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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.

Will Representatives legislate to restrain freedom of societies?

New bill to restrict formation and practice of national societies and human right organizations

Report by Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) - January 2006

The National Societies Draft Law (NSDL) that was passed lately by the Services Parliamentary Committee, was carefully studied by BCHR with deep concern. Compared with the active 1989 Law, this new NSDL includes positive articles, yet same essential restrictions and shortages are still present. Thus, BCHR demands both of Counseling and Parliamentary chambers to abolish the current law and withhold passing any law that restrains freedoms of societies, and to replace them with alternative legislations that would support the formation and activities of societies.

The full report can be downloaded from the link below.

Trial of Seven Protestors Postponed to the 26th of February

Trial of Seven Protestors Postponed to the 26th of February Bahrain Centre for Human Rights Ref:06020000

The trial of the Seven protesters, arrested and charged after a demonstration calling for the release of the Prisoners who got sentenced in two separate hearings((BCHR Ref: 09020601, and “Sentencing of 4 Activists”: 15/02/06), was postponed to the 26th of February. Family members of all seven detainees reported signs of beating and bruises on the detainees. Jaffar Hussain Eid, 25 years, from Maameer, is reported to have a broken leg as a result of a brutal beating he received by the riot police upon his arrest (kindly refer to the pictures Attachment 001). The Centre has also received a medical report for Mohammed Adulrasool, dated 20/01/06; after his arrest, which states that he has bruises and injuries. Detainees released in relations to the same incident concurred on information that several of the detainees showed clear signs of beating. During the trial family members and Human Rights Activists were refused entry into the court. Those standing trial are:

1. Abdulla Madan, 26 years, Maameer 2. Mohammed Abdulrasool, 30 years, Daih 3. Jaffar Hussain Eid, 25, Maameer 4. Jaffar Abdul-Jabar Jaffar Al-Mushaima, 24 years, Daih 5. Ahmed Yousef Mushaima, 26 years, Daih 6. Mohammed Hassan Saif, 24 years, Manama 7. Ali Jaffar Jassim Rabea, 24 years, Daih

Kindly refer to the BCHR’s report Ref: 02010606 for background information on the issue.

On a separate issue, the BCHR is gravely concerned upon hearing that the authorities have summoned 2 members of the Unemployment Committee (Ref: 11020604 for background information on the Unemployment Committee), to the Public Prosecutions Office. According to Ali Hassan, one of the members summoned, and an active member of the Unemployment Committee, they were both threatened and warned of grave repercussions if the do not desist from participating and organizing events that the authorities are uncomfortable with. He claims that they were told that the authorities have been watching their every move, and he was personally threatened with arrest when he refused to sign a statement. Members of the Unemployment Committee have been repetitively subjected to threats and harassment by the security forces in the past (several BCHR reports have related cases of Kidnapping and assault on members of the committee), and several of their members were amongst those tried and sentenced last week in relations to the “Airport Incident” case(Ref: 16010600).

Arbitrary detention and unfair trial of 21 Human Rights defenders

Violations of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly

January 16th , 2006 Ref: 16010605

On the 7th and 8th of January 2006, the cases of twenty one citizens were brought before the Lower Criminal Court. Twenty of those defendants were accused of unauthorized gathering and damaging public property at the Bahrain International Airport. The defendants have been in detention for three weeks without being able to meet their lawyers. On the other hand, the authorities have used their control over the local press to stage a propaganda campaign to influence public opinion and to criminalize the defendants before any court ruling.

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (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 fair trial.

Based on the circumstances highlighted in this report,:

  • the BCHR call for the immediate release of all the detainees,
  • even in such cases as well-established accusation of sabotage against any individual, the Bahrain authorities should respect human rights principles and international standards of a fair trial, and the principle of being innocent until proven guilty,
  • the BCHR urges immediate and impartial investigation in reports of the repeated use of excessive force by security forces,
  • the BCHR recommends the evaluation of these cases as a test for the impartiality of the public prosecution and the independence of the judiciary as provided for in the Bahraini legislations and international covenants.

It is very essential, considering the current conditions in Bahrain to provide monitoring by local and international human rights organization, especially in cases in which the government is impartial.

Circumstances and background

The protest at the airport was a direct reaction to the temporary arrest at the airport on 25 December 2005, 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.

As a result of the protest, Sheikh Sanad was released and was received the next day by the Deputy Prime Minister, while protesters were subjected to arbitrary detention and unfair trial.

