18 Jul, 2013

Bahrain: Sayed Maher Jaffer, Injured With Approx. 100 Pieces of Shrapnel in His Head and Back, Denied Medical Treatment at Dry Dock Prison

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) is gravely concerned about the continued denial of access to medical treatment for prisoners of conscience, and partifularly in regards to the cases of injured prisoners in need of immediate treatment for injuries resulting from the brutal repression carried out by security forces in Bahrain.

On the 15th of June 2013, Sayed Jaffer Hashim Shubar, 40 years old, was shot with a pellet shotgun while participating in a peaceful protest in his home village of Bilad AlQadeem. A video which was published online shows his brutal arrest after being shot by a policeman from a very close distance. Link to the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usDMVjJIxOA&feature=c4-overview&list=UUgxq8SzhoGECQdjDCGhO0Dg 

Photos taken from the video

Instead of publishing a statement about investigating the incident and prosecuting the policeman, in an absolute contrary, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) published a statement on the same day in which it referred to the protestors as 'rioters', 'thugs', and 'saboteurs', and that some were arrested under the pretext of 'enforcing the law and restoring order'. The MoI stated that "the Director-General of the Capital Governorate Police has announced that the security forces intervened to disperse saboteurs and rioters who had created chaos in Bilad AlQadeem village on Saturday." Link to the full statement: http://www.policemc.gov.bh/en/news_details.aspx?type=1&articleId=18807 

On the 17th of June, Sayed Maher's family has received a call from the Nabih Saleh police station, instructing them to bring him clothes. When the family went as requested, the prison officials refused to receive the clothes and informed the family that there were orders to transfer Sayed Maher elsewhere. On the 23rd of June, the family went to the office of the Public Prosecution, and were informed that he was transferred to the Dry Dock prison. The following day, the 24th of June, the family went to the Dry Dock prison where prison officials denied having Sayed Maher in their facility. When they returned to the office of the Public Prosecution and informed them that they could not locate him, the family was told that they will be contacted whenever there is any news about Sayed Maher. 

On the 25th of June, the family again went to the office of the Public Prosecution and they were sent to see Mr. Abdulminim at Dry Dock Prison. After following the given instructions, they were able to meet Sayed Maher for the first time, and they came to know that he will be kept in detention for 45 days pending investigation on charges of rioting and illegal gathering. The family now fears for his health condition and his life as he is still denied medical treatment.

This is not the first time that political prisoners are denied medical treatment in Bahrain. In a similar case, detainee Mohammed Sahwan, who was injured with 80 pieces of shrapnel in his head and neck after riot police fired a cartridge from a shotgun at him in 2011, was denied treatment after being arrested at the border to Qatar where he was attempting to travel for treatment. He is still being denied medical treatment, despite his deteriorating health condition. For more details on his case, see: http://bahrainrights.hopto.org/en/node/5392

Based on the above, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights holds the Bahraini authorities responsible for the life, and the physical and psychological well-being of Sayed Maher Jaffar and all other political prisoners, and demands the following:

  • Immediately and unconditionally release Sayed Maher Jaffar along with all other prisoners of conscience
  • Provide Sayed Maher Jaffar and all other prisoners with adequate medical treatment
  • Put an end to the excessive use of force against peaceful protesters
  • For the authorities in Bahrain to commit to the international conventions which they have ratified, especially concerning the rights of prisoners to receive full medical care
10 Jul, 2013

Bahrain: Prime Minister to Officer Acquitted on Torture Charges: "Thank you for your work"

(Left) PM Khalifa Al Khalifa (Right) Mubarak ben Huwail

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) is gravely concerned in regards to the authorities in Bahrain fostering the culture of impunity, and especially in regards to a video which was published recently online showing Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, the world's longest-serving unelected Prime Minister of 43 years, visiting an acquitted torturer to thank him and guarantee impunity.

