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Continuation of Speedy, Unfair Trials and Sentences Following “Airport Case”

7 Bahraini’s Sentenced to 1 Year in Jail

Bahrain Centre for Human Rights Ref: 19040609

The Lower Bahraini Criminal Court sentenced seven defendants on Wednesday to a period of one year in jail. The defendants, Jaffar Abduljabbar Jaffar, Ahmed Yousuf Ahmed Nasser, Mohammed Abdulrasool Ahmed Ahmed, Abdulla Madan Ahmed, Mohammed Hassan Yousuf Saif, Ali Jaffar Jassim and Jaffar Hussain Mahmood Yousuf were arrested in connection with an “Unauthorized” demonstration which was dispersed by force by the special-police- force in the Sanabis-Daih area on the Western skirts of Manama (BCHR Ref: 02010606 for details of arrest).

The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights had previously published a report in relations to this case, calling for an intervention and an end to the Bahraini Authorities continuous violations of the rights of the detainees. The Centre had received information that the detainees were held incommunicado for at least three days after their arrest, during which they were reportedly subjected to mistreatment and torture to give information on others and sign confessions. For two days, the relatives of most of the detainees remained uninformed of the arrest and the where about of their children.

Another issue which calls for worry, is the fact the more than one of the detainees was, and still is in need of medical treatment. Ali Jaffar Jassim suffers, according to members of his family, of psychological problems, and is in need of medical attention. His lawyer had previously submitted medical papers to the Court Judge, and requested Ali’s release accordingly. This however did not influence the judges decision and Ali received a one year sentence.

The Centre calls for the immediate release of the detainees, and the annulment of the Courts verdict based on the ground that the arrests of the detainees was done randomly, and the Public Prosecutor used highly questionable means to obtain confessions from the detainees, in addition to the fact that the Prosecution did not comply to the most basic International standards of Human and Prisoners right. The Centre also calls for an immediate review of the judicial system which has continuously proved to be far from an independent entity. The Bahraini Riot Police, the Public Prosecutor and the Judge seem to be interlinked in a very questionable and unbalanced manner, which results in speedy unfair trials delivering sentences based on laws which violate International Standards and Human Rights Treaties which Bahrain has signed.

Eight Bahrainis Defamed and Criminalized Before Trial

Arrested and Charged with Illegal Assembly and Burning Tyres Amongst Them a Minor Fear Concerning Safety and Lack of Fair Trial

16 April 2006

Eight Bahrainis, including a minor, were charged with illegal assembly and burning tyres. All Eight were arrested in the previous two weeks after different incidents. Before the completion of the investigation, the names and photos of the detainees were released by the Public Prosecutor’s office and published today by the local press. There are fears that the detainees were randomly arrested and accused by the Ministry of Interiors to cover its failure in restoring order in the aftermath of the arrest and unfair trial of more than 40 Bahrainis including human rights activists.

The press published the names of the detainees as follows:

  1. Abdullah Mahdi Ahmed.
  2. Fadhel Abbas Hassan, 17, from Hamad Town who works at Ahmadi Company.
  3. Abdullah Isa Jaffer, 19, from Sanabis who works at a petrol station.
  4. Jaffer Mulla Ahmed Nasser, 21, from Sanabis who is a computer technician at Hi Tech Company.
  5. Isa Ali Isa, 19, a student from Al Daih.
  6. Emad Jaffer Ahmed Fadhel, 29, from Jidhafs who works as an assistant electrician at Delta Company.
  7. Ali Anwar Yaqoub Mousa Marzooq, 19, from Hamad Town and an employee of Gulf Company.
  8. Isa Abdullah Isa Abdullah Al Sareh, 23, security guard from Bani Jamrah.

According to reports received by the BCHR, Fadhel Abbas Hassan, Abdullah Isa Jaffer, Jaffer Mulla Ahmed Nasser, Isa Ali Isa, and Emad Jaffer Ahmed Fadhel were brought before the Public Prosecutor on the 6th of April, 2006. Ali Anwar Yaqoub Mousa Marzooq and Isa Abdullah Isa Abdullah Al Sareh were brought before the Public Prosecutor on the 6th of April, 2006.