On 26 December 2005, the day after the airport event, an official statement clamed that

“after the arrest of Khalid Hameed Mansoor Sanad, who was wanted for preaching national security, at 8:00 pm, around 100 persons gathered in the arrival hall of the Bahrain International airport, they started rising slogans and disturbance in the hall. The police warned them to leave the hall, when they refused, the police dealt with them by evacuating and dismissing them. During that time they rioted and damaged main entrances of the airport. The police managed to retain control and stability and managed to arrest four instigators of riot and sabotage..” (1)

Scores of eye witnesses stated to the BCHR that the demonstrators were peaceful but refused to leave the hall before the release of Sheikh Sanad. They claimed that a special security force used excessive force against demonstrators, leading to disturbance and injuries among demonstrators. According to the local press, eight protestors were treated at AlSalmaniya public hospital for injuries during the forced evacuation (2).

Significantly, four of the detainees in this case, namely: Hasan Abdullnabi, Hasan Al-Hadad , Nader AbdulEeman and Mohsin Al-Salman were among a group of ten activists who staged a hunger strike in December at the UNDP building in Bahrain to draw the attention of the United Nation after being subjected to security police intimidation and assaults. Moreover, two others from the same group namely: Abdullraof Al Shayeb and Sayed Sharaf Al-Sitry were among those who were subjected to physical assault at the airport.

Detention and Trial

Seventeen of the defendants have been in detention since the event. They have not been allowed to meet with their lawyers. Moreover, in regard to the trial, only few selected relatives were allowed to attend court sessions. Nabeel Rajab vice- president of Bahrain Center for Human Rights was prevented from attending the trial.

At court, the defendants pleaded not guilty. The case was adjourned and the defendants have been remanded in custody despite request by lawyers for their release. Mohammed AlMotawa, a lawyer of some of the defendants, said to the press that the trial was unconstitutional and the that defendants were randomly selected among more than 200 persons who were at the scene at the time of event.

At trial, the public prosecutor presented a document issued by the director of Bahrain airport estimating the cost of repairing a broken glass and chairs as BD 460 ($1226) (3). An estimation, which is far less than the picture painted by the authorities in the local press concerning “sabotage” of the airport.

The Defendants

The first group: The Lower criminal court – chamber 2- decided on January 7 to adjourn the case of the first group to 23 Jan 2006, the defendants in this group were:

  1. Nader Ebarahim, Abadul-Emam, 32 years, Jidhafs (member of the Committee of Human Rights Defender and Prisoner of Conscience)
  2. Hasan Abdullnabi, 25 years Sitra, (coordinator of the Unemployment Committee, he was subject to kidnapping by security force and harshly beaten)
  3. Bader Ahmed Al Jazeeri, 40 years, Al- Dair
  4. Yaser Khalifa, 31years, Jidhafs
  5. Jawad Alsalamn, 24 years, Jidhafs
  6. Hasan Majeed Al Jash,i 20 years, Manama
  7. Qasim Hassan khaleel, 19 years, Karzakan

The second group: The Lower Criminal Court – chamber 2 decided on 8th January to adjourn the case of the second group to 30th Jan. 2006, the defendants in this group were:

  1. Mohsin Abdulla Alsalman, 23 years , Jidhafs (Executive Member of the Unemployment Committee)
  2. Hasan Al Hadad, 25 years, Almaharq (Independent activist)
  3. Mohammed Hasan Ashoor, 21 years , Karzakan

The third group: The Lower criminal court – chamber 4 decided on 8 January to adjourn the case of the third group to 5 February 2006. The defendants in this group were:

  1. Atif Mahdi Ahmed , Aljuffair
  2. Yousif Ahmed Hussain, 27, Alma'ameer (member of the Unemployment Committee)
  3. Fakhri Abdulla, 40, Sanabis
  4. Naser Ali Naser, 33 years, Ras Roman
  5. Mohammed Majeed Aljeshi, 24 years, Manama
  6. Ismail Hasan Maki , Jidhafs
  7. Abdulameer Madan, 23 , Ma'ameer

Other defendants: In the same case, and after a request by the General Attorney, the court ordered the arrest of three other suspects who did not turn themselves in to the police.

  1. Abdulla Zain-Eldeen (member of the Unemployment Committee)
  2. Ali Qamber
  3. Sayed Ali Majeed

Other related case: Mohammed Yousif Abdulla Alsengace, 35 years, an activist from Maqaba, was also brought to court on 7th January. He was beaten up harshly by security force and was arrested on December 30th 2005 when he was protesting for the release of the detainees. The court ordered his release on 100BD bail.

Notes:

(1) Akhbar Alkhaleej 26th Dec. 2005 (2) Akhbar Alkhaleej 26th Dec. 2005 (3) Alwatan newspaper 8th Jan 2006

Aftermath of “Bahrain Airport Incident”

Vast violations related to protests in Daih and Sanabis on January 19th [1]

Use of excessive force by special police leading to casualties and damages Random Arrests and incommunicado detention Risk of unfair trial and imprisonment for up to 10 years Confessions obtained through coercion Bias and misinformation by the media Violation of the right to freedom of gathering

2 January 2006 Ref: 02010606

The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) is gravely concerned for the health condition and fate of nine Bahrainis suspected of involvement in protests on the 19th of January, who are being held in custody for two weeks pending investigation. BCHR was told by relatives that the detainees were severely beaten during arrest and were ill-treated during interrogations.

