18 Aug, 2013

URGENT APPEAL: Nafeesa Al-Asfoor – Political Prisoner’s Health at Risk, Denied Adequate Medical

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) calls for the urgent intervention in the case of Nafeesa Al-Asfoor who has suspicious breast lumps and suffers from other diseases as well. She is being denied adequate medical care for her condition despite the several attempts of her family with the prison administration for her to receive medical attention.

Nafeesa AlAsfoor got arrested on the 20th of April 2013 with Rihanna AlMousawi after peacefully protesting at the F1 race with t-shirts and slogans that called for the freedom of an imprisoned human rights activist and a photographer. She was reportedly tortured to extract confessions, and was charged under the terrorism law for aiding in an attempt to plant a fake bomb at the F1 race when she was first arrested. (Read more: http://bahrainrights.hopto.org/en/node/5729)

According to the family Nafeesa AlAsfoor was checked for suspicious multiple breast lumps in the past which she travelled to Jordan for further treatment for and returned on the 15th of February 2011.  AlAsfoor has informed her family during visits and phone calls after a month of her arrest that she noticed the return of a suspicious breast lump upon self-examination in detention accompanied by pain.

Her husband made appointments for her at Salmaniya Hospital but the detention center refused to transfer her to hospital and has asked him instead to get an approval from the Public Prosecution, which he did through her lawyer. The prison administration continued to refuse to take her to the hospital.  When the appointment passed, the husband repeated the process four times but AlAsfoor was not transferred to the hospital for treatment. It is important to note that AlAsfoor was taken to the Bahrain Defense Force Hospital for checkups, but no treatment was provided nor have they informed her about the results of the checkups.

Another health problem Nafeesa AlAsfoor suffers from is the dislocation of jaw joints which causes a friction between the jaw and head bones, and for which she needs a particular diet. She is also required to wear a TMJ splint that stops her jaw from sliding out of place. Her husband took the splint to the detention center, but they claimed to have lost it. After AlAsfoor lost a considerable amount of weight, the prison administration contacted the husband and asked him to bring her another TMJ splint, which he did. In addition to her jaw problem, AlAsfoor also suffers from severe migraines for which she requires ongoing treatment.

Photo of Nafeesa during detention in a wheelchair

During the last visit, her husband noticed that Nafeesa AlAsfoor had broken her foot as a result of she losing consciousness and falling. She was using walking sticks. It is important to note that AlAsfoor has reportedly lost consciousness many times during detention. A Russian detainee imprisoned for criminal charges, who speaks Arabic, informed the husband during a visit that AlAsfoor had fainted for about 45 minutes before the ambulance transported her to the hospital.

On the 16th of August 2013, the family received a call from AlAsfoor informing them that she is at the Fort Prison Hospital and that that she will stay for a couple of days. The following day the family received news that AlAsfoor was diagnosed with anemia which has been the reason for her loss of consciousness several times during detention, and that she will be held under observation. The family and the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) hold the Bahraini authorities responsible for the life of Nafeesa AlAsfoor and her physical and psychological wellbeing.

 

The BCHR calls on the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Nations, the European Union and all close allies and relevant international institutions to put pressure on the Government of Bahrain to:

  • Immediately and unconditionally release Nafeesa AlAsfoor along with all other political prisoners, especially in the case in which the only evidence are confessions extracted under duress
  • Provide Nafeesa AlAsfoor and all other prisoners with adequate medical care especially those with potentially life threatening illnesses.
  • Launch an impartial and independent investigation into the allegations of torture and assault made by Nafeesa AlAsfoor during her imprisonment in Bahrain and prosecute all officials involved in her torture
  • Immediately end the culture of impunity in Bahrain and hold accountable all those involved in violations, especially those in high position in government.

 

 

Bahraini activist speaks out

15 Aug, 2013

Bahrain: Abduljabbar Ahmed: Abducted from his Office, Held at the Criminal Investigations Department

Family of AbdulJabbar Ahmed is concerned about the fate of their son and demand his release

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) expresses its concern about the safety of Bahraini citizen Abduljabbar Ahmed, 32 years old, from Karzakkan - south of the capital Manama. Ahmed was reportedly abducted from his office at dawn on Sunday, August 11 2013, by intelligence officers in civilian clothing who said they work for the Criminal Investigations Department.

The BCHR team received detailed information about the case that provided that AbdulJabbar Ahmed Ali works in the Samsung Construction Co. as security guard, and this company has been assigned the responsibility of guarding a sewage station in the Hidd area. While Ahmed was at work inside the security office, approximately at 2 am, a civilian car tried to enter the station, but the guards told those inside the car that they are not allowed to enter that area. A few minutes later, a police patrol tried to access as well but the guards prevented them from doing so. After approximately 15 minutes, civilian cars and police patrols surrounded the security room, entering by force and confiscating the phones and car keys of the present guards. They informed them that they are affiliated with the Criminal Investigations Department and commenced to search the guards’ cars. They then returned all phones and car keys except for Abduljabbar Ahmeds; who they arrested and took to an unknown location. Before leaving the security guards’ room, the civilians affiliated with the CID threatened the present guards from talking to anyone about the arrest of AbdulJabbar Ahmed otherwise they will face the same fate.

 At approximately 4:45 am, a group of civilians accompanied by police patrols raided the apartment of AbdulJabbar Ahmed located inside his father's house in the village of Karzakkan, searching the apartment without providing a search warrant. They then left the apartment without informing the family that their son had been arrested.  The family contacted Abduljabbar Ahmed to alert him about the incident, but his phones were turned off. After numerous attempts, the family received the news of his arrest. The family informed the BCHR that they believed the authorities had tampered with Ahmed’s phone as his “Watsapp” application status was online during the time he was arrested.

On the evening of Tuesday, August 13, 2013, Abduljabbar Ahmed contacted his family from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). The phone call lasted for less than a minute during which he only said he “was fine and no time to talk”. He made another phone call from the CID building at noon on Thursday, August 15, 2013 and informed them that he “is fine” and when they asked about his place of detention, the line was cut before he could answer.  The lawyer tried to get information about Ahmed’s place of detention and the case for which he was arrested, but the authorities, until the time of publishing this statement, refused to release any information.

AbdulJabbar Ahmed’s family fears that he may be subjected to torture and  ill-treatment at the CID building. The BCHR has documented numerous cases of torture that occurred, and in most cases the detainees had called his family and stated that he “is fine”. His lawyer has also expressed concern about the possibility of Ahmed being taken to the Public Prosecution for interrogation without a lawyer, that has become a recurring event in Bahrain. The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) has documented several cases in which detainees were forced to confess malicious charges under threats of torture; and other detainees also reported getting beaten and/or threatened by the prosecutor and some renewal judges.

Based on the above, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) calls for the following:

  • Reveal the whereabouts of detained AbdulJabbar Ahmed, and in the absence of any evidence of crime, immediately and unconditionally release him
  • Allow Ahmed the right to a lawyer and family visits
14 Aug, 2013

Urgent Appeal: Health of Activist Zainab AlKhawaja in danger

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses its grave concern in regards to the authorities in Bahrain’s harassment of imprisoned activists. Activist Zainab Al Khawaja is incarcerated with prisoners who have hepatitis A and B, highly contagious infections, without vaccination and the prison administration is ignoring her complaint. During the weekly visit this week, Al-Khawaja's family voiced concern as they noted that she looked pale and had lost a noticeable amount of weight. Also Bahrain13 activists were moved to a sma