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    For the Second Time in Less than Two Months: The Prosecution Interrogates Al-Wefaq’s Secretary General on the Charge of Insulting the Authority

    The Bahrain Center for Human Rights condemns the Authority’s continuous restriction of peaceful political work and the Authority’s targeting of opposition figures with the intent of deterring them from continuing the path of demanding freedom and democracy. The General Directorate of Criminal Investigations and Forensic Evidence summoned[1] the Secretary General of Al-Wefaq National Islamic opposition society Sheikh Ali Salman for an urgent interrogation, and this is the second time in less than two months that Salman is interrogated.

    Mr. Abdullah Al-Shamlawi – Sheikh Ali Salman’s lawyer – mentioned on his official account on the social media network Twitter that the Criminal Investigation interrogated Sheikh Ali Salman on 28 Dec 2013 regarding his speech on Friday[2] 27 Dec 2013 and then he was sent to the Public Prosecution, and after having spent more than 6 hours in the Public Prosecution building the latter decided to release Salman while ensuring the place of residence[3] and banning him from travel[4], after charging him with “publicly inciting the hatred of a sect of people, and spreading false news knowing that it is likely to harm national security and public order, and consequently harm in fact happened’, according to the Public Prosecution’s statement.[5]

    Sheikh Ali Salman had given a speech[6] in Imam Al-Sadiq mosque in Qufool at noon on Friday 27 December 2013, where he emphasized on the legitimacy of the demands of the Bahraini people and the necessity to continue peaceful work to obtain rights. However, the Ministry of Interior[7] had announced through its official account on Twitter summoning the Secretary General of Al-Wefaq National Society to question him about his speech and the sectarian language that constitutes an incitement against a sect of the society. The Ministry of Interior added that Salman’s speech contained an incitement against the ruling regime[8] which caused a breakdown in security and unlawful acts, which they allegedly state. The summoning of Sheikh Ali Salman comes two days after Bahrain’s ruler Hamad Al-Khalifa’s visit to the Ministry of Interior[9] and him thanking the security apparatuses for the work they’re carrying out.

    The authority’s forces abused dozens of citizens who protested in front Sheikh Ali Salman’s house demanding his release on 28 Dec 2013. They arrested more than 7 citizens, 5 of them were released and two others will be presented to the Public Prosecution on 29 December 2013. Among the detainees was Al-Wefaq’s former MP – who had resigned – Abdul-majeed Al-Sebea who was arrested while attempting to prevent the Forces from suppressing the gathering in front of the house of Al-Wefaq’s Secretary General. The Forces also suppressed a number of peaceful demonstrations that went out in a number of villages and cities of Bahrain demanding the release of Salman, and to stop targeting the opposition leaders. In his first statement after his release, Sheikh Ali Salman said[10] that the Authority is monitoring his phone and know that he was intending to travel in two weeks on a tour to visit some of the European countries to inform them about the reality of what is occurring in Bahrain.

    A group of regime forces coming forward to suppress the peaceful gathering in front of Salman’s house

    Suppressing the protestors in front of Sheikh Ali Salman’s house

    This is not the first time that Sheikh Ali Salman is targeted; he had been summoned for interrogation several times, the last of these times was on 3 November 2013 where he was also charged with “insulting a governmental body” on the background of Al-Wefaq National Society holding an art exhibition in its center to display the peaceful revolution in Bahrain and portray the Ministry of Interior’s violations[11]. Before that, Sheikh Ali Salman was summoned in the military court during the state emergency period. Salman’s arrest falls within the context of the suppressive campaign led by the Authority against the peaceful political opposition. The security apparatuses had arrested the political assistant of the Secretary General of Al-Wefaq’s National Society Mr. Khalil Al-Marzooq[12] for a month, and interrogated him on a charge within the Terrorism Law, and then released him later while continuing to look into the case. There are still 13 opposition figures detained since March 2013 in the case known as “Coalition for the Republic”; they have been sentenced to prison to periods that vary between life sentences and 5 years imprisonment, after accusing them of seeking to overthrow the regime by force, among them is the former president of the BCHR Abdul-hadi Al-Khawaja. Human Rights Watch indicated in a report[13] that was published at an earlier time the great discrepancy in the measures taken against the leaders and the clear corruption in the judicial body. The Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs is waging an open war against the civil society institutions, especially the opposition political societies. It had recently dissolved the opposition Islamic Action Society[14] (Amal) to limit its political activity. The Court[15] is currently looking into a lawsuit filed by the Ministry of Justice against the Olamaa Islamic Council, and the final decision will be made on 29 January 2014.

    Sayed Yousif Al-Muhafdha– Vice-president of the BCHR – said that the judicial body, including the Public Prosecution, are tools used by the Authority to suppress the opposition and to punish them, while the security apparatuses step up to prosecute the Shiite preachers and opposition, it turns a blind eye to some of the preachers who openly speak about cursing[16] the largest component of the society and they call for eliminating[17] and killing it[18]. Al-Muhafdha added, “The BCHR had previously released a report that addresses the biasness of the judicial bodies and public prosecution[19] and its involvement with the Criminal Investigation in forcing detainees to confess to fabricated and malicious charges. Al-Muhafdha considered that targeting the opposition is a clear violation of Article 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights[20] related to freedom of establishing societies and peaceful gatherings, as well as Article 19[21] of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights concerned with maintaining freedom of opinion and expression.

    Based on the above, the BCHR calls on the US, UK, UN and all the close allies of the Authority and relevant international organizations to:

    • Put pressure on the Authority in Bahrain to take into consideration and maintain human rights especially those related to freedom of expression and peaceful political work;
    • Trial Bahrain internationally for its continuous and repetitive violations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which it had endorsed;

    It also calls on the Authority in Bahrain to:

    • Drop all charges against Sheikh Ali Salman the Secretary General of Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society;
    • Immediately release all the prisoners of conscience especially the opposition leaders;
    • Stop targeting and prosecuting the opposition and the human rights activists due to their peaceful demand activity;
    • Hold accountable and question all those involved in the violations and torture whether by supervision and / or order, especially the higher ranking ones;
    • Drop all charges related to freedom of expression in the ongoing trials.
     
    Document Type: 
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  • 01/01/14--09:14: Can you be happy in Bahrain?
  • By: David Isaksson

    28 December 2013

    Over the last years I have been travelling all over the world, going to countries where I have not yet been before and asking people about what it is in their lives that’s makes them happy. The aim is to visit and meet people in 50 countries where I have not yet been, in addition to the about 100 countries that I has visited previously.

    The journeys have so far taken me everywhere from Belarus to Cameroon, and even some countries that officially does not exists, such as Nagorno-Karabakh and Transnistria.

    Now, the time had come to visit Bahrain, a small nation state (in fact it is an island) on the Persian gulf with a population of just 750 000 people. During the Arab spring the people in Bahrain demanded freedom and liberty, just like in Egypt, Tunisia, Libyan and Syria. However, the protests where crushed with the help of tanks from Saudi Arabia. Since, then several human rights activists, journalists and others have been jailed. Amnesty International and Reporters without Borders are among those prostesting against the situation in Bahrain.

    So, what would make people happy in Bahrain?

    The plane from Dubai to Bahrain takes just about one hour. After filling in the emigration documents I present my passport to the immigration official. He looks at it, asks how long I will be here (over the day) and then gives my passport to a superior and asks me to sit and wait. The area behind the passport control is full of senior security officials. A man sitting at the next sofa is summoned: “You are on the blacklist, you have to get back to Riyadh!,” he is being told, and no matter what he says, he is led away to a waiting plane (presumably).

    One hour later an officer calls me. He want’s to know what I am doing, what my profession is, if I doesn’t have anything to do with media in my professional life. I explain to him that my company Global Reporting is doing a lot of information and communication work, but that I’m, at the moment, travelling as a tourist while at the same time asking people in different countries about what happiness means for them.

    “Why would you like to ask anyone in Bahrain about Happiness?” he asks, before presenting the “evidence”. He has downloaded my presentation for the Global Reporting website: “Is this you?” he asks. And of course it is.

    After addition questions about who I know in Bahrain (I don’t know a single person), what I going to do and whom I am to visit I’m asked to wait again while he contact his superiors in the capital. Once again, I’m sitting there on the bench, now surrounded by anxious-looking migrant workers who’s papers might not be in working order.

    Another three hours pass while new loads of migrant works comes and goes, together with western expats and occasionally someone who looks like if he or she could be from Bahrain. Are they happy coming back to their country?

    Then, the senior migrant official is back. My entry is denied. I am not allowed to entry Bahrain. Instead, he asks about my ticket so he could put me on the next available flight back to Dubai.

    So far, I have been visiting about 140 countries, in the great majority of cases without any problems what so ever, even countries such as Belarus and Iran had let me in. In fact, this is the very first time that I have been denied entry to a country that I have not previously been engaged in or covered in on a continuous basis.

    Obviously, happiness must be a very dangerous issue in Bahrain.

    Continue reading on http://www.globalhappiness.se/content/can-you-be-happy-bahrain

    Document Type: 

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    Barbaghi Mosque, Destroyed by the Authority in April 2011 and Intends to Change its Historical Location, and is Still Preventing Prayer on its Site

     

    “A State that intentionally destroys or intentionally fails to take appropriate measures to prohibit, prevent, stop, and punish any intentional destruction of cultural heritage of great importance for humanity, whether or not it is inscribed on a list maintained by UNESCO or another international organization, bears the responsibility for such destruction, to the extent provided for by international law” - Article 6 of UNESCO’s Declaration concerning the Intentional Destruction of Cultural Heritage[1].

    The BCHR denounces the Bahraini Authority’s strive to restrict religious freedoms and its persistence in provoking a sect of the society, by preventing prayers in the locations of the mosques it destroyed in 2011, as well as the Authority’s persistence in its crime to destroy the cultural heritage represented in attempting to change the historical location of the mosque which is more than 450 years old. The Authority prevented[2] for a second week in a row a group of people from praying in the location of“Ameer Mohammed Barbaghi” mosque located to the right of Khalifa bin Salman highway leading to the capital Manama; it suppressed the people praying and arrested one of them. This was followed by summoning and questioning a number of people as well.