The BCHR is gravely concerned for the safety of the detainees, as it had received reports from relatives of some of the detainees, that they saw clear signs of beatings on the bodies of the detainees, when they were allowed to meet with them briefly in detention. Amaar Mulla Nasser, the brother of Jaffar Mulla Nasser, told the BCHR that his brother informed him that he was beaten badly both during arrest and in detention, and that there were signs of the beating, specifically around the eye, when he saw him briefly two days after his arrest. Mr. Abdulla Ahmed Al-Sakran, a lawyer present during Jaffar Al-Mulla’s presence before the Public Prosecution, stated that the defendant complained of being beaten during arrest and showed signs accordingly. The lawyer also states that he saw the defendant clearly limping.

The BCHR thus condemns the defaming of the detainees, as it is a violation of the right of each person to be considered innocent until proven guilty after a fair trial.

Verdict of appeals court on “Airport Incident” detainees

1 Aquittal, 8 Sentences Halved & 4 Sentences Upheld

Bahrain Centre for Human Rights Ref: 14040606

The High Criminal Appeals Court, headed by Judge Shaikh Mohammed bin Ali Al Khalifa and assisted by associate judges Ahmed Yahya and Ahmed Yousuf, delivered on the 11th of April 2006, the verdict of the 13 men sentenced in relations to the “Airport Incident”. According to the Bahraini Gulf Daily News, Yasser Khalifa, 31 years, from Ras Roman, was acquitted because their was no proof that he was involved.

Another eight defendants, previously sentenced to 2 years in jail for “illegal gathering of more than 5 people”, had their sentences reduced to one year. They are Nader Ebrahim Abduleman 32, Hassan Abdulnabi 25, Bader Ahmed Al Jazeri 40, Jawad Abdulla Al Salman 24, Qassim Mohammed Khaleel 19, Mohsin Abdulla Al Salman 23, Hassan Ali Haddad 25 and Mohammed Hassan Ashor 21.

The remaining 4 defendants, Ali Mehdi Ahmed, 24, Fakhri Abdulla Rashid, 40, Nasser Ali Nasser, 33 and Abdulameer Ahmed Madan, 23, had their original one-year sentence upheld.

The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights would like to voice its concern on the harsh sentences passed. The Centre was hoping that the Bahraini Authorities would attempt to correct the great injustice of the previous sentences passed, for such sentences are unacceptable internationally for such questionable charges of “illegal gathering”. Moreover, considering that the charges of “sabotage” were dropped in the original sentence due to lack of any evidence, the Centre finds a one year sentence for a charge of illegal gathering of more than 5 individuals is both unjustified and wholly uncalled for.

In consideration of the latter, the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights calls for:

  1. The immediate release of all prisoners sentenced in relations to the “Airport Incident” in addition to the release of the detainees arrested in related incidents such as the “Daih and Sanabis detainees”, and the “Dana Detainees”.
  2. A suitable compensation to be arranged for all detainees for the physical, mental and social hardship that they have had to endure, in addition to compensating them for their unjustified detention for the past 4 months.
  3. An immediate review of those laws which do not even comply to the lowest standards of internationally acceptable laws and regulation, and which the Bahraini Authorities continuously uses to prosecute and restrict the activities of Human Rights defenders and political activists.

Custody Extended for “Dana Mall” Detainees

D.A. Reclassifies Cases from Minor Offenses to Criminal Felonies

Bahrain Centre for Human Rights Ref: 08040606

The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights has learned that the District Attorneys Office has recently chosen to re-classify the cases of 19 people who reportedly were beaten by security forces and arrested following a peaceful demonstration (BCHR ,Ref: 00040600) calling for the release of the “Airport Detainees” (BCHR Ref: 16010605). Those arrested were formerly classified as Minor Offenders, and therefore referred to the Lower Penal Court which had the jurisdiction of fining defendants, and/or sentencing those referred to it from 10 days up to 3 years. The lower Penal Court, which is headed by a single judge, may, according to the Bahraini Criminal Law, keep the defendant in custody during the trial proceedings, or release him, depending on the Judges evaluation.

The Higher Penal Court however, which is headed by three Judges, only deals with sentences of 3 years and above, it is also authorized to sentence defendants to life in jail, or the highest possible criminal penalty, death. The Higher Penal Court sessions are characterized by their lengthy durations and the fact that defendants are forced to remain in custody for the entire period of the trial.

The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights calls for an immediate intervention in order to pressure the Bahraini authorities into reassessing this questionable decision which only serves to add to the current tension in the country. The law by which the defendants are to be tried and sentenced, have been condemned and questioned in more than one occasion by International Organizations and criticized as being inflexible and harsh. We therefore hope that you do all that is in your power to prevent an escalation of freedom violations in Bahrain.