The detainees 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 (Details of the incident to follow).

In violation of International and national laws, all detainees were held incommunicado for at least three days, 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. Up to date human right societies were denied access to the detainees.

A General Prosecution spokesman said to the local press that the defendants now face charges of staging an illegal rally involving more than five persons, violence and acts of sabotage compromising public security. According to an earlier statement issued by the Interior Ministry, they could face up to 10 years in jail [2].

Those held over in detention include:

  1. Abdulla Madan, 26 years, brother of activist detainee Abdulameer Madan, from Maameer
  2. Mohammed Abdulrasool, from Daih
  3. Sadeq Mohammed
  4. Jaffer Hussain Eid, 25 years, from Daih
  5. Jaffer Abduljabbar Jaffer Al- Mushaima, 24 years, from Daih
  6. Ahmed Yousif Mushaima, 26 years, from Daih
  7. Mohammed Hassan Saif, 24 years, from Manama
  8. Ali Jaffar Jassim Al-Rabee
  9. Mohammed Adel Al-Taranje- released on the 01/02/06

Four others who were released on 21 January revealed to BCHR how they were beaten and mistreated during arrest and interrogation before they were released due to “lack of evidence” (Attached summery of their testimonies).

Information and updating about the detainees:

Mr. Madan's brother, Jaffar, told the Gulf Daily News on the 22nd of January, that Abdulla was not taking part in Friday's demonstrations, but was in Daih visiting friends. The family have been to see Abdulla Madan since then, and report to have seen bruises and signs of beatings on his body; as related by his brother who visited him on the 28th of January, 2006.

Mother of Mohammed Saif told the BCHR on the 23rd of January that she has just been to visit her son, where she witnessed bruises and clear signs of beatings on his body in addition to stitches in the head that he claims was a result of the police brutality. She told the BCHR that her sons shirt was torn up when she met him and he conveyed to her that it had happened during the beating. He also told her that he had been subjected to beating during interrogation.

The Two Mushaima Cousins were arrested together on Thursday night, while they were on their way to meet their fiancées. Their families have been to see them since and report to have seen bruises and signs of beating on their face and the rest of their body.

Jaffar Hussain Eid has also been visited by his father on the 29th of January, and is reported to have a broken or fractured leg which has been gypsed. Mohammed Siaf’s mother related the same information to the BCHR after her last visit to her son.

Details of the events at Sanabis and Daih:

Trouble flared as a wall of riot police confronted marching demonstrators demanding the release of 21 people held in connection with clashes at Bahrain International Airport on December 25th [4]. Police opened fire with teargas and rubber bullets as a gang of youth started turning over large bins to build a barricade. Organizers tried to disperse the crowd of around 200 people, before the trouble escalated. Riot police crossed into the Daih area and fired teargas and rubber bullets into the small streets, causing residents - including small children playing outside - to rush into their homes. Youth then spread out through the Sanabis and Jidhafs area, setting fire to rubbish bins and screaming, "Come and get us". Helicopters and riot police convoys continued to patrol the area for at least an hour and a half after the demonstration ended [3].

A Human Rights activist attending the demonstration, Abdel-Mohsen Habib Al-Muqdad, 46 years, member of “Committee of Relatives of Detainees” was hit by a rubber bullet in the back and was treated in the Salmaniya Medical Complex. He told BCHR that his car and seven other cars were reportedly damaged by the police. He, and other owners of the cars, failed to report the damage the next day, because the officer refused to fill in a complaint against security.

Two other men, Isa Mansour Mohammed, aged 42, and Ali Hussain Al Hakim, 35, were treated at the Salmaniya Medical Complex. The men, from Hamad Town, claim that they were only in Daih to pick up food for their family when they were caught up in the incident. Mr. Al Hakim had to get stitches to his head while Mr. Mohammed was treated for injuries to his face and back [5].

As well as in previous incidents, media coverage of the violations was subjective and biased, based primarily upon information obtained from the authorities. And as some local newspapers reporters conveyed to the BCHR, there are orders from the authorities to censor and desist from writing any information related to the cases of the detainees.

Attachment:

Four Youth Tell the Story of their Arrest

Violations and Beating of Youth by Security Forces

A Report By: Bahrain Center for Human Rights, 29/01/06

Four of the thirteen detainees arrested on Thursday the 19th of January, following a demonstration calling for the release of the “Airport Incident” prisoners, were released on Saturday January 21st. Sayed Sharaf Sayed Kadhem Alderazi, 20 years, Sadiq Mirza Jassim, 25 years and Hussain Abdulwahid Shehab, 18 years, met with the BCHR and made statement of the violations and beatings they were subjected to. The fourth person released, “Ali Sadiq” from the UAE, who was visiting Bahrain over the weekend was unable to make a statement at the time.