    Details indicate that calls have been made by a public body to perform the Dhuhr prayer on Saturday 28 December 2013 on the location of Barbaghi historical mosque which is more than 450 years old, after receiving confirmed information that the Authorities intend to change its original location and to move it approximately 30 – 100 meters backwards, in a provocation to the religious sentiments related to the mosque’s location, in addition to violating the sanctity of the site as a cultural and historical monument.[3]

    A photo showing the iron fence put up by the Authority around the destroyed Barbaghi mosque to prevent praying in it

    A photo of the imposed security barrier to prevent the people from gathering

    The security apparatuses confronted these prayer calls by imposing an iron fence around the site, in addition to the heavy security presence on all the entrances leading to the mosque with the aim of preventing the crowds from reaching the site and praying there. While some were attempting to pray, the regime forces suppressed the crowds by using teargas and chasing people with police vehicles and trying to run them over. The forces were able to arrest Sayed Hashim Ali while he was heading to pray, he was detained until 31 December 2013 and then released. The TV director Yasser Nasser was also summoned on 30 December 2013 to Isa Town police station where he was arrested and then presented on the following day to the Public Prosecution to interrogate him about his attempt to pray in Barbaghi mosque’s location. During the interrogation the Public Prosecutor asked him if he had “a permit to perform prayers in the site”. He also asked him not to go pray in this mosque again, “because building this mosque violates the requirements of the Ministry of Municipality and is now considered a security zone”. He was released after the interrogation.[4] On 31 December 2013 the religious scholar and head of the Shariah Committee at the Olamaa Islamic Council, the religious scholar Fadhel Al-Zaki was summoned and questioned at Isa Town police station on the charge of “participating in a gathering that was not notified about”, on the background of his attempt pray in Ameer Mohammed Barbaghi mosque.[5]

    Photo showing the group of people heading to pray at the destroyed Barbaghi mosque and the regime forces attempting to prevent them

    Worth mentioning, what further provoked people’s feelings was that there were sectarian and offensive phrases written on the washing facility in the mosque’s location which is surrounded by a fence and which raises the question of who is the person behind the act amid the security barrier that has been imposed since two weeks on the mosque’s location.[6]

    Photo: a number of offensive phrases written on the mosque’s facilities

    The security apparatuses had also prevented praying at the same mosque location last Saturday 21 December 2013, and forced people to go to another site to pray, although prayers were performed in the location for the past two years after the mosque was destroyed. This type of security restrictions on the locations of destroyed mosques is not the first of its type, the BCHR had monitored in a previous report the security forces preventing prayers in June 2013 in another historical mosque and which is Abu-Thar Al-Ghufari mosque which is more than 3 centuries old, and which the Authorities intend to turn into a “park” after it had destroyed it in 2011.[7]

    Photo: Setting up playground games in the location of Abu-Thar Al-Ghufari mosque as an approach to turn it into a park

    The mosque of Ameer Mohammed Al-Barbaghi lies in an extinct village known as “Barbaghi[8]”, and it is an old historical shrine for a sublime religious scholar known as“Sheikh Ameer Mohammed Barbaghi” whose tomb is in the mosque. Confirmed sources indicate that Barbaghi mosque was established in 1549[9], which means its existence was before Al-Khalifa’s family[10] came to Bahrain in 1783, which is more than 230 years difference. The regime forces, alongside the Peninsula Shield Forces, destroyed the mosque[11] on 17 April 2011, after suppressing the massive protest in the Pearl Roundabout and declaring the state of emergency period which initiated a new phase of suppressing and harassing the Bahraini people.

    The BCHR believes that turning a historical and cultural site that has a religious sanctity to a restricted security zone is a serious violation of Bahrain’s adherence to preserve cultural heritage and conserve the historical areas according to the UNESCO agreements and recommendations, this is in addition to the previous violation of destroying the mosque, and which indicates the intentions of wiping out the historical identity of the place. Furthermore, restricting prayers at the mosque’s site and working on changing the site to another building or to another place falls within violating religious freedom.

    UNESCO’s Declaration concerning the Intentional Destruction of Cultural Heritage states, “cultural heritage is an important component of the cultural identity of communities, groups and individuals, and of social cohesion, so that its intentional destruction may have adverse consequences on human dignity and human rights”; the UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Safeguarding and Contemporary Role of Historic Areas also states, “historic areas are an immovable heritage whose destruction may often lead to social disturbance”.[12]

    The security measures taken and the Authority’s attempt to change the identity of the historical site by force is a clear violation of Article 4 of UNESCO’s Declaration concerning the Intentional Destruction of Cultural Heritage[13] which states, “When conducting peacetime activities, States should take all appropriate measures to conduct them in such a manner as to protect cultural heritage and, in particular, in conformity with the principles and objectives of the (…) and the 1976 Recommendation concerning the Safeguarding and Contemporary Role of Historic Areas.”

    In the context of changing the historical identity, Bahrain’s ruler Hamad Al-Khalifa had said in a speech[14] on 16 December 2013 that the Al-Khalifa tribe had come to Bahrain in 1738, and that the country embraced Islam after the arrival of the tribe. In a later statement he denied that there are any, “documents, or in history, that can prove otherwise”.[15] While a lot of evidence confirms, including the website of the Bahraini Ministry of Culture[16], that Bahrain was Islamic since the first era of Islam – 629 A.D. – and that it had embraced Islam voluntarily and without any battles after the Prophet Mohammed (Peace be Upon Him) had sent a letter to Bahrain’s ruler at that time “Al-Munther bin Sawi Al-Tamimi”. (Photo of the letter in Bahrain’s National Museum)

    Sayed Yousif Al-Muhafdha– Vice-president of the BCHR – stated that Bahrain’s ruler Hamad Al-Khalifa is primarily responsible for the crime of destroying the cultural heritage in Bahrain signified in destroying the historical mosques[17] and falsifying facts, and he added, “the armed regime forces not only destroyed mosques, but it is still continuing to wipe out their traces by preventing by force prayers at the mosque’s location that has been standing for more than 450 years.”

    The BCHR believes that these systematic practices and discrimination against the Shiite sect confirms the observations of the activists about the systematic restriction on the exercise of religious freedom (for more information look below) and it corresponds with the report of the US Department of State[18] on religious freedoms in Bahrain. This is a clear violation of Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states, “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”

    The BCHR holds the Authority in Bahrain the responsibility of what might be caused if it insists on the official violent approach as a method to confront the religious practices and insisting on continuing the crime of destroying cultural, historical and religious heritage; it therefore calls on the US, UK, UN and all the Authority’s close allies and relevant organizations to:

    • Put pressure on the Authority in Bahrain to observe and maintain human rights especially those related to maintaining the cultural and historical heritage and preserving the historical sites, as well as what is related to freedom of religion and practicing rituals;

    • Trialing Bahrain internationally for the continuous and repetitive violations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights it had endorsed and its violations of its adherence to protecting cultural heritage.

    It also calls on the Authority in Bahrain to:

    • Stop targeting religious freedoms;
    • Stop the policy of destroying the cultural heritage and the historical identity of Bahrain’s areas;
    • Stop the policy of sectarian discrimination;
    • Rebuild the destroyed mosques in their original locations;
    • Hold accountable and question all those involved in the violation represented in destroying mosques and suppressing religious gatherings, whether they are involved through supervision and / or order, especially the higher ranking personnel.

     

    Additional Information:

    The regime forces, alongside the Peninsula Shield Forces, carried out a campaign to destroy the mosques belonging to the Shiite sect in 2011 after suppressing the massive protest in the Pearl Roundabout and declaring a state of emergency which established a new phase of suppressing and harassing the Bahraini people. That period witnessed destroying almost 35 Shiite mosques[19] among them historical mosques that are more than 400 years old in a clear challenge and provocation of the sentiments of a sect of the society. The report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry[20]– Bassiouni’s Committee that was appointed by Bahrain’s ruler Hamad Al-Khalifa, indicated that destroying mosques is considered a collective punishment to target a particular sect:

    “The fact that these were primarily Shia religious structures, the demolitions would be perceived as a collective punishment and would therefore inflame the tension between the government and the Shia population”[21]

    Bahrain is witnessing between every now and then clear provocation of the history of the original people and its sect, whereas a number of mosques were subjected to intentional shots and vandalism[22], and some of them were even targeted with teargas merely as revenge and vengeance. The Authority in Bahrain sponsors sectarian incitement by fabricating cases that aim at making the components of the society clash among themselves as had happened in the case of the alleged bombing in Riffa mosque[23]. This happened in several occasions in religious processions, the last of these was obstructing a mourning (Azza) procession on 20 December 2013 when those holding the procession were commemorating a Shiite occasion.

    Photo of the regime forces obstructing the Azza Procession

     


    Document Type: 
    Feature: 
    Issue: 

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    Bahrain: While No One was Held Accountable in the Deaths of their Children: the Parents of Victims of Extrajudicial Killings Under Arrest

    The Bahrain Center for Human Rights condemns the practices of the authorities in Bahrain which targets the families of the victims of extrajudicial killings, by continuing to detain Mr Makki Abu-Taki and Mr Jawad Al-Sheikh, the fathers of the victims Mahmood Abu-Taki and Ali Al-Sheikh; it accused them of inciting hatred against the regime.

    Makki Abu-Taki had headed towards Noaim police station for interrogation on Tuesday 26 November 2013 and was referred to the Public Prosecution which decided to detain him temporarily for 15 days, after charging him with assembling and inciting hatred against the regime[1]. Information received by the BCHR indicates that Abu-Taki had been subjected to mistreatment and insult while being held at the temporary detention in the Dry Dock prison. On Thursday 12 December 2013, Abu-Taki was brought forth to the Public Prosecution which renewed his detention for another 30 days. Shaker Abu-Taki – the eldest son of Makki Abu-Taki - on his official account on the social network Twitter said that his father suffers from pain in his stomach and he has been suffering from this pain for 12 days, however, the prison administration did not pay any attention to him at first, and only gave him pain killers[2], and when his condition deteriorated he was referred to the police fort hospital and then to Salmaniya Medical Complex so as to refer him to a specialized doctor[3]. Worth mentioning, Makki Abu-Taki’s son, the victim Mahmood Abu-Taki had been killed with direct shotgun bullets when the army and police attacked the protestors in the Pearl Roundabout at the dawn of 17 February 2011. Until this day the Ministry of Interior did not take any measures or investigate the case, although there is a letter dated two years ago requesting an investigation in the case. On 9 January 2014 a court released Abu Taki on bail of 100 Bahraini dinars. 

    A civilian group, affiliated with the National Security Apparatus, accompanied by the police, raided on Sunday 24 November 2013 the workplace of Mr Jawad Al-Sheikh and took him to an unknown destination, where he was interrogated about the speech he gave in a religious occasion. The Public Prosecution decided to detain Al-Sheikh for 15 days, and then they decided on Wednesday 11 December to renew his detention for another 30 days after charging him with assembling and inciting hatred against the regime. This is the second time that Al-Sheikh is arrested for his notable activity in defending human rights and demanding to hold those responsible for killing his son accountable. Worth noting, the child victim Ali – son the of the detainee Ali Al-Sheikh – was killed after being directly shot at with a teargas canister which hit his head during a peaceful demonstration in his village in the morning of Eid Day on 31 August 2011. Al-Sheikh’s wife said that her husband is suffering from Rheumatism and that the prison administration refuses to permit entering his medication. As well, one of the officers named ‘Al-Saati’ at the Dry Dock prison always aggravates Al-Sheikh by pulling away his pillow and blanket while sleeping. On 9 January 2014 a court ordered release of AlShaikh on bail of 100 Bahraini dinars. However, the criminal invistigation department alleged there is another cases against him and therfore continued to keep him in detention. 