Thanking you kindly, and hoping for continued cooperation in the future.

Nabeel Rajab Vice-President Bahrain Centre for Human Rights 08/04/06

Petition from participants at the “Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy" to the King of Bahrain

Fourth Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy: "Advancing Democracy: Justice, Pluralism, and Participation"

Istanbul, Turkey, April 2-5, 2006

His Majesty Hamad Bin Issa Bin Salman Al-Khalifa, King of the Kingdom of Bahrain,

We the undersigned, participants at the “Fourth Assembly—Advancing Democracy: Justice, Pluralism, and Participation - Istanbul, Turkey, April 2-5, 2006,

Applauding all recent positive developments in the Kingdom of Bahrain, we call upon your Majesty and the Bahrain authorities:

  • To implement further democratic reformers securing separation of powers, independence of the judiciary, the right of citizens to change their government, reforming the electoral system in order to secure fair representation, and empowering elected representatives to have full powers as in any democratic parliament,
  • To re-open the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, secure the safety of human rights and democracy defenders and their rights to operate freely and amend the laws restricting freedoms of opinion, the press, and peaceful assembly, and
  • To release human rights defenders and others who were arrested since December 2005, in connection with cases related to freedom of expression and peaceful gatherings.

We wish your Majesty all the best in your efforts in turning Bahrain into a model in the region of democracy and prosperity.

Signatories:

  1. Nina Tagankino, Moscow Helsinki Group, Russia
  2. Yulia Gabidulino, Moscow Helsinki Group, Russia
  3. Bo Tedards, WFTOA, Taiwan
  4. Blake Hounshell, Ibn Khaldun Centre, Egypt
  5. Moan Abdulsalam, Etana Press, Syria
  6. Faisal Abid Al-Sahlani, Iraqi United Nation Association, Member of Parliament, Iraq
  7. Ayse Demiriz, MAZLUMDER, Turkey
  8. Geoffrey Harris, Secretarial European Parliament, Brussels
  9. Gengiz Gandar, Kulture University of Istanbul, Turkey
  10. Tiens Kahenya, United Party of National Development, Zambia
  11. Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika, Movement of Multiparty Democracy, Zambia
  12. Narad Adhikari, National Front for Democracy in Bhutan, Bhutan
  13. Charm Tong, Shan Womens Action Network, Burma
  14. Wu Qiang, Beijing Foreign Studies Univercity, China
  15. Baramy Mitthiviong, United League for Democracy in Laos, Laos
  16. Teresa Kok Suh Sim, Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma, Member of Parliament, Malaysia
  17. Debbie Stothard, Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma, Malaysia
  18. Anselmo Lee, Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development, South Korea
  19. Ying-mao Michael Kau, Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, Taiwan
  20. Violeta Toncheva, Light Industry Trade Union Organizations Federation, Bulgaria
  21. Alina Mungiu Pippidi, Romanian Acadamic Society, Romania
  22. Ilie Rosu, Federatia Craimodex, Romania
  23. Ivan Pavlov, Institute for Development of Freedom of Information, Russia
  24. Jonathan Levack, Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV), Turkey
  25. Murat Mercan, AKP Party MP, Turkey
  26. Yasemin San, Helsinki Citizens Assembly , Turkey
  27. Cetin Yilmaz, Human Rights Association (IHD), Turkey
  28. Volodymyr Zavyalov, Bukovyna partnership Agency, Ukraine
  29. Mariclaire Acosta, Organization of Acerican States, Maxico
  30. Mohammad Sarwar Hussaini, Cooperation Center for Afghnistan, Afghnistan
  31. Mohammed Nasib, Selfare Association for the Development of Afghanistan, Afghanistan
  32. George Ishak, Kifaya Movement, Egypt
  33. Saad Eddin Ibrahim, Ibn Khaldoun Center for Development Studies, Egypt
  34. Saber Ahmed Mahmoud Ahmed Nayel, Arab Program for Human Rights Activists, Egypt
  35. Hassan H. Al-Ukaili, Iraqi Organization for Human Rights Coordination, Iraq
  36. Michel Nawfal, El Mustaqbel Newspaper, Lebanon
  37. Riad Malki, Panorama Center, Palestine
  38. Slaheddine Jourchi, Tunisian Human Rights Leaque , Tunisia
  39. Yousuf Abdallah Aburas, Human Rights Training and Information Center, Yemen
  40. Ezzadin S. Al-Asbahy, Human Rights Training and Information Center, Yemen
  41. Charles J. Brown, Citizens for Global Solutions, United States
  42. Dokhi Fassihian, Democracy Coalition Project, United States
  43. Robert R. La Gamma, Council for a Community of Democracy, United States
  44. Debra Liang-Fenton, United States Committee on Human Rights in North Korea, United States
  45. Dave Peterson, National Endowment for Democracy, United States
  46. Cynthis Romero, Institute for Democracy in Cuba and Latin America, United States
  47. Richard Rowson, Council for a Community of Democracies, United States
  48. Manuel Herrera, Fundacion FAES, Spain
  49. Evlyn Aellerre, FLPCP, Libu
  50. Svejtlana Duric, Olof Palmes International Center, Sweden
  51. Viola Furubjelke, Olof Palmes International Center, Sweden
  52. Cyril Ritchie, International Civil Society Forum for Democracy, Switzerland
  53. Antoine Nasri Mesarra, Lebanese Foundation for Permanent Civil Peace, Lebanon
  54. Ali Saif Hasan Saleh, Yemeni Organization for Defense of Human Rights and Democrat, Yemen
  55. Ashour Al-Shamis, Libya Human and Political Development Forum, Libya
  56. Mohamed Al-Yahyai, Middle East Broadcasting Network- AlHurra TV, Oman
  57. Amal Al Basha, Sisters’ Arabic Forum for Human Rights, Yemen
  58. Jezair Hassan, Evaluation Center, Iraq
  59. Asma Khader, Sisterhood in Global Institute, Jordan
  60. Fathallah (Abu Khalid) Omrani, Garment and Textile Workers Union, Jordan
  61. Fadlallah Hassona, Development of People and Nature Association, Lebanon
  62. Lina Quora, Sisterhood in Global Institute, Jordan
  63. A. S. Alwalu, Yemen, Yemen