The four youth were in their car heading to Bahrain Mall when they saw small fires in Sanabis area. They saw special forces, with blue-green dress, wearing black masks beating some youth. They were suddenly attacked by a large number of riot police and were forcefully removed from the car and severely beaten. The driver, Sayed Sharaf, was dragged out of the window and the rest were taken out through the doors of the car.

The three complained of continued harassment and beating during their arrest and detention, vile language used by the security forces and refusal on the part of the authorities to establish contact with their families. They claimed that the treatment they received during interrogations was harsh; they were left in the cold with few dirty blankets, and were ordered not to talk during their stay. One claimed that he was beaten during interrogations and threatened with severe beating if he refused to talk. The youth state that they were handcuffed during most of their two days detention period and were continuously promised access to their parents only if they cooperated during interrogations.

One of those detained with them, as one of them states, Muhammed AbdulRasool was by far the one most seriously injured. He was only taken to the hospital after continuous attempts by the rest to group to pressure the police into treating him. He was finally taken on Friday after interrogations were completed. Mr. AbdulRasool was suffering from an inability to open his eyes, severe pain in his back and possibly his foot, which prevented him from lying down or sitting properly. Mr. AbdulRasool is still in custody, since his arrest on 19th January, and his medical condition is not yet known.

Upon meeting the three Youth the BCHR witnessed fading signs of beating. Mr. Sharaf’s eye still showed signs of swelling and marks on the head and, as he claims, back and knee. Hussain Shehab had signs of swelling on his face.

Personal testimony by one of the Youth:

“When we left the house I called Sadiq and Ali Sadiq “Emarati national” was with me. We left the house, and I told Hussain that I would go and pick him up to go to the Bahrain mall. We saw fires as we entered the roundabout before the Bahrain mall. I said I will first go to Al-Helli. I saw a lot of guys who were getting beaten. The attackers were all masked. The officers riot police wore green and blue clothing. They started hitting our car window. Each one of us was attacked by ten men and they beat each one. The Emarati guy kept shouting that he was Emarati. They threw Sadiq into the car. He was shouting but suddenly he stopped. I thought he had died. They stopped us by the wall with a bunch of other guys, we were around 13. A guy called Jaffar was with me in the jeep. Some of us got thrown in the jeep some in the bus. They put our sweaters over our heads to cover our eyes.

Mohammed AbdulRasool was with us when we were arrested. His eyes and legs were all hurt. He could not stand, sit, or walk properly. We told the police at the station that we were beaten they said it was not possible. They took us to a police station first, and then moved us by bus to interrogations. They refused to turn off the air conditioning when we asked them to at the station even though it was freezing cold.

We asked them once we reached interrogation to call our family but they said after the interrogation. The minute we reached interrogations, an officer of Yemeni Nationality called Isa, beat us.

We also got insulted and beaten in the jeep but when I told the interrogating officer he told us that it wasn’t possible. He refused to listen and they took our statements and we signed the papers then they took us to a freshly painted room (95) and it was very cold and the air-conditioning was on and they refused to turn it off. They gave us each a blanket and they refused to let us call our families.

I was also insulted in the jeep, where a member of the security force told me in a condescending manner: “they say you Baharna (Bahrainis) don’t feel” and he stepped on my hand. “I am Yemeni” he said to me “say welne’em (a word of praise)” and when I refused to answer he hit me with something (a helmet or a gun) on my head. He said “do you use perfume? I am Yemeni and my perfume is more expensive than yours you stinking Bahrani.”

After that, they put us in the room they told us that if we talk they would put us in solitary confinement. But after a while one of the guys with us started talking to us and said what can they do to us that is any worse than this? Then they let many commandoes into the room with us (60-70) all masked.

We were 13 in the room. They pointed out six among them Hussain, two from Ma’ameer, Jaffar, a guy from Daih, and Mohammed AbdelRasool. They wrote their names. After that they interrogated us again. He wrote our statement and told us at 4:00 that they will take us to the Public Prosecutions Office.

They wanted the Emarati guy’s passport. They took me out to give them the number. They pulled me out and made me wait until 4:00. We waited until around 6:00. They sent a woman to the Emarati guy and asked him what he wanted. He said I have to leave (go back to UAE). She said okay we’ll let you go, we’ll even take you to the airport even if the case is not closed. A guy called Fahad at interrogations had told him that they will not let him go back. He asked to see the Emarati guy to interrogate him personally. From the beginning he told them that he was Emarati and said he would not talk until he’s back in UAE.” (End of testimony)

Notes:

[1] For background information on the airport incident, kindly refer to the BCHR’s report dated 16th January, Ref:16010605. [2] The Gulf Daily News, 22 January, 2006 [3] [4] The Gulf Daily News, 20 January, 2006. [4] The Gulf Daily News, 22 January, 2006

Update: The trial of 21 activists

Testimonies at court on the event at the Bahrain Airport incident

2nd January 2006

The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights is following with great concern the trial of 21 activists. The following are updates of court sessions on 23rd and 30th January 2006 [1].