    Jawad Al-Sheikh carrying his killed son’s photo in a peaceful demonstration

    These two incidents are not a newly emerging matter; the BCHR had documented continuous abuse since 2011 against the families of victims of extrajudicial killings who continued to protest against the lack of accountability of their children’s killers. Last August, the security apparatuses arrested Mr Abdul-hadi Mushaima, father of Ali Mushaima, who is the victim who was shot with a direct shotgun bullet in the back while suppressing a peaceful demonstration in his village in the evening of 14 February 2011. The Court of Appeal[4] had reduced the sentence of the policeman who killed Mushaima from 7 to 3 years justifying that with that the killing was unintentional. The Public Prosecution decided, last August as well, to detain Mr Ahmed Muwali[5], father of the victim Yousif Muwali, who was arrested by the regime forces and tortured, and had his corpse dumped on one of the beaches of Muharraq Island. The Public Prosecution also detained the father of the victim Ahmed Ismail[6] who was killed after suffering a gunshot in Salmabad; the former was accused of participating in an unlicensed demonstration. The security apparatuses had also interrogated Jassim Al-Asfoor, father of the victim Yaseen Al-Asfoor who died after suffocating from teargas, which intensified the symptoms of Asthma which he suffers from. It also interrogated Mr Saeed Isa Hussein, father of the child victim Sayed Hashim, who was directly shot at with a teargas canister and which caused his death.

    In an act of vengeance, the Military Court recently issued a verdict to detain the military man Faisal Jawad Al-Ghuraifi[7] the father of the infant victim Sajida – who died after 5 days of birth due to suffocating from teargas shot by the regime forces as a collective punishment on the houses of citizens – the father was sentenced with 6 months in prison and dismissed from work on the charge of being absent from official working hours during the state of emergency period in 2011. The civilian forces, affiliated with the National Security Apparatus, accompanied by the police forces raided the house of the victim Abdul-Nabi Al-Aqel– who died when a police vehicle that was chasing him hit him in the morning on 23 November 2011, and it was the same day that the BICI report results was announced – they arrested his nephew Qais who was living with him in the same house. The civil militias attacked the victim Al-Aqel’s sister and beat and pepper sprayed her face when she was attempting to defend her detained son. Semi confirmed information indicates that the detainee Qassim Badah, the uncle of the victim Ali Badah – who was killed when regime forces’ vehicles hit his body while suppressing a peaceful demonstration in Juffair area[8] - was tortured[9] in the Criminal Investigation Department to take revenge from him for his work as a coordinator for the association of families of martyrs, and which is an association that was established to coordinate between the families of victims of violations practiced by the authority especially in relation to holding events and providing legal support.

    The BCHR believes that the authority in Bahrain is evading from public entitlements and is contributing in the spread and promotion of impunity[10] by taking revenge from the victims and protecting the killers. The BCHR had published a report that holds Bahrain’s ruler Hamad Al-Khalifa responsible for the increase of violations in light of his blessings for the acts of suppression and extrajudicial killings, which caused for months an increase in the number victims. The BCHR also believes that the appointed judiciary by the country’s ruler is only a tool to take revenge from the victims and their families. The BCHR had received statistics that indicate acquitting policemen that caused 4 extrajudicial killings, and reducing the sentences in 4 other cases while the Court did not look into 6 other cases, although these cases had been documented by the BICI report and an impartial investigation in them was demanded. Following is a report of the judicial measures taken towards the extrajudicial killings that were documented by the BICI report[11]:

    Victim

    Date of Death

    Cause of Death

    Results of the Investigation into the Death

    Ali Mushaima

    14/2/2011

    Birdshot

    The Supreme Court of Appeal reduced the imprisonment of the policeman accused of killing from 7 to 3 years.

    Fadhel Al-Matrook

    15/2/2011

    Birdshot

    Acquitted the defendants from the charge of murder.

    Mahmood Abu-Takki

    17/2/2011

    Birdshot

    The Ministry of Interior did not take any action or investigate the case, although there is a letter dated two years ago requesting an investigation in the case.

    Ali Khudair

    17/2/2011

    Birdshot

    The Ministry of Interior did not take any action or investigate the case, although there is a letter dated two years ago requesting an investigation in the case.

    Isa Abdulhassan

    17/2/2011

    Birdshot

    The Court of Appeal upheld the acquittal verdict against those accused of killing. There has not been another investigation although the reason behind the acquittal was lack of evidence. Another investigation should have taken place to find the real killer.

    Ali Al-Momen

    17/2/2011

    Birdshot

    The Court of Appeal upheld the acquittal verdict against the one accused of killing. There has not been another investigation although the reason behind the acquittal was lack of evidence. Another investigation should have taken place to find the real killer.

    Ahmed Farhan

    15/3/2011

    Birdshot

    According to the Ministry of Interior, no officer admitted to shooting the victim. The Public Prosecution investigated and listened to the statements of eye witnesses, however, the Public Prosecution to date did not refer the case to court, and it did not inform the victim’s family of the procedures taken.

    Abdulredha Buhmaid

    16/3/2011

    Live bullets

    The investigation in the case concluded that the Bahrain Defense Force members apparently acted according to the law, and the case was closed.

    Jaafar Mohammed

    16/3/2011

    Birdshot

    No case in court

    Jaafar Mayoof

    16/3/2011

    Birdshot

    No case in court

    Stephen Abraham

    16/3/2011

    Live bullets

    The investigation carried out by the Bahrain Defense Force concluded that the Bahrain Defense Force members acted according to the applicable law and regulations. A financial compensation was provided to the victim’s family by the government and company he worked in.

    Jawad Mohammed Ali Kadhem

    16/3/2011

    Birdshot

    There is no case in court. A criminal complaint was filed and reserved in one of the police stations. There is a file case in the military court which the family had not seen. The family was informed by the Ministry of Justice that a compensation amount was deposited to two of his children in the minors’ trust fund, while the rest did not receive the owed amount.

    Isa Radhi Abdali

    16/3/2011

    Body injury

    No case in court

    Bahiya Al-Aradi

    21/3/2011

    Live bullets

    The investigation carried out by the Bahrain Defense Force concluded that the Bahrain Defense Force members acted according to the applicable laws and regulations. The Public Prosecution did not investigate this case.

    Hani Abdul-Aziz

    16/10/2011

    Shotgun

    The Court of Appeal reduced the imprisonment sentence against the defendant accused of killing from 7 years to 6 months in prison. The specified period elapsed without the Public Prosecution filing a cassation appeal, although the maximum penalty for the convict is 14 years in prison.

    Hassan Jassim

    3/4/2011

    Torture

    There is no case in court. The family refused to receive the compensation amount. An amount was deposited in the minors’ trust fun without referring first to the family.

    Ali Saqur

    9/4/2011

    Torture

    The Court of Appeal reduced the sentence in the case of the two policemen who were convicted by the Court of First Instance with 10 years in prison to two years. The specified period elapsed without the Public Prosecution filing a cassation appeal, although the maximum penalty for convicts is 14 years in prison.

    Zakariya Al-Asheeri

    9/4/2011

    Torture

    Acquitting the five policemen charged with torture.

    Abdul-kareem Fakhrawi

    11/4/2011

    Torture

    The Court of First Instance sentenced the defendants with 7 years in prison, and then the Court of Appeal amended the sentence to 3 years. The specified period elapsed without the Public Prosecution filing a cassation appeal, although the maximum penalty for convicts is 14 years in prison.

    Jaber Al-Alaiwat

    12/6/2011

    Torture

    There is no case in court. The Public Prosecution listened to the witnesses, yet to date it did not refer the case to court. An amount was deposited in the minors’ trust fund for the victim’s son, while his mother refused to receive the compensation amount.

     

    Based on the above, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls on the United States, United Kingdom, United Nations and all the authority’s close allies and relevant international organizations to:

    • Put pressure on the authority in Bahrain to take into account and maintain human rights especially in regards to freedom of expression;
    • Trialling Bahrain internationally for its continuous and repetitive violations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights it had endorsed.

    It also calls on the authority in Bahrain to:

    • Immediately release Makki Abu-Taki and Jawad Al-Sheikh and all the prisoners of conscience especially the opposition leaders;
    • Stop targeting and prosecuting the opposition and activists as a result of their peaceful demand activity;
    • Hold accountable and question all those involved in the violations, killing and torture whether through supervision and / or order especially the higher ranking ones;
    • Drop all charges related to freedom of expression in the ongoing trials.
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    The Bahrain Center for Human Rights is appalled by the blatant disregard to justice by the Bahrain Judiciary that acquitted an abusive policeman despite the presence of videotaped evidence capturing his crime; while having punished the abused victim with detention after he submitted a complaint.

    On December 2012, Haider AbdulRasool was subjected to police abuse when he was stopped his neighborhood of Aali by a policeman identified as Ali Aref who slapped him in the face while AbdulRasool was carrying his child in his arms. An anonymous cameraman caught the “slapping” incident on video, which he then published on YouTube. The video went viral and forced the Ministry of Interior to acknowledge the abuse and to announce the beginning of an investigation into the incident[1]. See the full video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zI_L1rAn4Bw

    Subsequently, AbdulRasool spoke to the media and went to court to file charges against the policeman. In January 2013, the lawyer of AbdulRasool stated that he was pressured to drop the case against the police officer and “forgive him”. AbdulRasool was determined to seek justice as he was subjected to humiliation, as was his child who he was carrying in his arms at the time of the incident. However, while a Bahraini court had initially sentenced the policeman Ali Aref on 18 June 2013 to 2 months imprisonment and fined him 50 Bahraini dinars, a court of appeal acquitted him on 30 December 2013 from the charges in blatant disregard to the available video evidence of the abuse which has been viewed by over 600,000 people around the globe.

    To add insult to injury, the victim of the abuse, Haider AbdulRasool, was arrested on 22 Sep 2013 during a dawn house raid on his home in the village of Aali[2]. On 24 Sep the public prosecution ordered his detention under the counter-terrorism law. AbdulRasool was kept in detention until the 19th of November 2013 when he was finally released.

    It should be noted that online activists have documented other violations committed by the same policeman, Ali Aref, who has been involved in the beating of citizens on the street (see video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tw4pio5ZbsM)

    At the time of incident in December 2012, the Minister of Interior Rashid Al Khalifa condemned in a public statement the behavior of policemen seen in videos and said that “such behaviour was unacceptable and went directly against the Ministry's policies as well as the Police Code of Conduct”[3]. However, the court encourages the abuse by acquitting the responsible policeman proves this abuse matches the ministry’s policies, is not being seen as a crime and reinforces the culture of impunity.

    The case of AbdulRasool is a clear cut example of the extent of impunity in Bahrain, where the courts are set up to ignore the clearest evidence to avoid convicting abusive police. BCHR believes that AbdulRasool has been detained as punishment merely for exposing government violations and seeking justice.

    The BCHR calls on the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Nations and all other close allies and relevant international institutions to pressure the government of Bahrain to:

    • Immediately and unconditionally release Haider AbdulRasool and all other political prisoners in Bahrain.
    • End the practice of reprisals against those who seek justice and expose the violations of the government.
    • End the culture of impunity and bring those accountable for the protection of criminals to justice including the officials at the public prosecution.

     

     

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    The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses grave concern about the well being of Ahmed Mohammed Saleh AlArab (22 years old), Mansoor Ali Mansoor AlJamri (19 years old) and Hussain AlGhasrah who were arrested early morning of 9 January 2014 in Hamad Town. Until the time of writing this report, the families of the arrested men were not able to get any information on their whereabouts or wellbeing. The Bahrain authorities continue to use torture as a method of punishment as well as to extract false confessions, then use it to pass harsh sentences in unfair trials.

