 20 years, Nuwaidrat
  13. Hilal Ali Muahmmed , Alganabya
  14. Saqeq Hussain Jaffar, 19 years, Manama
  15. Ahmed Jaffar Al-Qassab, 17 years, Nuaeem

Arrested, questioned and sentenced within 48 hours

Arrest of Individual Wanted in Relations to “Airport Incident”

Swift Justice in Question!

Bahrain Centre for Human Rights Ref: 06050611

After a Pursuit following a Peaceful Demonstration, Seyed Ali Majeed Esmael, was arrested near the Salmaniya Medical Complex on Friday the 28th of April, according to local newspapers. The Police blocked the hospitals ambulance emergency exit in order to arrest Mr. Esmael, who was sentenced to two years in absentia in relations to the “Airport Incident” and was one of the three defendants who refused to hand themselves over after receiving warrants for their arrests(Ref: 09020601). The Airport protest, which happened on the 25th of December 2005, was a direct reaction to the temporary arrest at the airport, of a prominent figure (Sheikh Sanad) who called two months earlier for a referendum under the supervision of the United Nations on the legitimacy of the political system in Bahrain. Thirteen defendants were charged with illegal gathering and sentenced accordingly (Background BCHR Ref: 16010605).

According to Mr. Ali Al-Arrayeth, the defendants lawyer, Mr Esmael was brought before the Public Prosecutor the very next morning of his arrest, Saturday 29th April, and on Sunday the 30th of April was sentenced by the 4th Criminal Court to 2 years in jail.

The Centre views with skepticism, the authority’s notion of swift justice, and is concerned as to the defendant’s chances of receiving a fair trial in view of the previous Court violations of Defendants rights that have taken place during these past months.