The Closure of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights is “Final”!

Threats to prosecute its Members

26 March 2006

The Ministry of Social Development in Bahrain has warned that it is going to recommend legal measures against the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) if the Centre continues its activities. The warning, which was announced on the 8th of March, was based on the final ruling of the Cassation Court on the 22nd of February 2006, according to which the BCHR has lost its appeal against its dissolution. According to the Societies Law, members of the BCHR could be sentenced for up to 6 months imprisonment and/or pay a fine of up to BD500.

The BCHR has continued its activities since its closure in September 2004. It has denounced the restrictive Law on Societies according to which the BCHR was closed and highlighted the lack of judicial independence.

The BCHR calls for securing its right to operate freely, protecting the rights of its members as human rights defenders, and to take all the necessary measures to secure freedom of societies and the independence of the judicial system in Bahrain.

Attachments:

  1. Rights group loses appeal”: (Source: Gulf Daily News – 8 March 2006)
  2. The US Country Reports on Human Rights Practices- March 8, 2006 – (Clauses related to the closure of BCHR)

Rights Activist Moved to Hospital after Health Deterioration

Detainees Subjected to Assault Before and After Arrest

Urgent Action Requested

Ref: 00040600 16 March 2006

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The detention of nineteen Bahrainis who were arrested on 10th March, including two human rights defenders, has been extended for two weeks. The arrest took place following the forceful dispersion by the Bahraini riot police of a set-in near Al-Dana Mall in Manama, calling for the release of the detainees related to “Airport Incident” (BCHR Ref: 16010605).

Reports received by the BCHR accuse the authorities of unjustifiable use of excessive force against demonstrators and subjecting detainees to physical assault during and after their arrest The detainees were held incommunicado and denied medical treatment and clean clothes for 3 days and were reportedly threatened and mistreated during interrogations.

Moosa Abd-Ali, 24 years, Ekr village, has been reportedly taken to the hospital twice since his arrest, and his health continues to deteriorate as he continues his hunger strike. Mr. Abd-Ali is a human rights activist who in a previous case was kidnapped and assaulted by secret police(BCHR Ref: 04020603). Mohammed Mustafa Al-Kamel, has also reportedly been admitted to the Salmaniya Medical Complex for treatment as a result of a hunger strike.

Qanee Saleh Abdel-nabi, 26 years, Sitra, who is also among the detainees, is an elected member of “The Committee to Defend the Rights of Those with Inherited Blood Diseases” (CDRTIBD). He himself suffers from blood disease (sickle-cell) and needs special medical care to prevent episodes. His mother and brother were allowed briefly to visit him yesterday and they noticed swelling in his foot which is a sign of health deterioration.