    Ahmed AlArab is a 22 year old nursing student from Bani Jamra. Similar to other youth from areas known for protest, his name has been on a wanted list for three years which forced AlArab to stop his education and go into hiding due to fear of arrest and probable torture. AlArab’s family received several summons in the recent period asking for Ahmed to “turn himself in immediately” with no mention of charges of reasons. According to credible information obtained by the BCHR, several of those recently arrested from Bani Jamra were asked about AlArab’s whereabouts, and were reportedly subjected to torture to reveal any information they had.

    Aftermath of police attack on house of Hussain AlGhasrah

    Early this morning house raids where conducted in Hamad Town, where security forces found Ahmed AlArab as well as Mansoor AlJamri (19 years old) in the home of Hussain AlGhasrah. All three of them were arrested and the house was ransacked. At around 3pm, Ahmed AlArab’s home was raided. Security forces searched the backyard, digging in the sand, and forbidding anyone from watching while they dug. The family later found out that they burst one of the water pipes in the ground. AlArab’s father was then interrogated by the masked officers asking if anyone hid anything in their backyard, to which the father responded negatively. One of AlArab’s family members saw Ahmed sitting in a tainted black jeep (plate number 370328) outside the house when an officer opened the car door. A police officer reportedly hit Ahmed and the family heard him screaming before they left. When the father inquired as to Ahmed’s whereabouts, the officer denied that they had him, saying that they were still looking for him.

    Backyard of AlArab's house

    Security forces outside house of Ahmed AlArab

    Mansoor Ali AlJamri (19 years old) has been in hiding since his release from prison in Sep 2012. During his previous arrest in April 2012, AlJamri was subjected to beatings and torture, after which he was sentenced to 6 months in prison. Despite his young age, AlJamri was unable to graduate high school due to fear of getting arrested again if he attended his classes.

    Ahmed AlArab’s family told BCHR that he has already been charged and convicted in several political cases, with sentences reaching up to 25 years in prison.

    Given previous cases the BCHR has documented, there is very serious concern about both AlArab and AlJamri getting subjected to severe torture especially during the first period of arrest, as they are held incommunicado. Additionally, BCHR fears that detained Hussain AlGhasra might suffer punishment for providing shelter to these two men. In previously documented cases, BCHR has seen victims who suffered severe torture as in the case of Ahmed AlMuqabi, just for providing refuge to civilians wanted in political cases. [1]Urgent action is needed to protect the physical and psychological well being of the detainees.

    The BCHR calls on the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Nations, the European Union and all close allies and international institutions to put pressure on Bahraini authorities to:

    1. Immediately and unconditionally release Ahmed AlArab, Mansoor AlJamri and Hussain AlGhasrah along with all other detainees held on politically motivated charges due to the ongoing popular movement for freedom and democracy.
    2. Immediately end to the use of torture as a method to obtain confessions and provides guarantees on the safety and security of detainees.
    3. Hold all those who have been implicated in torture accountable, especially those in high positions who have ordered or overseen the use of torture;
    4. Immediately release all prisoners in cases where the only evidence presented against them in court was confessions obtained under torture;
    5. In criminal cases, allow independent and neutral observers to be involved in the proceedings to guarantee due process and to confirm that the crime took place.

     

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    UA: 5/14 Index: MDE 11/003/2014 Bahrain Date: 8 January 2014

    URGENT ACTION

    Ahmad Mshaima’, the son of one of the 13 jailed opposition activists, was arrested on 28 December on the Bahrain border with Saudi Arabia. He is accused of participating in demonstrations in February 2013. The Public Prosecution ordered his detention for 30 days pending investigation.

    Ahmad Mshaima’, a 20-year-old civil engineering student, was arrested on 28 December at Bahrain’s border with Saudi Arabia. Ahmad Mshaima’, who suffers from Blount's disease, a deformity of the lower legs, was taken to the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) in the capital, Manama, where he was beaten, kicked in the legs, forced to insult his father and his religion, and coerced into signing documents. He was accused of participating in demonstrations in Jid Hafs, just outside Manama, which marked the second anniversary of the Bahraini uprising on 14 February 2013. He appeared with his lawyer on 30 December before the Public Prosecution, who ordered his detention for 30 days pending investigation. He was then transferred to the Dry Dock Prison in Manama from where he was able to contact his family.

    The family were allowed to visit him on 7 January, and they saw that he had difficulty moving and was in pain.

    Please write immediately in Arabic, English or your own language:

    • Urging the authorities to release Ahmad Mshaima’ immediately and unconditionally if he is held solely for exercising his rights to freedom of expression and assembly;
    • Urging them to order an immediate and independent investigation into his allegations of torture and bring those responsible to justice;
    • Urging them to provide him with any medical attention he may require, including access to specialised hospitals.

     

    PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 19 FEBRUARY 2014 TO:

    King

    Shaikh Hamad bin ‘Issa Al Khalifa

    Office of His Majesty the King

    P.O. Box 555

    Rifa’a Palace, al-Manama, Bahrain

    Fax: +973 1766 4587 (keep trying)

    Salutation: Your Majesty

     

    Minister of Interior

    Shaikh Rashid bin ‘Abdullah Al Khalifa

    Ministry of Interior

    P.O. Box 13, al-Manama, Bahrain

    Fax: +973 1723 2661

    Twitter: @moi_Bahrain

    Salutation: Your Excellency

    And copies to:

    Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs

    Shaikh Khalid bin Ali bin Abdullah Al Khalifa

    Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs

    P. O. Box 450, al-Manama, Bahrain

    Fax: +973 1753 1284

    Email: minister@justice.gov.bh

    Twitter: @Khaled_Bin_Ali�

    Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below:

    Name Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 Fax Fax number Email Email address Salutation Salutation

    Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.

     

     

     

    ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

    Ahmad Mshaima’ is the son of Hassan Mshaima’ who is serving a life sentence in Jaw Prison on the outskirts of Manama, as one of 13 jailed opposition activists. Since March 2013, Hassan Mshaima’ has been denied adequate medical care and family visits for refusing to wear the prison uniform. For further information please see UA 139/11, Index: MDE 11/025/2013, http://amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE11/025/2013/en and its follow-up.

    The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), appointed by Royal Order on 29 June 2011, was charged with investigating and reporting on human rights violations committed in connection with the 2011 protests. At the launch of the BICI report in November 2011, the government publicly committed itself to implementing its recommendations. The report recounted the government’s response to the mass protests and documented wide-ranging human rights abuses. Among its key recommendations, the report called on the government to bring to account those responsible for human rights violations, including torture and excessive use of force, and carry out independent investigations into allegations of torture.

    Two years have passed since the BICI report, and the government has failed to implement the report’s key recommendations. Prisoners of conscience, including some arrested during the protests, remain behind bars and the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly are still being suppressed. More people have been jailed simply for daring to express their views, whether via Twitter or on peaceful marches. Bahraini courts have appeared more concerned with toeing the government line than offering effective remedy to Bahrainis and upholding the rule of law.

    The establishment of BICI and its report was considered a groundbreaking initiative, but the promise of meaningful reform has been betrayed by the government’s unwillingness to implement key recommendations around accountability; this includes its failure to carry out independent, effective and transparent investigations into allegations of torture and other ill-treatment and excessive use of force, and to prosecute all those who gave the orders to commit human rights abuses. For further information see the report Reform shelved, repression unleashed, http://amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE11/062/2012/en.

    Bahrain’s parliament held an extraordinary session on 28 July 2013, after which it submitted 22 recommendations to the King, Shaikh Hamad Bin ‘Issa Al Khalifa. The recommendations toughen punishments laid out in the 2006 anti-terrorism law. A few days later the King issued several decrees further curtailing the right to freedom of expression, including banning all protests, sit-ins and public gatherings in Manama indefinitely and giving the security forces additional sweeping powers.

    A joint statement signed by 47 countries at the UN Human Rights Council on 9 September expressed serious concern about the ongoing human rights violations in Bahrain.

     

    Name: Ahmad Mshaima’

    Gender m/f: m

    UA: 5/14 Index: MDE 11/003/2014 Issue Date: 8 January 2014

    http://amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE11/003/2014/en

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    South Korea today announced a halt to shipments of tear gas to Bahrain, following pressure from Amnesty International and other human rights groups which worked alongside Bahrain Watch’s ‘Stop the Shipment’ campaign. 

    “The South Korean authorities should be commended for this move to help prevent further human rights violations in Bahrain, which comes after sustained campaigning by activists from Amnesty International and other NGOs in Bahrain and around the world,” said Brian Wood, Head of Arms Control and Human Rights at Amnesty International. 

    The announcement by South Korea’s defence agency cited pressure from human rights groups following the Bahraini authorities’ repeated – and sometimes fatal – misuse of the toxic chemical agents against peaceful protesters. 

    “South Korea is sending a clear message that the Bahraini authorities’ ongoing repression of peaceful protests is unacceptable and will not be rewarded with future weapons transfers. Other countries that continue to supply Bahrain with tear gas and related equipment should sit up and take notice,” said Wood.

    According to a leaked document, published on 16 October 2013 by local NGO Bahrain Watch, the Bahraini Interior Ministry placed a tender for bids of up to 1.6 million tear gas canisters, 90,000 tear gas grenades and 145,000 stun grenades. The South Korean company DaekWang Chemical, which had also previously supplied tear gas items to Bahrain, was among the companies designated to fill the order. DaekWang’s chief executive today told the Financial Times newspaper his company was “unlikely” to provide future tear gas shipments to Bahrain.

    Amnesty International has identified at least 10 countries whose governments have authorized supplying weaponry, munitions and related equipment to Bahrain. The arms export countries included Belgium, Brazil, France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and the USA. US, French and Spanish officials have indicated in recent weeks to Amnesty International that they have suspended supplies of chemical irritants to Bahrain. 

    The organization calls on all countries to halt arms transfers to Bahrain while there is a substantial risk they will be used to commit further serious human rights violations.

    http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/south-korea-suspends-tear-gas-supplies-bahrain-2014-01-07

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    Bahrain Salam for Human Rights appeals to human rights organizations and activists to take urgent steps for releasing Jassim Mohammed Al-Banna (17 years), which suffers from a heart disease and is handicapped. The public prosecution has charged him put him under arrest for 60 days pending further investigation facing the law on terrorism or what is known as the law of protecting the community from terrorist acts 2006.

    Al-Banna was arrested after a raid on his house at dawn Monday 6th January and got him transferred to an unknown place. After attempts to search for the place of his detention by his family, he was found to be in custody of the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ministry of the Interior who refused to provide the family with any information about Al-Banna.

    He was then transferred to dry dock prison without giving his family any details about the charges against him. This is an arbitrary vulgar of laws and principles of human rights which are often overridden by the security authorities and prosecutors in Bahrain.

    Bahrain SALAM for Human Rights
    London
    8th January 2014

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    The Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights stated today that during the year 2013 the Bahraini Courts issued imprisonment verdicts against 651 citizens based on security charges related to the protests that kicked off on 14 February 2011.

    The BYSHR confirmed that he Bahraini Courts had issued verdicts in 95 cases, and the charge “assembling and riot” was the most common in 2013.

    The BYSHR explained that 10 citizens were sentenced with life imprisonment, and 153 citizens were imprisoned with 15 years.