Eighteen people are currently in custody following the airport incident which was sparked by the arrest of cleric Sheikh Mohammed Sanad who called for a referendum supervised by the United Nations on the legitimacy of the political regime. Sheikh Mohammed was later released.

1. Details of the session on 23rd January [2]

Seven men appeared for the second time before the Lower Criminal Court on charges relating to violent clashes during a demonstration at the airport on December 25th. Nader Ebrahim AbdulEmam, aged 32, Hasan Abdulnabi, 25, Bader Ahmed Al Jazeri, 40, Yasser Khalifa, 31, Jawad Al Salman, 24, Hasan Majeed Al Jashi, 20 and Qasim Hasan Khaeel, 19, all deny the charges.

They each face three charges, damaging public property, assaulting police and causing a disturbance in a public place, and taking part in an illegal gathering. Each could face up to seven years in prison if convicted of all the charges, said their lawyer Mohammed Al Mutawa. He said the court had so far only addressed the damage issue.

The airport demonstration was sparked by the arrest of cleric Sheikh Mohammed Sanad on his return from Iran. Sheikh Mohammed was later released. Eight witnesses testified at the hearing. Four said that airport property was damaged by crowds trying to flee the arrivals area and was not deliberately sabotaged. Witnesses also claimed that riot police assaulted demonstrators and caused additional damage to airport property in the melee.

Judge Ebrahim Sultan Al Zayed adjourned the case until February 4th, when he said a CD purporting to contain photographic evidence taken during the clashes would be shown by the defence.

Salmaniya Medical Complex reports of more than 10 people who were allegedly injured by police will also be submitted at the hearing. Witness Zahra Muradi, from Muharraq, told the court that the violence was started by security forces. She said she was paying her telephone bill at the Batelco outlet at the airport when the demonstration began.

Ms. Muradi said she stayed at the airport after meeting acquaintances from the Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society who were taking part in the demonstration. "Foreigners" were ushered out of the airport and all doors except one were sealed off by security forces, said Ms. Muradi.

Riot police advanced from both sides on protesters who were sitting on the floor and a stampede occurred as people rushed to leave via the sole exit, said witness Ali Salman.

Mr. Salman claimed the damage to airport property was caused during the stampede and that riot police assaulted protesters in the car park of the airport. Mr. Al Mutawa said outside the court that there was no evidence to support the charge that any of his clients damage airport property.

All seven were further remanded in custody until the next hearing. They did not seek bail, but were allowed a brief reunion with relatives at the court complex. Public prosecution officials allowed detainees to enter the waiting area and greet jubilant relatives and supporters, after the court session closed.

Zainab Ahmed Rashid, aged 50, and Kadhim Khalifa, 55, parents of detainee Yasser Khalifa, 29, were reunited with their son. Ms Rashid had said earlier that she was worried about her son's health because he suffers from bronchial asthma and hemorrhoids.

He has been held since going to Khamis Police Station for questioning on December 28th, after police issued an arrest warrant in his name on December 27th. "He told me not to worry, but he looked very tired. He told me that he had been taken to hospital while in custody," said Ms. Rashid. "He's not in very good health - he has bronchial asthma and also suffers from hemorrhoids.

"The last time I saw him was in court on January 7th. He just looked tired. Of course, how can someone go to prison and come out looking comfortable? "I saw him here today. He was crying." Ms Rashid said her son's children Ammar, 11, and Bayan, five, had not been told their father was in custody, but they constantly asked about him. "They ask about their father and we tell them he's travelling; how do you tell a five-year-old his father is in prison?" she said. "Even Ammar doesn't know. What does an 11-year-old understand about these things?"

Mr. AlMutawa said the defendants could face up to seven years in prison, if found guilty of all three charges, which relate to Article number 155 (part A), Article 178 and Article 179, from the criminal law. Article 155 (part A) alone carries a maximum jail term of five years and 178 up to two years, he said. Photographs taken on the night of the clashes will be shown at the next hearing to support the defence case, said Mr. AlMutawa, adding that he hoped the openness of the hearing was a positive sign.

2. Details of the session on 23 January [3]

A judge yesterday ordered police to take three hunger-striking Bahraini prisoners to hospital for treatment. The men on trial, have been on hunger strike since Friday, they told a Lower Criminal Court judge yesterday. Mohsin Abdulla Al Salman, 23, Hassan Hamad Al Haddad, 25, and Ismail Hassan Makki said they had been refusing food and drink for four consecutive days, to protest their innocence and demand their release.