We urge you to do whatever is in your power to intervene in order to secure the release and well-being of the detainees, and insure that they receive proper treatment and medical care and to insure a just and fair trial if their case gets turned to the criminal court.

Thanking you kindly for your continued cooperation and please do not hesitate in contacting us for any additional information.

Nabeel Rajab Bahrain Centre for Human Rights

The Unemployment Committee: Background Information

Report Prepared by the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights Ref: 11020604

The Unemployment Committee is an elected body which was established on the 18th of September, 2005 by a number of unemployed Bahraini citizens who, as they expressed, exhausted all means of finding employment with a decent wage which supports and efficiently covers their most basic needs.

Around 800 members had elected forty members to the central committee, which decides strategies and policies and elects the executive board. The current executive board was elected on the 9th of December 2005 and it consists of the following members: Ahmed Jaffar Ali, Hassan Abdelnabi, Sameer Al-Asfoor, Suhail Saleh Ali, Abdulla Mohsen, Faeka Al-Hasan, La’alea Al-Hayki, Layla Dashti, Mohsen Al-Salman, Moosa AbdAli, Maytham Al-Skeikh, Najji Fateel and Nader Al-Salatna.

The Committee derives its legitimacy not by Bahraini Law which prohibits the establishment of such committees without the placement of constraints, which would cripple the committee from exercising any of the rights and actions that it bases its foundation and organization of events on. Rather, it legitimizes its movement based on the fact that it is an elected representative of a large number of Unemployed and Low-paid citizens. The committee bases its work on relevant International norms.

The main goals of the committee can be summarized in three fundamental objectives that it strives to achieve:

  1. The demand of jobs with a salary of no less than 350BD, which was set according to an inflation plus to the amount specified by the Bahrain Centre for Studies and Research in a report published in 1994, which specified this amount as sufficient to cover a Bahraini Citizens basic need.
  2. The demand of Unemployment Security as called for by the Bahraini constitution.
  3. The demand of minimum wage or financial support for those citizens receiving wages less than the established minimum pay [1].

The Unemployment Committee is neither an employment agency, nor does it train the unemployed. It was formed as a means to pressure different government bodies and other parties that have the ability or the authority to help fulfill the goals set by the committee.

The Unemployment Committee has staged a large variety of events in the past year. Examples of those events are:

  • A peaceful demonstration during the Formula One that took place in Bahrain. The event took place by the Seef district on the 2nd of April 2005.
  • A Human Chain by the Sheikh Isa Bridge on the 9th of September 2005. This was a part of the International Campaign to combat poverty.
  • A demonstration near the Bahrain Training Institute, which was dispersed by force by the Kings Private Guard leading to injuries on the part of many demonstrators. This was on the 22nd of December 2005.
  • A rally in protest to the assault and kidnapping of one of the active members of the committee by security forces on the 29th of September, 2005.
  • A protest in response to the security forces sexual and physical assault on a member of the Unemployment Committee, Mr. Moosa AbdAli [2].

The Committee held several meetings and seminars related to the developments in the Unemployment problem and the follow up of events, especially those dispersed by force and led to injuries. One such seminar staged in cooperation with a Human Rights Society, was: “The Facts of What Happened at the Kings Court” Which presented Videos and photographs which made it evident that the security forces had used excessive force to disperse demonstrators who had taken part in the Unemployment Committees rally at the Kings Court, as well as presenting eye-witness accounts of the event. This seminar was held by the Bahrain Society for General Freedom and Support of Democracy, at the National Democratic Labor Society on the 3rd of July 2005. A detailed report was prepared by the Freedom Society outlining the violations.

The Second seminar followed another demonstration dispersed by force, which lead to numerous injuries amongst the demonstrator, some very serious. Of those injured were prominent Human Rights Activists who had taken part as observers, and innocent bystanders.

Members of the unemployment Committee have complained of continuous harassments by the security forces and intelligence, in a direct attempt to try and intimidate them into refraining from staging events that had proved embarrassing to the government in general and the head of the state in particular. Several members had been threatened by summons to police stations or by phone.

One of the active members of the committee Hassan Abdelnabi was subjected, twice, to kidnapping, interrogation and a severe beating by masked men whom he identified as being part of Security Forces. Moosa AbdAli, another active member was kidnapped, sexually and physically assaulted and left in an uninhabited area.

Other members of the unemployment Committee also faced threats which made them fear for their safety. This lead to several members of the committee joining Human Rights activists to stage a peaceful sit-in at the United Nations Building in Manama last December, to bring the UN and world attention to the violations that are taking place in Bahrain.