    The BYSHR indicated that 120 citizens were sentenced with 10 years and 219 citizens were sentenced with 3 to 5 years in prison, while 149 citizens were sentenced with 1 month to 2 years in prison.

    Mr Mohammed Al-Maskati – president of the BYSHR – stated that the Bahraini Courts used freedom restricting laws to punish the protestors.

    Mr Al-Maskati explained that since 14 February 2011 the Bahraini Authorities have been arresting and trialling citizens with charges related to freedom of opinion and expression.

    Worth mentioning, Judge Sheikh Mohammed bin Ali Al-Khalifa – from the ruling family – was the most to issue verdicts during 2013.

    Report-(PDF)

    Press Release- (PDF-AR بالعربية البيان الصحفي)

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    AP - Published by Gulf News: 10:17 January 8, 2014

    Lawyer says Al Oraibi was playing in a televised match when the November 2012 incident took place.

    Manama: The defence lawyer of a player for Bahrain’s national football team says his client has been sentenced along with eight others to 10 years in prison on charges of burning a police station.

    Lawyer Mohammad Al Motawa says the nine were also found guilty of participating in an illegal gathering and possessing firebombs.

    Al Motawa says 20-year-old Hakeem Al Oraibi was playing in a televised match when the November 2012 incident took place in which dozens of protesters attacked a police station in the capital, Manama. Al Oraibi was detained for four months after the attack.

    Bahraini opposition groups are demanding greater rights from the government.

    Al Oraibi is currently in neighbouring Qatar with the Bahraini team for a match. His lawyer said on Tuesday that Al Oraibi will likely be arrested upon return.


    http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/bahrain/bahrain-sentences-football-player-to-10-years-in-jail-1.1275112#.Us1tT34BAc4.twitter

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    By: Timothy Spence

    Nearly three years after the Arab Spring spread to the small Gulf kingdom of Bahrain, journalist Nazeeha Saeed Hussain is still holding out for justice in the beatings she suffered at the hands of police officers.

    The veteran correspondent for Radio Monte Carlo and France 24 was on the front lines covering the government’s deadly crackdown on protests that began in February 2011. Then, on May 22, she was ordered to appear at a police station. She and her lawyers say that after an initial interrogation, the journalist was repeatedly beaten by several police officers.

    “I remember the first slap on my face, the humiliation I felt,” Saeed wrote in a personal recollection of the events published last month by the Media Legal Defence Initiative (MLDI) in London, one of the International Press Institute’s strategic partners. “I was blindfolded, beaten and had electric shock treatment. All the time, they were mocking me and accusing me of being a protester and lying in my reports. Eventually, 13 hours later, I was released after signing a document. I don’t know what was in it. I was so frightened, I just wanted to get out. I was in great pain and could hardly walk.”

    After an international outcry, authorities in Bahrain tried one policewoman: Sarah Mohammed Issa al-Mousa. She was acquitted on Oct. 22, 2012, a verdict later upheld by an appellate court, despite concerns that the courts weren't thorough enough in weighing the evidence. Lawyers are now urging senior United Nations rights officials to investigate the handling of the Saeed case.

    “There were clear factual errors in the written judgment of the Bahraini High Criminal Court, which raised doubts about the impartiality and independence of the court and the prospects of a successful appeal,” Nani Jansen, senior legal counsel for MLDI, argued in a Dec. 13, 2013 letter to Juan Méndez, the U.N. special rapporteur on torture, and Rashida Manjoo, the U.N. special rapporteur on violence against women.

    The letter, a copy of which was provided to IPI, continued: “Moreover, the Court of Appeal accepted evidence that it was possible that Ms Saeed’s injuries were inflicted by a third party with her agreement despite there being no indication in any of the medical evidence provided during the trial in the High Criminal Court that Ms. Saeed’s injuries were caused in such a way.”

    Saeed’s legal team in June 2013 urged prosecutors to take the case to the Court of Cassation, the kingdom’s highest court, but she told IPI in an e-mail on Jan. 7 that nothing has happened. Meanwhile, the Bahraini journalist carries on her work for both France 24 and Radio Monte Carlo, as well as providing updates on other journalists who themselves report abuse at the hands of police on her busy Twitter feed.

    Timothy Spence is IPI’s senior press freedom advisor for the Middle East and Africa. E-mail: tspence[@]freemedia.at

    http://www.freemedia.at/our-blog/singleview/article/ipi-blog-1.html

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    The authority turns the Children of Detainees ‘Stateless’ Until Further Notice

    The Bahrain Center for Human Rights condemns the acts of vengeance practiced by the authority in Bahrain against the prisoners of conscience and political prisoners, among those acts is depriving their children from obtaining the required ID papers such as the ID and passport. This multiplies their agony as it deprives them from receiving health and education services that require having an ID. The BCHR had documented at least four cases where there was a lack of legal justification for depriving the children from obtaining ID documents and passport and they are as follows:

    Zainab Abdullah Isa Al-Mahroos (2 years and 9 months old):

    The child Zainab was born 28 days after her father’s arrest in April 2011, and since then the family has not been able to issue a passport for her, without clear justification. She is the daughter of Sheikh Abdullah Al-Mahroos, known locally as Mirza Al-Mahroos, who was arrested by members of the National Security Apparatus along with regime forces on Friday 1 April 2011. The family stated that he was subjected to beating in front of them, before being taken to the Ministry of Interior building in the capital, Manama. Al-Mahroos – according to his statement – was subjected to torture on the hands of the officer Bader Ibrahim Al-Ghaith[1], and Nasser Hamad Al-Khalifa,[2] as well as the former Head of the National Security Apparatus Khalifa Abdullah Al-Khalifa[3] and others who Al-Mahroos was able to identify and had their names documented. Al-Mahroos was accused of attempting to overthrow the regime[4] by force along with 20 other political leaders[5]; among them is the former president of the BCHR Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja. Al-Mahroos is serving a 15 years’ imprisonment sentence.

    Abdulla AlMahroos

    The latter complains of the harassments he faces in prison, among them is preventing him from visiting his wife who suffers from a chronic disease which makes her unable to visit him at prison, despite having the documents that prove so. This is in addition to the deliberate neglect to his health condition, which requires special care whether by providing medicine or having constant physiotherapy sessions. Al-Mahroos stated that the prison administration refused his request to coordinate a visit in order for him to see his brother, detained at the same prison. Al-Mahroos had stated all that to the General Secretariat of Complaints, however, nothing changed in those matters.

    Israa Hussein Ahmed (3 months old):

    The child of the military man Hussein Ahmed Hasan (28 years old), who was born on 13 October 2013 with a health problem in the head, and which Salmaniya Medical Complex refused to receive and treat her because her mother did not have anything to prove the child’s identity, although her grandfather has authorization to issue a passport for her. The Public Prosecution refused to allow renewing the detainee’s passport which expired, and because of that his daughter was deprived from issuing any document that proves her identity. The child’s mother stated that her daughter’s health condition is deteriorating because hospitals refuse to receive and treat her.

    Worth mentioning, Hussein Ahmed Hasan works at the Ministry of Interior with a rank of a community service policeman. He was arrested on 10 May 2013, and was charged with assaulting a security man and assembling, and he was interrogated due to his absence from work during the National Safety period and his participation in the massive protest at the Pearl Roundabout in February 2011. The Court sentenced Hussein with 8 years in prison.

    Jenan Jaffar Hussein Eid (One and a half years old):

    The child of the detainee Jaffar Hussein Eid was born on 14 June 2012, 20 days before her pursued father was arrested, and the family is still not able to issue a passport or ID for her. Eid was arrested on 3 July 2012 by civilian members affiliated with the National Security Apparatus and accompanied by regime forces. The Court charged Eid with joining a group whose aim is to call for suspending the provision of the Constitution and laws, preventing the state institutions and public authorities from practicing their work, assaulting the personal liberties of citizens and public rights, breaching public order, and subjecting the Kingdom and its safety to danger, and terrorism was one of its means to achieve that. The case was locally known as the ‘5 Ton case’: the Ministry of Interior had declared that it had found 5 tons[6] of explosives in the possession of those it arrested. Eid is currently serving a life imprisonment sentence.[7]

    Eid stayed in solitary confinement until a late time since his arrest, and he was in a bad health condition at that time: he was vomiting blood in addition to severe pain in his kidneys. Instead of treating him, the prison administration gave him an IV injection and returned him to prison with a prisoner who suffers from scabies[8]. Eid is still suffering from deliberate neglect to his health condition which led him to announce starting a hunger strike days ago[9] until he is taken for treatment by a specialized doctor, as he suffers from swelling in his feet which makes him incapable of sitting and even praying.

    Eid’s wife said that she filed a complaint at the National Institution for Human Rights, and filed another complaint to the General Secretariat of Complaints, however nothing changed since then. These acts are considered a form of mental torture for the detainee’s family and his daughter who bears no guilt except that her father went out, as other Bahrainis had, to demand freedom and justice.

    Hamed and Mohammed Younes Marhoon (11 months old, 4 years old):

    The children of the detained military man Younes Ali Marhoon (36 years old), is one of the military men who refused to participate in suppressing the people during the massive protest period at the Pearl Roundabout, and stood alongside his military colleagues on stage and gave a speech in solidarity with the people’s demands for democratization and freedom. Marhoon was in hiding from the security apparatuses for more than 2 years before the civilian members affiliated with the National Security Apparatus accompanied by regime forces raided his house on Wednesday afternoon 24 July 2013 and arrested him. Marhoon’s family stated that he was subjected to beating by those who arrested him before their eyes, where a verbal quarrel took place between his family and the ones detaining him.

    Younes Marhoon is now serving an 8 years imprisonment in two cases, one of them is civilian where he was charged with assembling and the other is military and he was charged with inciting hatred against the regime. The Court of Appeal upheld the verdict against Marhoon for a year in prison in the first case, while the Military Court sentenced him with 7 years in prison in the other case.

    The wife of the detainee Younes stated that she coordinated with her husband to obtain authorization to issue passports for her children, however the passport directory refused to accept the authorization and asked for an official document that proves Marhoon’s arrest. When she went to the police station in this regard, they told her that they do not issue these types of documents – a document that proves a person’s arrest – the family were at loss.

    Depriving children of ID documents is a violation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 7, which states, ‘1. The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and. as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents. 2. States Parties shall ensure the implementation of these rights in accordance with their national law and their obligations under the relevant international instruments in this field, in particular where the child would otherwise be stateless.’ As well, depriving children from the required medical care, amidst the deprivation of issuing an identity document is a violation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 24, which states, ‘States Parties recognize the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health. States Parties shall strive to ensure that no child is deprived of his or her right of access to such health care services.’

    The Bahrain Center for Human Rights finds that the authorities in Bahrain use depriving children from official documents especially ‘the passport’ as a means to punish the opposition and citizens, especially those who participate in the demonstrations and events that demand freedom and self-determination, while the children suffer as a result of being deprived of receiving health and education services, as well as restricting them and their families transportation in cases of emergency that require travelling for treatment. The authority had on 7 November 2012 revoked the citizenship of 31 Bahraini citizens; among them were a cleric, two former MPs and a lawyer, without any court order or legal justification[10]. The Ministry of Interior justified this decision by saying that those who had their citizenship revoked are harm to the country, and it emphasized that it will take the necessary measures to implement the decision, and amidst the measures taken by the Ministry of Interior is summoning the citizens who had their citizenship revoked to withdraw their official citizenship documents, which includes the Bahraini passports, and asked them to correct their legal status.