They each face three charges, damaging public property, assaulting police and causing a disturbance in a public place and, thirdly, taking part in an illegal gathering.

The men alleged in court that they had been mistreated in custody and that officials had interfered with their religious practices. Detainees were only being given one 'turba' (clay pallet used during prayer), even though their families sent them at least five, Makki told the judge. Officials are interfering with detainees' religious rights, which are human rights, said Makki.

Defence lawyers Ahmed Al Arayedh, Shahzalan Al Khamees and Mohammed Al Mutawa asked that all three be released on bail, but this was refused. They also asked that the men be taken for treatment at Salmaniya Medical Complex (SMC), on the basis that the Interior Ministry clinic was not equipped to treat them. Their physical condition has seriously deteriorated while in prison, Ms. Al Khamees told Judge Ebrahim Sultan Al Zayed.

Judge Al Zayed ordered that they by taken to the SMC for treatment and that they be provided with whatever religious facilities they need. The lawyers also asked the judge to order that the three be tried together with seven other defendants, who appeared earlier on similar charges. Judge Al Zayed agreed and all 10 will now appear together before the court on Saturday.

A CD containing photographic evidence taken during the clashes, brought by the detainees' lawyers and video of the incident submitted by the prosecution, will be shown at Saturday's hearing, lawyers said. They said they would also submit medical reports from the SMC on more than 10 people, who were allegedly beaten by riot police.

Detainees briefly met with families, supporters, activists and religious figures, who gathered in the waiting area outside the court yesterday. Supporters also rallied outside the Public Prosecution in the Diplomatic Area, carrying placards and photographs of detainees as well as addressing passers by via loud speaker.

The 17 men arrested on charges relating to the airport clash were originally being tried in separate groups- two groups of seven men and one group of three.

Mr. Al Salman, Mr. Al Haddad, and Mr. Makki will now join Nader Ebrahim Abdulemam, 32, Hasan Abdulnabi, 25, Bader Ahmed Al Jazeri, 40, Yasser Khalifa, 31, Jawad Al Salman, 24, Hasan Majeed Al Jashi, 20 and Qasim Hasan Khaleel, 19, for a hearing on February 4.

Atif Mahdi Ahmed, Yousif Ahmed Hussain, 27, Fakari Abdulla, 40, Nasser Ali Nasser, 33, Mohammed Majeed Aljeshi, 24, and Abdulameer Madan, 23, Mohammed Hassan Ashor, 21, are said to be due in court on Sunday.

It is understood that lawyers may seek to have all 17 men tried together, since they face similar charges. Arrest warrants have been issued for three other men, lawyers confirmed.

Notes:

[1] For background on the airport-incident case, kindly refer to the BCHR report dated 16th of January, Ref:16010605

[2] Source: Gulf Daily News, 24th January 2006

[3] Source: Gulf Daily News, 31 January 2006

Moosa suspends cooperation with loitering authorities

Press release

I, Moosa Abdali, declare the suspension of all kinds of collaboration with the Public Prosecutions Office (PPO), in regards to the case of my kidnapping and the physical and sexual assault that I was subjected to by the security forces on the dawn of Monday, November 28th, for the following reasons:

  • My lawyer Ali Al Jubail was denied entrance to the investigation sessions.
  • Despite the authorities’ public declaration in the newspapers that they were to permit access to independent observers, human rights activist Mr. Nabeel Rajab was denied access to the sessions.
  • Considering the way my case was initially handled by the PPO, through illusive announcements leading to disbelieve and non credibility, even before they officially took charge of my case, it was clear to me that they will never be truthful in revealing the reality which was entrusted to them.
  • A while ago, I was visited after midnight by an interrogation team where I was treated agressively. Moreover, an officer was waving his gun towards me while he was speaking to me, trying to send me a message in a threatening, provocative manner.
  • Interrogation was conducted in the PPO's building in an extremely tiring manner, it was more of an intimidation and scaring session than a helpful, cooperative hearing. My witnesses, my wife, and myself were dealt with as accused detainees. Once we were interrogated from 6:00pm until 4:30am of next morning! Furthermore, we were apprehended in such a way that we were unable to even go to toilet if they would not allow! The questions were directed to us and our witnesses as if we were criminals on trial, not just-cause-possessor victims and witnesses.
  • Prosecutors refrained from noting-down any testimonies associated with the alleged parties who threatened us prior to the incident. Prosecutors, also, refused to put-on-record any information linked to the real the motive behind the assault (which was clearly the activities of the "Unemployed Committee" that led me and my colleagues to threats and aggressions).