Notes:

[1] Information used in this report was taken from the Unemployment Committees Memorandum and other reports prepared by the Committee.

[2] Refer to the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights Report Ref: 04020603

Two years prison sentence for activist for participation in peaceful gathering

Bahrain Centre for Human Rights

Report Prepared: 09/02/06 Ref: 09020601

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) is greatly concerned upon hearing of the Lower Criminal Court verdict of two years imprisonment for 12 activist accused of exercising unauthorised gathering at the Bahrain International Airport.

The Public Prosecutor failed in providing any evidence of sabotage, one of the crimes the 12 were charged with, but convicted them of participation in an illegal gathering. This sentence is a clear violation of International Human Rights norms and freedom of assembly on grounds that the freedom of gathering cannot be restricted nor punished by law.

The case relates to a demonstration that took place on the 25th of December 2005 [1], when hundreds of people demonstrated peacefully at the Bahrain National Airport, demanding the release of Sheikh Mohammad Sanad, who had been detained upon his arrival from abroad. The arrest of the senior cleric came two months after he had called upon the United Nations to intervene and initiate a referendum on the legality of the current Regime in Bahrain.

Those sentenced are: Nader Ibrahim Abdul Imam, 32 from Jidhafs (member of the Committee of Activists and Prisoners of Conscience), Hassan Abdul Nabi, 25 from Sitra (Coordinator of the Unemployment Committee), who had been kidnapped in the past by the police and tortured), Ahmad Al Jaziri, 40 from Daih, Yasser Khalifa, 31 from Jidhafs, Jawad Abdulla Al Salman, 24 from Jidhafs, Qassem Mohammad Khalil, 19 years from Karzakkan, Muhsin Abdulla Al Salman, 23 from Jidhafs (a leading member of the Unemployment Committee), Hassan Al Haddad, 25 from Al Muharraq and Mohammad Hassan Ashoor, 21 from Karzakkan. Three others were sentenced in absentia: Abdulla Zain (a member of the Unemployment Committee), Ali Qambar and Sayyed Ali Sayyed Majeed.

Where as Hassan Majeed Al Jishi, aged 20, was cleared of all charges and released

Another group of activist related to the same case are to appear for their sentence trial on February the 15th, 2006 and the sentence is expected to be similar to first group. They are: Atif Mahdi Ahmad, 24 from Juffair, Yousif Ahmad Hussain, 27 from Al Ma’amir (a member of the Unemployment Committee), Fakhri Abdullah, 40 from Sanabis, Nasser Ali Nasser, 33 from Ras Rumman, Mohammad Majeed Al Jishi, 24 from Manama, Ismail Hassan Makki from Jidhafs and Abdul Amir Madan, 25 from Al Ma’amir.

Lawyers have raised their concerns on the authorities choice of the arrest and trial of these 20 individuals from the hundreds who participated at the gathering at the Bahrain International Airport, some of whom were clearly seen in video cassette brought by defendants and public prosecutor, and served as witnesses on behalf of the defendants.

Most of those victims who have been sentenced in this trail were subjected to assaults and arrests by the security police in the past six months, due to their participation in activities of public committees related to Human Rights.

Four such victims are namely: Hasan Abdullnabi, Hasan Al-Hadad, Nader Abdulemam and Mohsin Al-Salman who were also amongst a group of ten activists who staged a hunger strike in December at the UNDP building in Bahrain, in order to draw the attention of the United Nation to their being continuously subjected to security police intimidation and assault.

The BCHR has released a detailed report on the 16th of Jan 2006, which evidently supports the concern of many that the government has dealt with the Airport Case politically and not according to the law. The BCHR is highly concerned that this case contains various violations related to the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, the right to defend human rights, arbitrary detention and the right to a fair trial.

According to above mentioned situation, the BCHR demands the immediate release of the prisoners, in addition to the dropping of all charges, especially since the authorities were unable to prove that the detainees were involved in acts of sabotage. The BCHR urges the formation of a neutral investigations committee to look into accusations that the security forces used excessive force in dealing with the demonstrators on the night of the Airport Incident. The BCHR recommends using this case as a means to reveal the impartiality of the public prosecutor office and the judiciary which has proven repetitively that is far from being independent. The BCHR ask for the withdrawal and alteration of all laws that restrict freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. In addition, all the victims who experienced damages due to these laws that violate international standard should be compensated accordingly.