    Based on the above, the BCHR calls on the United States, United Kingdom, United Nations and all the authority’s close allies and relevant international institutions to:

    • Put pressure on the authority in Bahrain to take into consideration and maintain human rights especially the child’s right to issue ID documents and receiving health care;
    • Trial Bahrain internationally for its constant and repetitive breach of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights it had endorsed.

    It also calls on the authority in Bahrain to:

    • Issue passports and official documents to the abovementioned cases and any other similar case;
    • Immediately release all the detained prisoners of conscience especially the opposition leaders;
    • Stop targeting the opposition and activists due to their peaceful demand activity.
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    Bahrain: The Authority Arrests the Sons of Political Activists to Avenge their Fathers

     

    The Bahrain Center for Human Rights condemns the Authorities’ policy of taking revenge on activists by arresting and harassing their families. The BCHR had documented during the month of November 2013 one case of arrest, while two were arrested arbitrarily in December 2013 out of vengeance for their fathers’ activity. The security forces of King Fahd Causeway arrested Mahmood Aqeel Al-Sari on 6 November 2013, and it arrested Ahmed Hasan Mushaima on 28 December, while the airport security forces arrested Sheikh Yasser Al-Saleh on 26 December 2013.

    Ahmed Hasan Mushaima

    Left to right: Hasan Mushaima, his son Ahmed Mushaima

    The BCHR received confirmed information that Ahmed Hasan Mushaima (20 years old) was tortured and insulted after being arrested from King Fahd Causeway upon his return from Iraq on Saturday 28 December 2013. Information indicates that Mushaima was subjected to a humiliating search at the Causeway’s police station while he was being held for more than 5 hours; the inspectors forced him to take his clothes off in front of the passers-by. All his electronic possessions were withheld without Mushaima knowing the reason behind all that. Four members of the National Security Apparatus riding in a civilian car came and took Mushaima to the Criminal Investigation Department; he was blindfolded and handcuffed from the back. Information also points out that Mushaima stayed in one of the corridors for a long period of time where he was subjected to punching and slapping by people who were passing by and who he could not identify.

    According to the statement received by the BCHR, the interrogation with Ahmed Mushaima was due to his participation in the protests of 14 February 2013, according to the testimony of one of the lieutenants, Salah Al-Oraibi, as stated by the Public Prosecutor. The interrogation continued for a long period of time and Mushaima was standing the entire time of the interrogation which caused him pain in the knee as a result of both standing and the kicks he faced. Mushaima denied the charges against him at the Public Prosecution and spoke about the abuse and threat of using electrocution at times, and rape at other times. The Public Prosecution ordered on 30 December 2013 to detain Ahmed Mushaima for 30 days pending investigation. What proves that the charge was malicious and was out of vengeance against his father is that Mushaima says that the interrogators and jailers accused him of selling and betraying his homeland and they asked him to curse his father Hasan Mushaima, who is one of the opposition leaders who were sentenced to life imprisonment in a case known locally as the ‘Coalition for the Republic’ and they are a number of 13 leaders who are currently detained after being arrested amid the declaration of the state security period in March 2011. Human Rights Watch commented on their arrest by stating that it was out of vengeance for their political activity and expression of opinion in its report ‘No Justice in Bahrain[1]’.

    Sheikh Yasser Abdullah Al-Saleh

    Left to right: Yasser AlSaleh, his father Abdulla AlSaleh

    Bahrain’s International Airport security forces arrested Yasser Al-Saleh (31 years old) on Thursday evening 26 December 2013 upon his return from Iraq[2]. Al-Saleh’s family said in a statement[3] published on behalf of his father Abdullah Al-Saleh that Yasser was returning from Iraq through Bahrain’s International Airport when the security forces stopped and arrested him for no apparent reason. There was no word from Al-Saleh for more than 48 hours, until his family received a call from the Criminal Investigation Department stating his presence there without any other details; the phone call duration did not exceed 50 seconds. On the first visit, the family got to know that Al-Saleh was accused of assembling. The Public Prosecution ordered his detention for 45 days pending investigation.

    Worth mentioning, Yasser is the son of Sheikh Abdullah Al-Saleh, the deputy secretary general of Bahrain's Islamic Action Society (AMAL) which the Ministry of Justice recently dissolved as a revenge for the activity of its members in a clear violation of freedom of associations and establishing associations. Sheikh Abdullah Al-Saleh is sentenced in absentia with 10 years in prison; however, he no longer lives in Bahrain and was in Iraq – during Sheikh Yasser’s visit to Iraq. Yasser Al-Saleh had previously been subjected to arrest during the declaration of the state emergency period in 2011, when he was brutally tortured and faced a military trial with charges, among them was the charge of attempting to overthrow the regime and rallying gatherings, until he was released in November 2012 after completing a one year jail sentence according to the verdict of the Court of Appeal[4].

    Al-Saleh’s family believes that arresting Sheikh Yasser and abusing him was a means of taking revenge on his father. In the interrogation, according to his familie’s statement, the interrogators asked him if he was carrying any instructions to the activists on ground. The interrogators believe that he had met his father in Iraq in order to carry a message to the activists in Bahrain. Sheikh Yasser however refused the accusation.

    Mahmood Aqeel Al-Mousawi (Al-Sari)

    The BCHR received information that the detainee Mahmood Al-Mousawi was subjected to torture at the Criminal Investigation Department to force him to confess to the charge of establishing a terrorist cell.

    Mahmood, who was arrested on 6 November 2013 upon his return from Kuwait through King Fahd Causeway, said that he was suffering from unfitting prison conditions in addition to severe harassments, among them is solitary confinement without any justification. Mahmood added that Lieutenant Ahmed Al-Ammadi – the one in charge in the pre-trial detention – prevented him from his right to visiting and calling his family for more than a month which compelled him to hunger strike to improve his condition in prison. However, Al-Mousawi is still complaining from the abuse he faces from Al-Ammadi and Ali Farhan. Al-Mousawi added that he suffers from pain in his joints as a result of torture, as well as a burning sensation in the urine due to the harsh beating.

    Worth mentioning, Aqeel Mahfoud Al-Sari, Mahmood’s father, is sentenced in absentia for 15 years in prison in the case of the leaders[5] or what is locally known as the Coalition for the Republic. The regime forces raided[6] the house several times with the intent to arrest him; however, they were not able to do so as he had left the country before the verdict was issued against him.

    This is not the first time where the Authorities target the families of the detained leaders and activists who are sentenced in absentia. The BCHR documented several cases of targeting families of activists since 2011[7]. The regime forces had arrested a few weeks ago Mohammed Mushaima, son of the opponent Hasan Mushaima, and then released him as a punishment for him for insisting to visit his father who has been deprived of the visit for more than a year because of refusing to wear the criminal prisoners’ uniform. Noteworthy, many of those arrested are not faced with their charges and are arrested without displaying anything that may prove they are wanted for security cases which clearly violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights[8], and specifically Article (9) that states,‘No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile’, and the second clause of Article (9) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which states, ‘Anyone who is arrested shall be informed, at the time of arrest, of the reasons for his arrest and shall be promptly informed of any charges against him’.

    The BCHR considers that targeting the relatives of the human rights and political activists by arbitrary arrests, torture and trials aims at putting pressure on the family to ease their challenge for the authority and to enforce them to submit to their conditions.

    Based on the above, the BCHR calls on the United States, United Kingdom, United Nations and all the authority’s close allies and relevant international organizations to:

    • Put pressure on the authority in Bahrain to take into account and preserve human rights, specifically the ones related to guaranteeing the integrity of the arrest procedure;
    • Trial Bahrain internationally for its continuous and repetitive violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which it had previously endorsed.

    It as well calls on the authority in Bahrain to:

    • Immediately release the detainees, and specifically the ones whose arrests were a mean to take revenge on their fathers;
    • Stop targeting activists and politician as a result of their peaceful activity.
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    Re: Call for the immediate implementation of the United Nations Opinion on Nabeel Rajab’s case 

    Your Majesty, 

    FIDH (the International Federation for Human Rights) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), in the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, call upon the highest authorities of Bahrain to guarantee without any further delay the release of Mr. Nabeel Rajab, President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) and Deputy Secretary General of FIDH. 

    Mr. Nabeel Rajab has been detained at the central prison in Jaw since July 9, 2012. Initially sentenced to three-months’ imprisonment for having “insulted statutory bodies” in a Twitter message, he was later sentenced to three years’ imprisonment on August 16, 2012, while still in detention. Mr. Rajab was sentenced on two others protest-related charges: participation in “illegal gatherings” and calling for manifestation without prior notification in Manama, as well as incitement to gatherings and “illegal marches” through social medias. In December 2012, his sentence was reduced to two years in appeal. 

    The detention of Mr. Nabeel Rajab was characterised as arbitrary by the United Nations (UN) Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) at its 66th session. This decision, published on July 25, 2013, follows a communication addressed by the Observatory on August 31, 2012 to challenge the legality of Mr. Rajab’s detention. In its Opinion A/HRC/WGAD/2013/12, the WGAD considered that the detention of Mr. Nabeel Rajab contravenes articles 19, 20 and 21 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and articles 9, paragraph 1, 14, 21 and 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). 

    Bahrain acceded to the ICCPR in 2006; it is thus legally binding on the country. Article 9 of the ICCPR enshrines the rights not to be arbitrarily arrested or detained and to be informed of charges. Article 14 guarantees the right to a prompt and fair trial. Article 19 protects the right to freedom of expression, Article 21 the right to peaceful assembly and Article 22 the right to freedom of association. The peaceful exercise of the rights of freedom of opinion, expression and association is legitimate and necessary in any democratic society. 

    The right to a fair trial, enshrined in Article 14, includes access to counsel, production of evidence and defence witnesses. Since Mr. Rajab’s arrest on May 5, 2012, a number of court hearings have taken place where these rights have been partially respected, including denial of timely facilitation for foreign witnesses to attend the hearing as well as showing video evidence in camera. The WGAD added that the courts of Bahrain would have to “confront and rule on the matter of the legality of the law banning public demonstrations”, and that “denial of a universally accepted human right to freedom of opinion and expression cannot be condoned by a domestic court, as seen in the case of Mr. Rajab”. 

    The Working Group requested the Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain to take necessary steps to remedy the situation of Mr. Rajab and bring it into conformity with the standards and principles set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the ICCPR. The adequate remedy would be to immediately release Mr. Rajab and to accord him an enforceable right to compensation in accordance with article 9, paragraph 5, of the ICCPR. The WGAD also encouraged the Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain to bring its domestic laws into conformity with the substantive provisions of the Covenant to which it is a party. 