All the above clearly indicate that the PPO is neither a neutral body nor does it have any serious intentions about disclosing the truth of this case. They are just trying to bully us and divert the accusation fingers off the regime and the involved officials in the assault case which might end up being filed against "unknowns"! This could, as well, come in sync with the governments' use of supremacy to prevent the formation of an inquiry committee by the parliamentary chamber, and the prevention of attorney and jurists presence to observe the inquiry progress that the PPO would conduct. If they were really serious about their role, why had they not investigated previous assaults that were carried out against us 5 months ago by same officials, supported by evidence that was provided by their own affiliated "Legitimate Doctor"!!

As a result, having consulted my advocate attorney and jurists, I have decided to completely end my cooperation with the PPO on matters related to my case, and I call on the witnesses to discontinue their cooperation as well. I hereby, demand the formation of an independent and neutral inquiry committee, since high rank officials are already involved in this case and their inclusive influence within the PPO is obvious.

I shall appeal to international organizations, as well as the United Nations in order to press on the Bahraini authorities to disclose the truth, to inure the attainment of justice and to bring those responsible to justice.

Moosa AbdAli Ali Mohammed, December 13th, 2005

“Veto” against the participation of a Human Rights Defender in the Forum for the Future In Bahrain

9 November 2005

About seventy representatives of civil society organizations from around the Middle East, meeting in Qatar, were outraged yesterday when the organizers informed them that the Bahrain Government might not allow Abdulhadi Alkhawaja to attend the Forum as their representative.

In there closing meeting yesterday, the participants in the human rights preparatory workshop for the Forum for the Future, insisted that Alkhawaja will continue to be apart of there six-representative-delegation to the forum, and they reflected there position and concerns in the Closing Statement along with there recommendations (see the attachment).

For more details: You may contact: head of the delegation, Bahei eldeen Hassan, Gulf Hotel, Tel: +973 17713000, or Nabeel Rajab, vice-president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, Mob.: +973 3963339

CLOSING STATEMENT ( Draft Translation)

Human Rights Workshop For Forum for The Future

Doha, 7-8 Nov 2005

The organizations and activities of civil community in Broader Middle East have met in the preparatory human rights forum on 7-8 Nov 2005 in Doha, the forum was organized by the National Human Rights committee (Qatar) and INTRAC Organization (U.K). The meeting had reached some of recommendations relating to support of the civil community role in the reform process from the legislative point of view as well as several mechanisms for realizing the targets.

First: The legislations

  1. Removing all legislative, administrative, security restriction regarding the establishment and activities of civil society readapting the related legislations according to the international standards, including the legislations for receiving funds from national and international sources.
  2. Removal of all legislative, administrative and security restriction regarding the establishment, management of political parties, information media, communication, freedom of information flow, opinion, expressions, creed, assembly and meeting with whatever means . Readapting of related legislations according to international standards.
  3. Termination of emergency state whenever effective. Cancellation of legislations and extraordinary courts.

Secondly: The Mechanisms

  1. Establishing “Forum for the Future Network of Civil Societies” in the region in order to represented in the forum, and follow up extent of progresses in reform process, to follow up the excellent of response of the government with civil community recommendations.
  2. Supporting the campaigns of awareness for the public opinion regarding the issues, priorities of human rights and reform. Parliamentary pressing groups to be formed for changing related legislations a cordoning to information standards.
  3. Establishment/ Supporting National institutions for human rights protection according to international standards.

The participants in the forum confirmed that the realization of reform process objectives in the region are hardly imagined to be executed without providing peaceful and safe environment. The G8 countries are required to bear their responsibilities to terminate immediately the Israeli occupation for Palestinian territories. Time schedule should be declared for withdrawal of foreign forces from Iraq.

Finally,

The participating have condemned the objection of Kingdom of Bahrain government against the participation of the struggler/ Abdulhadi Al. Khawaja, the most distinguished defender for human rights in the Arab world and the director of Bahrain Centre for human rights to participate in the meetings of Forum for the Future. They expressed their surprise that the government of Kingdom of Bahrain had committed such assault on the human rights and rights of civil society originations in choosing their representative in a meeting whose priorities are issues of human rights and reform.

The civil society organizations don’t accept that any party shall VETO against their representative. They consider the collusion of other countries will destroy any remaining credibility of the Forum for the Future.

Human Rights Defender was prevented from participation in the Forum for the Future In Bahrain

2 November 2005

The Bahrain Centre for Human rights express its concerns on the decision of the Bahrain government to prevent the president of the Bahrain Centre from attending the sessions of the Forum for the Future held In Bahrain on 11-12 November 2005. Mr. Alkhawaja was chosen by Human rights groups in the region to represent them in an International event, of which Bahrain was a host. The BCHR also express concerns on the passive role of the UK, G8 and other governments in this issue, which gives an example of how powerless are civil societies and NGO’s are captives of government.