Kindly refer to a background report on the incident prepared by the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights: Reference No: 16010600

Details of the hearings According to the Gulf Daily News [2]

DEFENCE lawyers were stunned yesterday as 12 protesters were each sentenced to two years for an illegal demonstration at Bahrain International Airport.Lawyers shook their heads in disbelief after Lower Criminal Court judge Ibrahim Al Zayed delivered the verdict and handed out the sentences.

Nine of the men were already in custody and were in court for the verdict and sentencing.

But three were sentenced in their absence, after failing to respond to summons by police following the demonstration, on December 25.

Warrants had earlier been issued for their arrest. All 12 were cleared of assaulting police and damaging public property, but were each convicted of taking part in an illegal gathering.

"I can't believe it," said lawyer Mohammed Al Mutawa.

"I expected the judge to either release them today, saying that the time they have spent in jail was enough, or give them a maximum sentence of six months, not two years," he said.

Those jailed after appearing in court are Nader Ebrahim Andulemam, 32, Hassan Abdulnabi, 25, Bader Ahmed Al Jazeri, 40, Yasser Khalifa, 31, Jawad Al Salman, 24, Qassim Mohammed Khaleel, 19, Mohsin Abdulla Al Salman, 23, Hassan Al Haddad, 25 and Mohammed Hassab Ashor, 21.

The three sentenced in absentia are Abdula Zain, Ali Qamber and Sayed Ali Al Sanadi.

Hassan Majeed Al Jishi, aged 20, was cleared of all charges and released.

The airport demonstration, which ended in violent clashes with police, was sparked by the arrest of cleric Shaikh Mohammed Sanad on his return from Iran.

He was later released.

Around 70 people gathered in front of the Justice Ministry complex before the verdict, demanding the men's release.

Al Wefaq secretary-general Shaikh Ali Salman urged demonstrators to be calm and resort to peaceful means, saying that it was not the end and that justice was still open.

Ali Al Jazeri, brother of Bader, said the arrests and the court verdict and sentence were all unfair.

He said his brother was targeted because of his involvement in the Unemployed Committee.

Police arrested only a few of the 200 or so who were at the demonstration, said Mr Al Jazeri.

"The people were selected randomly and I don't know why the clergymen who were present there weren't caught, although they were leading the pack," said Mr Al Jazeri.

"Some of the clergymen went to the Public Prosecutor saying that they should be taken into custody like the rest, but their request was refused."

He insisted that Unemp-loyed Committee members were targeted in the arrests which followed the demonstration.

"The ones arrested were the best in the committee, the most active ones," claimed Mr Al Jazeri.

Mohammed Khalil, father of Qassim, said his son told him before entering the court that the only charge against him was illegal gathering and that he would be released in a few minutes.

"Everyone was optimistic, but people left there in tears, because the verdict was unfair," he said.

"I have nothing to say, other than that my son was selected because of his involvement with the Unemployed Committee."

Members of the Detainees Committee, set up after the arrests, are expected to meet after Ashoora to decided what to do following the verdicts.

Seven other men are due to appear in court next Wednesday, on similar charges.

They are Atif Mahdi Ahmed, 24, Yousef Ahmed Hussain, 27, Fakhri Abdulla, 40, Nasser Ali Nasser, 33, Mohammed Majeed Al Jishi, 24, Ismail Hassan Maki and Abdulameer Madan, 23.

Meanwhile, the now-dissolved Bahrain Human Rights Centre condemned the court's ruling, describing it as a violation of international human rights conventions.

In a statement issued last night, it said the ruling violated international laws protecting people's right to take part in public gatherings.

Notes:

[1] Refer to the Report prepared by the BCHR Ref: 16010600

[2] A local Newspaper which published an article detailing the hearing on the 8th of February 2006

Violations against a human rights defender

Report Prepared by the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights Ref: 04020603

1. Information regarding the alleged victim

  • Full name: Moosa Abd-Ali Ali Mohammed
  • Age: 5 March 1981
  • Sex: Male
  • Profession or occupation: Unemployed
  • Place of residence: Villa 331, Road 2408, W. Eker 624, Kingdom of Bahrain
  • Contact: Cell phone (Mobile)#: +97339845397
  • The victim’s affiliations: activist with the Committee of the Unemployed
  • Nature of human rights work the individual performs: Member of the negotiating sub-committee which organizes sit-ins and demonstrations and negotiates with authorities on behalf of the unemployed.