    Thereafter, on December 2, 2013, the Bahraini Court of Appeals examined the request filed by Mr. Nabeel Rajab’s lawyers for an early release and decided not to grant such release without providing any grounds. A representative from the United States Embassy was even prevented from observing this court hearing. Previously, on November 24, a penalty enforcement judge had issued the same decision. During the session, Mr. Rajab’s lawyers presented their arguments that Mr. Nabeel Rajab was eligible for early release in pursuance to the conditions laid under article 349 of the Criminal Procedural Code, which sets three conditions: that ¾ of the sentence has been served, good behaviour during detention and not being a threat to public security. 

    The proceedings failed to comply with the right to a fair trial as the court failed to properly examine the request for early release, failed to provide grounds for its decision and did not guarantee the public nature of the hearing. This decision blatantly contradicts WGAD’s Opinion and suggests that the Bahraini judiciary does not care not only about conforming to international human rights standards but also about implementing domestic law in full independence. 

    Our organisations deeply regret the court’s refusal to grant an early release to Mr. Rajab, and deplore the judge’s decision that failed to provide any grounds. We consider this decision as an attempt to curtail Mr. Rajab’s activities as a human rights defender. 

    Mr. Rajab’s ongoing detention is arbitrary as it results from the exercise of his universally recognised human rights and as his right to a fair trial has not been guaranteed. 

    Our organisations therefore call upon the Bahraini authorities to immediately comply with the UN WGAD’s decision and release Mr. Rajab immediately and unconditionally. 

    We more generally urge the Bahraini authorities to adhere to their international human rights obligations under the ICCPR and bring domestic law in conformity with international human rights instruments ratified by the country. 

    We express our sincere hope that you will take these considerations and requests into account. 

    Sincerely yours, 

    Karim Lahidji Gerald Staberock 

    President of FIDH Secretary General of OMCT

    http://www.fidh.org/en/north-africa-middle-east/bahrain/14461-bahrain-open-letter-to-the-authorities-call-for-the-immediate 

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    Persistence in the Violations of Prisoners Rights inside Prison and Impartial International Monitoring Organizations Awaiting an Opportunity to Enter

    The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses its concern for the authority’s continuous assault on children and violation of their rights, despite the recommendations directed to Bahrain in this regard. It has recently been reported that a number of detained children in Ward ‘6’ in the Dry Dock Prison – specified for the detained children aged between 15 and 18 years old – were subjected to beating by the police and guards, as well as abusing and cursing them, their cursing was not devoid of sectarian language.

    Details of the information received by the BCHR were that on 5 January 2014, a group of police forces and guards stormed Ward ‘6’ specified for children aged between 15 and 18 years old. The detainees were taken aback by the forces who hastily beat them with rods and threw them on the ground for more than half an hour, and then shaved the heads of a group of them in a enforced and insulting manner, and they used phrases and terms that hold sectarian connotations. Among the children known to have been subjected to these inhumane practices are: Ebrahim Al-Shahabi and Ameer Nader Al-Mukhtar from Muharraq Island, and the detainee Ammar Dhaif from the village of Qurayah.

    This method of conduct is a violation of Article 31 of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, which states, ‘Corporal punishment, punishment by placing in a dark cell, and all cruel, inhuman or degrading punishments shall be completely prohibited as punishments for disciplinary offences’.[1]

    The BCHR had documented several cases of organized assault on detainees in Jaw Prison and the Dry Dock Prison. Reports received from the Dry Dock Prison confirm that the prison guards and security forces used teargas and stun grenades inside the closed prison cells last August, which resulted in the injury of at least 40 prisoners[2]. Mrs Sumaya Rajab[3], wife of the BCHR president Nabeel Rajab who is imprisoned for exercising his right to express his opinion[4], stated that the latter eye witnessed last May the torture of at least 8 detainees, among them children, in Jaw Prison in a brutal manner where blood was streaming down their bodies; Mr Nabeel could not help but shout in their face and ask them to stop these practices, and then he asked to see the prison warden, however they took him somewhere else to conceal their crime[5].

    While the Ministry of Interior did not make any statement to counter to the information released by the activists and families of detainees at that time, it started denying its abuse of inmates[6], claiming its commitment to the highest standards of human rights in a response to the statement made by the human rights activists Hussein Parweez, in which he confirmed documenting more than 800 cases of violations during the period of his arrest at the Dry Dock Prison. The Assistant Undersecretary for Legal Affairs claimed that the Ministry of Interior looks into all the complaints against its members and takes the necessary measures against their transgressions, and asked all those filing complaints to head to the General Secretariat of Complaints or police stations to report any violation they face, and he added that the detainees can state any torture or abuse they have faced to the Public Prosecution. While the BCHR finds that these institutions are in fact, as seen in various cases, only tools used to punish activists and prisoners of conscience[7]; previous reports proved the involvement of the Public Prosecution[8] in the incidents of torture and forcing detainees to falsely confess to the charges against them.

    This assault comes a few days after Amnesty International released a report[9] in which it proved that detaining, mistreating and torturing children is a usual matter in Bahrain. Amnesty’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Said Boumedouha, commented, ‘By rounding up suspected under-age offenders and locking them up, Bahrain’s authorities are displaying an appalling disregard for its international human rights obligations’. Amnesty International mentioned in its report that at least 110 children, aged between 16 and 18 years old, are detained pending investigation or trial at the Dry Dock Prison, which is an adult facility in Muharraq Island.

    The BCHR believes that the vengeful practices against the political detainees, especially the activists and prisoners of conscience are a means of punishing them for their peaceful activity and demand for democratization and self-determination guaranteed by international covenants and conventions. The BCHR also finds that the continued violations at the Dry Dock Prison and Jaw Prison is a natural result of the impunity policy which ensured the officials the lack of accountability and liability for any violation they practice against the detainees. The BCHR holds Bahrain’s ruler Hamad Al-Khalifa this responsibility[10], however, it does not disregard the direct responsibility of the General Inspector at the Ministry of Interior Brigadier EbrahimHabib Al-Ghaith[11], and the Director of the Department of Correction and Rehabilitation Lieutenant Colonel Mohammed Rashid Al-Hussaini[12], which the BCHR had released information about their direct involvement in cases of torture and violations against prisoners, among its campaign ‘Wanted for Justice’.

    The Bahrain Center for Human Rights emphasizes the significance of the international conventions related to protection of persons who are subjected to detention or imprisonment, especially that, ‘All persons under any form of detention or imprisonment shall be treated in a humane manner and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person’; hence it urges the United States, United Kingdom, United Nations and all the authority’s close allies and relevant international institutes to put pressure on the government of Bahrain to guarantee the rights of detainees and prisoners, and specially children, and includes:

    • Regular and surprise inspections of prisons and detention centers by representatives of relevant international organizations in addition to local independent organizations, and authorities that have qualified, independent and credible inspectors. Also, to reform the conditions of prisons and detention centers, and prosecute the ones involved in any violation and penalize or depose the implicated administrative authorities.

    It also calls on the authority in Bahrain to:

    • Immediately allow local and international independent human rights organizations and the International Committee of the Red Cross to visit the permanent and temporary detention centers, and to provide the circumstances for it to carry its role objectively and independently;
    • Immediately investigate all the allegations of beating and abuse of children, and to bring forth all who are proven to be guilty to public and transparent trials;
    • Adhere to the international standards of treating prisoners, and primarily the Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners adopted by the Un in December 1990, as well as the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners recommended for adoption by the United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, held at Geneva in 1955, and approved by the Economic and Social Council in July;
    • Sign and endorse the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture, and which guarantees the presence of a permanent committee to visit prisons, and that these visits could be surprise visits; and this is a practical step that can prove Bahrain’s sincerity in improving the conditions of prisons.

    To conclude, it should be noted that the recommendations of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights in regards to the conditions of prisoners in Bahrain does not in any way mean marginalizing or disregarding the basic recommendation and which is immediately and unconditionally releasing all political prisoners.

     

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    In December 2012 the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission (TLHRC), in conjunction with the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) and Amnesty International USA (AIUSA), launched the Defending Freedoms Project (DFP) with the aim of supporting human rights and religious freedom throughout the world with a particular focus on prisoners of conscience.   

    At the height of the Cold War it was not uncommon for prominent political prisoners to be household names.  Robust advocacy campaigns took root in the West—perhaps best represented by the American Jewish community’s efforts on behalf of Soviet Jewry.  While political prisoners and prisoners of conscience are still very much a reality today, too often their stories are not known, their cases are rarely highlighted in high-level diplomatic talks, and, ultimately, little progress is made in pursuit of their release and eventual freedom.

    The Lantos Commission’s first hearing of 2014 addressed the plight of prisoners of conscience, who are currently unjustly detained by repressive governments around the world.  By highlighting several such cases, the hearing explored strategies for securing the release of prisoners of conscience, the need to shine a bright light on some lesser known cases, the historical precedent for effective advocacy campaigns and the importance of human rights as a central factor in U.S. foreign policy.

    The hearing featured several witnesses including Mr. Josh Colangelo-Bryan, Pro Bono Attorney on behalf of Imprisoned Bahraini Human Rights Activist Nabeel Rajab. Please watch the testimony starting at 01:48:00 on this link http://www.ustream.tv/embed/recorded/42779589, or read the full text below.

    Testimony of Joshua Colangelo-Bryan Regarding Nabeel Rajab


    Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission
    United States Congress
    January 16, 2014

    I am honored to speak today on behalf of Nabeel Rajab, a human rights defender who has been imprisoned in Bahrain since July 2012.

    There was a time when no one could have predicted that Nabeel was to become a prisoner of conscience, a victim of the Bahraini government’s determination to suppress all dissent. Nabeel was born in 1964 to a prosperous family that enjoyed good relations with Bahrain’s ruling family. In his early adulthood, Nabeel was an entrepreneur, operating a variety of small businesses, while also marrying and having two children. However, the pursuit of profits was not Nabeel’s true calling.

    Rather, Nabeel began to work on human rights matters in the 1990s, inspired by political unrest and systematic human rights abuses that were prevalent in Bahrain at that time. After King Hamad announced reforms which, among other things, allowed civil society groups to form, Nabeel co-founded the Bahrain Center for Human Rights in 2002, which addresses issues from torture to extra-judicial killing to the abuse of migrant workers. Displeased with the Center’s activities, the Bahraini government officially disbanded it in 2004.

    Nonetheless, Nabeel ensured that the Center continued to function, most critically since February 2011, when massive pro-democracy protests erupted in Bahrain. The government met these protests by shooting and killing peaceful demonstrators, beating detainees to death, and engaging in large-scale political prosecutions. These crimes were detailed in the report by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, which King Hamad had charged with investigating such matters.

    Since 2011, Nabeel and the Center have investigated and reported on human rights abuses, providing essential information to the international community, whose representatives often have been denied entry into Bahrain. The Center also has lobbied the European Union, the United Nations, and national governments. Nabeel himself has visited with members of Congress to discuss the situation in Bahrain.

    Nabeel has never been parochial in his focus, however. He has long worked on human rights issues outside Bahrain, advocating on behalf of people regardless of their sect, color, citizenship or background. For example, Nabeel championed the due process rights of Guantanamo Bay detainees. This work, on behalf of people perceived to be Sunni extremists, earned Nabeel – a secular Shia – enmity from some within his community in Bahrain, a country that suffers from sectarian polarization. For Nabeel, such work was simply a matter of principle.