On the 7 July 2013, a pro-government account on YouTube uploaded a video showing the Prime Mister visiting Lt-Colonel Mubarak bin Huwail after he was acquitted on 1 July 2013 of charges related to torturing medics in detention back in 2011. (Read More on: http://bahrainrights.hopto.org/en/node/6205).

Photo taken from the video (Mubarak ben Huwail on the left, PM in the middle)

Photo taken from the video (Mubarak ben Huwail on the left, PM in the middle)

The Prime Minister’s visit to bin Huwail only reaffirm that impunity comes from the highest levels of the ruling family. It also reaffirms the fact that the judiciary system in Bahrain is neither independent nor fair; and far from being in line with international standards. Kangaroo courts and unfair trials continue against political dissidents in continuation of allegations of torture both inside and outside official government buildings; whereas those accused of extrajudicial killings or torture are either acquitted or given very light sentences in regards to the charges.

During the visit, the prime minister began with "We do not allow any harm towards you. These laws, no-one implements them on you. Our relationship with you, what is implemented on you is implemented on us. We are one body."

"As I told you, I came here to thank you for your patience, and for your kind work. The work of this whole family, is the reason behind your reputation which can't get any better."

"I came here to thank you all, and to thank Mubarak. He is our son, and nothing shall harm you, wherever you are, I'll always be there for you." The PM ended.

Link to the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVundvyyNS8

 

 

It is important to note that Huwail had numerous torture allegations made against him over years. Rula AlSafar, the nursing society chief who was arrested on April 4, 2011 stated “The principal investigator, Maj Mubarak bin Huwail, tortured us. He blindfolded and handcuffed us during the interrogation. He wrote whatever he wanted to write and then took our signatures on the false statements by beating us. We were humiliated, intimidated and degraded.”

The culture of impunity in Bahrain has acquitted many other officers as well despite the presented credible evidences; most of the officers whom were put on trial for charges related to torture allegations, where either acquitted or given light sentences. Read more on: http://bahrainrights.hopto.org/en/node/6193

In addition to the thanks and impunity offered by the highest officials, the culture of impunity in Bahrain is as well represented in the form of offering promotions to the torturers instead of accountability. On 28 Jan 2013, the King has promoted Bassam Al-Muraj in a royal decree to become the General Director for Anti-Corruption, Economic and Electronic Security in the General Directorate, despite the credible torture allegations which have been made against Al Muraj for several years by local and international human rights organizations. Read more on: http://bahrainrights.hopto.org/en/node/5628

The BCHR believes that the policy of impunity is clearly practiced by the Public Prosecution and the Judiciary in Bahrain, and it is a systematic policy implemented at the highest levels of government, which was proven by the recent video of the Prime Minister. Also, the fact that the visit of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture was effectively cancelled by the Government of Bahrain, which was due to take place in May 2013, is another indicator that the Bahraini government is not serious about implementing reforms and about abiding by the local and international laws. Read more on: http://bahrainrights.hopto.org/en/node/5720

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

  • The intervention of the international community and the United Nations bodies to prevent the Authority from continuing to further fasten and exploit the culture of impunity, which will lead to more innocent victims.
  • Senior officials and members of the ruling family in Bahrain must be held accountable by an independent, transparent and impartial judicial system.
  • Investigations must be held in all cases of torture, and the perpetrators have to be held accountable.
  • Allies of Bahrain must pressure the Government of Bahrain to allow a visit by the Special Rapporteur on Torture.
8 Jul, 2013

Bahrain: Human Rights Defender Said Yousif Al-Muhafdha Under Judicial Attack Again

 

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses its concern over the continued attacks on human rights defenders in Bahrain. Sayed Yousif Al-Muhafdha, the BCHR’s Acting Vice President and Head of Documentation Unit, was acquitted on 11 March 2013, however, the public prosecution appealed his acquittal. His ruling hearing was postponed to 12 September 2013.

On 17 December 2012, Mr  Al-Muhafdhah was arrested from the capital Man