2. Nature of the alleged violation

According to Mr. Abd-Ali, plainclothes persons affiliated with or acting on behalf of Bahraini security forces abducted him on the night of November 27. His abductors released him the same night. On November 30 he filed complaints with the police at Isa Town and with the Public Prosecutor’s office in Manama alleging that his abductors beat him severely, assaulted him sexually, and threatened him with further harm unless he ceased his activities on behalf of the Committee of the Unemployed.

Mr. Abd-Ali provided the Bahrain Center for Human Rights with copies of medical examinations, one dated November 28, from the International Hospital of Bahrain, and the other dated November 29, from the Accident and Emergency Department of Salmaniyya Medical Center, a facility of the Ministry of Health. The International Hospital report noted contusions on both Abd-Ali’s legs and his upper back consistent with his allegation that he was beaten. The Salmaniyya Medical Center report also noted contusions on Mr. Abd-Ali’s legs, and that the alleged sexual assault did not involve penetration, according to Mr. Abd-Ali. The Salmaniyya Medical Center report also contained a notation, “Police to be informed.”

Description of the incident

(As stated by the victim in his testimony to BCHR):

On Monday November 28th, 2005 early morning at 1:00, five civil automobiles surrounded the house of Activist Moosa Abd-Ali, as he was taking the garbage out. There were all veiled, in plainclothes, and armed with batons and personal guns. They introduced themselves as security personnel asking him to go with them. When Moosa asked for an arrest warrant they mocked him with foul language. Detecting their cruel nature and peculiar accent with the black veils on their face, Moosa was able to realize that they were from the same Special Forces who attacked him and others in June 19th unemployment protest, where he got severely injured and underwent medical treatment ever since, till to date (Please refer to the enclosed report).

Moosa tried to escape but by shooting in the air he was intimidated and arrested. He was then handcuffed and driven to an isolated remote spot of Sitra Island Industrial Area, where he first was brutally beaten using batons, then two of the offenders stripped him of his clothes and got on the top of his back one after the other in direct sexually attempt. Due to his resistance they were not able penetrate, but was left polluted with sperms over his body. Before leaving, they threatened to assault his family members also, and told him to carry this message to the other members of the Committee for Unemployed if they still insist on next-day's protest. At around 2:30am, they left the scene, leaving Moosa behind worn out on the ground.

Circumstances relevant to the incident:

On November 22nd, 2005, a crowd of 500 Unemployed Bahrainis were gathering near the Bahrain Training Institute, in preparation to march to, and sit-in opposite of the Royal Court. After a round of negotiations between representatives of the Royal Court with five members of the Committee of Unemployed (among them Moosa Abd-Ali, Sameer Al-Osfoor and Mohsin Salman), it was agreed to postpone the sit-in activity, in turn the Royal Court was to arrange for a meeting with the representatives of the Unemployed the following day to secure jobs for the listed unemployed as promised before more than three months.

The Royal Court did not arrange for a meeting as promised. The Committee of Unemployed held a general meeting and decided to set November 29th, 2005 as a date for new sit-in opposite of the Royal Court. Official mediators, and security officers contacted members of the negotiating committee warning of the consequences of having any protests taken place in front of the Royal Court. The unemployed committee answered that they will proceed with the sit-in since the unemployed are under severe frustration and pressure of surviving with their daily family needs without any source of income. Then, about 8 hours prior to this sit-in, Moosa Abd-Ali was kidnapped and exposed to physical and sexual assault as came in this communiqué.

3. Steps taken by the concerned authorities

On December 4th, Lt. Gen. Sheikh Rashid bin Abdullah al-Khalifa, the Minister of Interior, met with Mr. Abd-Ali, his father, and Nabeel Rajab, vice-president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, to discuss the attack against Mr. Abd-Ali. This meeting followed several days of disturbances in Manama in which police clashed with demonstrators protesting Mr. Abd-Ali’s treatment. At this meeting yesterday Sheikh Rashid affirmed that the security services under his authority would fully cooperate with an investigation that the Public Prosecutor is conducting into the matter.

Possible measures that can be taken to remedy the situation

Recommendations:

We strongly urge the government to conduct a thorough, impartial, and speedy investigation into Mr. Abd-Ali’s allegations, to make the results public, and to hold accountable any security officials or other persons found to be responsible for this attack. We also hope that the government will as a matter of course conduct serious and thorough investigations into all credible allegations of serious human rights violations of this nature.

* After this report was issued Mr. AbdAli suspended his cooperation with the authorities, the reasons explained in attached press release.