Around seventy activists and representatives of civil society organizations in the Broader Middle East had met in Doha in 7-8 Nov 2005 to discuses human rights in the Middle East. The meeting was a part of a preparation mechanism adopted by the G8 and BMENA Governments as preparation for the Forum for the Future on 11-12 Nov. 2005 in Bahrain.

The workshop was organized and facilitated by the National Human Rights Committee (Qatar) and the International NGO Training and Research Centre INTRAC (U.K). The meeting adopted a number of recommendations relating to the role of civil society and reforms related to promotion of human rights. The participants formed a group of six persons to represent them in the meetings of the Forum for the Future in Bahrain. Among the group was Abdulhadi Alkhawaja, president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights.

At the closing meeting, the participants were outraged when they were informed that the Bahrain Government will not allow Abdulhadi Alkhawaja to attend the Forum as their representative. The organizers said that they were informed by the UK foreign ministry about the issue. The UK Government position was presented to the participants as follows:

Official UK Government 08. 11. 05:

  1. Whilst we are the G8 president, the final decision over participation in the Forum rests with the Bahraini Host.
  2. We have good story to tell at the Forum and are concerned that past differences between Abdulhadi Alkhawaja and the Bahrain government may distract attention away from the good work undertaken at the Forum
  3. Knowing that Bahrain will not allow him to attend, it is for Mr. Alkhawaja to decide whether he wishes to offer his seat to another civil society delegate to go in his stead.

    The participants insisted that Alkhawaja would continue to be apart of there delegation to the forum in Bahrain, and they reflected their position and concerns in the Closing Statement as follows:

    “The participants have condemned the objection by the government of the Kingdom of Bahrain against the participation of the struggler Abdulhadi Al. Khawaja, the most distinguished defender for human rights in the Arab world and the Director of Bahrain Centre for Human Rights to participate in the sessions of Forum for the Future. They express their surprise that the government of the Kingdom of Bahrain had committed such an assault on his human rights and the right of civil society organizations in choosing their representative, in a meeting whose priorities are issues of human rights and reform.

    The civil society organizations do not accept that any party has the right to VETO their choice of representation. They consider the collusion of other countries will destroy any remaining credibility for the Forum for the Future.”

    In Bahrain, The Bahrain Center for Human rights and its president Abdulhadi Alkhawaja urged representatives of civil societies to exclude the option of boycotting the meetings. Hence, the human rights group participated in the meetings and raised the case during the sessions while the seat of sixth member remained empty.

    Abdulhadi Alkhawaja at the Dublin Platform for Human Rights Defenders

    Testimony given by BCHR president Abdulhadi Alkhawaja at the Third Dublin Platform for Human Rights Defenders, organized by Front Line, October 2005

    On September 2004, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights started a campaign on economic and social rights. A report on the subject was launched during a seminar attended by several thousand people. I, as the director of the center, presented a paper examining why the living conditions are deteriorating for half of the citizens of a country that is rich with oil. The paper accused the government of mismanagement and corruption, and proposed strategies to combat violations relating to economic and social rights.

    A few days later, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights was closed and I was arrested. After two months in detention, I was sentenced to one-year imprisonment, but I was released the same day thanks to powerful campaigns at both national and international levels. My case was featured on local news and satellite channels and provoked a series of demonstrations and protests in Bahrain, as well as interventions by many local regional and international actors and NGOs.

    Despite closure, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights continued its activities assisting the unemployed and the underpaid to form a committee, and organizing a series of peaceful protests. The authorities did not tolerate the protests and on three occasions, during June and July of this year, a military special force assaulted more than 90 protesters including myself and other activists who were monitoring the events.

    On Sunday 19 June 2005, during a peaceful protest in front of the royal court, I was severely beaten by the special military force when they assaulted protesters, despite the fact that I presented my identification as the president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. As a result, I am still under treatment for a fraction in my upper jaw and for two damaged teeth.

    Less than one month later, on Friday 15 July, I was deliberately assaulted by military special forces, before the start of a demonstration which intended to march on the House of Representatives to call for social security for more than 30000 unemployed citizens. I was repeatedly beaten on my head and back for more than 15 minuets by members of “alsaeqa” military force who carried batons and were covering their heads with black masks. I suffered physical pain and body exhaustion for more than two weeks, and still have scars from the beatings on my body. Five other victims, including Nabeel Rajab, the Vice-President of the Center, are still under treatment.

    More than 90 people were assaulted in this incident, including a minor and three women. The police confiscated and damaged the videos and mobile cameras of the participants and reporters. A film including photographs of the injured and video shots, which were taken secretly by a mobile camera, was smuggled from the scene.

    The events have not yet been investigated despite national and international appeals and petitions. Nevertheless, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and the Committee for the Unemployed continue their activities for the promotion of human rights in Bahrain with even more will and determination.

    Finally, I wish to pay gratitude to all who supported me and the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, including Front Line others whose representatives attend this conference.