    In a similar vein, Nabeel was a founder of the Gulf Center for Human Rights, a non-governmental organization that works to protect human rights defenders throughout the Gulf region. Nabeel is a member of the Advisory Committee of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East Division, and was Deputy Secretary General for the International Federation for Human Rights.

    Unfortunately, Nabeel’s advocacy for others in his home country has led to his paying a very heavy and personal price. In the early morning hours of April 18, 2011, unknown assailants lobbed teargas grenades over a garden wall that surrounds his home and the home of his elderly mother, who suffered from respiratory disease, causing her great distress. On January 6, 2012, riot police beat Nabeel as he was leaving a peaceful protest, sending him to the hospital.

    In the summer of 2012, the government began to subject Nabeel to transparently political prosecutions. In June, a court fined him for tweeting that police had failed to protect civilians from attack by an armed group. Another court sentenced him to three months’ imprisonment after he tweeted that Bahrain’s prime minister no longer enjoyed support in Sitra, which prosecutors contended was offensive to town residents. Following that conviction, masked security forces roughly seized Nabeel from his home in front of his children and brought him to prison.

    On August 16, 2012, while Nabeel’s lawyers attended an appeal in that case, authorities brought Nabeel from prison to a different courtroom, where the judge convicted him in three other proceedings for taking part in “unapproved” pro-democracy demonstrations. Even though the court did not find that Nabeel had engaged in or incited any act of violence, it sentenced him to three years’ imprisonment; a term reduced to two years by an appellate court. Nabeel is currently serving that sentence and only recently was denied an early “good behavior” release.

    Nabeel is not unique in having been subjected to such injustices. We have seen a Bahraini court sentence half a dozen opposition activists to life terms for peacefully protesting in favor of establishing a republic in Bahrain. A Bahraini court sentenced a nurse to prison for “destroying public property” after she stepped on a photograph of the prime minister. Conversely, Bahraini courts have sentenced security personnel convicted of shooting or beating people to death to terms of as little as six months, when such personnel have been convicted at all.

    Nabeel called me recently from prison. He did not want to talk about his circumstances, perhaps in part because the call was monitored. But, in truth, Nabeel has never been overly concerned about himself.

    Indeed, his focus has remained steadfastly on the well-being of others. So he asked about my family and requested that I offer his thanks to Congressman McGovern.

    For years, Nabeel has spoken out on behalf of those who could not speak out for themselves. Now that Nabeel is imprisoned, it is my privilege to speak out on his behalf. Hopefully, by bringing attention to the injustices visited upon Nabeel, we can remind authorities in Bahrain that we will not forget Nabeel, but will continue to demand that Bahrain treat him in accordance with international standards and laws, and release him.

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    Jaw’s prisoners’ health at risk, and independent monitoring organizations prevented from entering

    The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses its deep concern for the authority’s continued mistreatment of prisoners, especially activists and prisoners of conscience and neglecting to provide the necessary health conditions in prison, amidst the utter silence of Jaw’s Central Prison administration which refuses to improve the conditions of detainees or to comment on the complaints about the violations taking place inside.

    Confirmed information received by the BCHR indicates that Jaw Central Prison’s shop has not been providing healthy water for the detainees in Ward 1 for more than a month and a half without giving any convincing reason for that. Noteworthy, the detainees in Jaw Prison buy water bottles from the prison shop with their own money, especially in light of the increasing complaints about the poor quality of water provided by the prison for free, in addition to depriving some detainees from their right to reaching the shop to buy what they need and to get clean and healthy water.

    ‘They don’t treat us like humans, they want us to die because in their eyes we are traitors’, words stated by the detainee Sayed Mahdi Hadi Al-Mousawi, condemning the practices of Jaw Prison against the detainees by not providing healthy water for them. Al-Mousawi, who stopped drinking water, since Jaw’s prison shop stopped providing it, is now suffering from disease symptoms that have influenced his health. Information received states that he suffers from bleeding when defecating as well as a sharp decline in the level of his vision. Although the clinic doctor recommended that he gets transferred to a specialized hospital, the prison administration has not transferred him yet as a punishment for him. It is worth mentioning that Al-Mousawi was arrested in March 2011 with a number of people who were arrested and tortured during the declaration of the state emergency period; he is serving a 10 year’s imprisonment sentence.

    The BCHR also obtained information that the 13 political and human rights activists detained in what is known as the ‘Coalition for the Republic’ are drinking water from a rusty water cooler, and when its filter was removed its water looked like sewage water.

    Since at least 2011 the BCHR has been receiving complaints about the deteriorating conditions of the detainees at Jaw Prison, and primarily the poor quality of water provided by the prison administration where some detainees even believe that it is mixed with sulphur (or urine) sometimes and they inhale that from the stench coming from it. Despite the frequent reports about the poor quality of drinking water, the prison administration did not take any procedure to adjust the conditions all these years.[i] The BCHR’s information points out that the basins of the shower area and drinking water lie close to a waste repository which adds to the declining health conditions.

    The detainees are permanently complaining from the Jaw Prison administration’s neglect towards the quality of food and drinks it provides. The BCHR had received information in May 2013 that states that the president of the Bahrain’s Teacher Association, the detainee Mahdi Abudeeb, was given a contaminated water bottle and then he placed it among the water bottles he had bought from the prison shop which caused deterioration in his health, as announced later by his family[ii]. Abudeeb filed a complaint on this incident to the prison administration, however no investigation took place. After that, his lawyer filed another complaint to the Judge who implements the penalty and the Public Prosecution. Abudeeb is serving a 5 year’s imprisonment sentence[iii] as a result of calling for a teacher’s strike in February and March 2011 out of protest against the violent suppression of peaceful protestors at that time.

    The BCHR holds Jaw Central Prison’s governor, Mohammed Rashid Al-Hoseini, the full legal and humane responsibility of the deterioration of Sayed Mahdi Al-Mousawi’s health and all other detainees as a result of the poor health conditions in prison.

    Based on the above, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls on the United States, United Kingdom, United Nations and the all the regime’s close allies and relevant international institutes to:

    • Put pressure on the authority in Bahrain to take into account and maintain human rights;
    • Trial Bahrain internationally for its continued and frequent violations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights it had endorsed.

    It also calls on the authority in Bahrain to:

    • Ensure the health conditions in prison, which includes providing healthy drinkable water;
    • Provide the appropriate medical care for Sayed Mahdi Al-Mousawi and all other detainees who are undergoing poor health conditions;
    • Immediately release all the political prisoners detained in cases related to the public movement demanding freedom and democracy;
    • Stop the vengeful practices carried out by the security apparatuses against the detainees, especially in Jaw Central Prison;
    • Hold accountable and question all those involved in the violations whether by supervision and / or order, especially the higher ranking personnel.
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    URGENT ACTION

    Bahraini photojournalist Ahmad Fardan was released on bail on 9 January pending investigation on a new charge of “involvement in a Molotov cocktail attack on police in December”. He has said that he was tortured.

    Ahmad Fardan was released on bail from Dry Dock prison in the capital, Manama, at about 9pm on 9 January. Earlier that day he had been taken to the offices of the prison authorities to meet a member of the Special Investigative Unit (SIU), a unit within the Public Prosecutor’s Office (PPO) set up to investigate allegations of torture and other ill-treatment, killings and other violations by the security forces, who asked about his alleged torture and other ill-treatment since his arrest and told him that he was visiting because of this UA being issued on 7 January. Ahmad Fardan gave details of his torture to the investigator.

    Ahmad Fardan gave an interview to the Bahraini newspaper al-Wasat on 11 January about the alleged torture and other ill-treatment he said he had been subjected to while he was being transferred to the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) in Manama in the vehicle of the security forces and on arrival at the CID.

    On 26 December, the day of his arrest, he was taken before the Public Prosecution and interrogated on the charge of “participating in a public gathering” in connection with a 16 December demonstration in Abu Saiba’ village, west of Manama, which he had intended to cover as a photographer. During interrogation, he was kept blindfolded, with his hands cuffed behind his back. The Ministry of the Interior published a statement in English on 14 January denying that Ahmad Fardan had been tortured or sustained broken ribs, adding that he had been arrested in connection with his “involvement in a Molotov cocktail attack on police earlier in the month”. This is the first time Ahmad Fardan was told of this charge.

    Please write immediately in Arabic, English or your own language:

    • Calling on the authorities to drop the charges against Ahmad Fardan since they are related solely to his peaceful work as a photojournalist;
    • Urging them to order a thorough, independent and impartial investigation into allegations that Ahmad Fardan was tortured or otherwise ill-treated when in the custody of the security forces;
    • Urging them to uphold the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, including the freedom to seek, receive and impart information, in line with Bahrain’s international human rights obligations.

    PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 27 FEBRUARY 2014 TO:

    King

    Shaikh Hamad bin ‘Issa Al Khalifa

    Office of His Majesty the King

    P.O. Box 555

    Rifa’a Palace, al-Manama, Bahrain

    Fax: +973 1766 4587 (keep trying)

    Salutation: Your Majesty

     

    Minister of Interior

    Shaikh Rashid bin ‘Abdullah Al Khalifa

    Ministry of Interior

    P.O. Box 13, al-Manama, Bahrain

    Fax: +973 1723 2661

    Twitter: @moi_Bahrain

    Salutation: Your Excellency

     

    And copies to:

    Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs

    Shaikh Khalid bin Ali bin Abdullah Al Khalifa

    Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs

    P. O. Box 450, al-Manama, Bahrain

    Fax: +973 1753 1284

    Email: minister@justice.gov.bh

    Twitter: @Khaled_Bin_Ali

    Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below:

    Name Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 Fax Fax number Email Email address Salutation Salutation

     

    Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date. This is the first update of UA 3/14. Further information: http://amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE11/002/2014/en

     

    ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

    Ahmad Fardan, a photographer for the agencies Nur Photo, Demotix and Sipa, was arrested at 2.30am on 26 December 2013 during a raid on his home in Abu Saibah village, west of Manama. The arresting officers, in plain clothes, did not show an arrest warrant. He was slapped on the face, beaten and his penis was pulled during his transfer to the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) in Manama, and upon arrival at the CID. He had difficulty breathing, and passed out. He was taken to the Salmaniya Medical Complex where X-rays revealed he had sustained two broken ribs. After the examination, he was taken back to the CID for interrogation in relation to a demonstration on 16 December near his home. Fearing further torture he confessed to intending to participate in the demonstration and signed documents to that effect, which he could not read. He was then brought before the Public Prosecution for questioning without the presence of his lawyer. Afterwards, he was taken to al-Qal’a Prison hospital for a routine medical check before being transferred to Dry Dock prison in Manama. The prison authorities there were told to send him to al-Qal’a prison hospital, where he remained until 31 December. During this time he was only allowed to make two very short phone calls to his family to reassure them. The Public Prosecutor ordered on 1 January that he should be detained for 45 days pending further investigation, on a charge of “participating in a public gathering”. He was then transferred to Dry Dock Prison in Manama where his family visited him for the first time on 5 January.

    Before his release on 9 January, Ahmad Fardan was visited by a member of the SIU, which the government had set up on 27 February 2012 following recommendations in the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) report. Its mandate is primarily to focus on the cases documented by the BICI report but it also examines other cases referred to it by the PPO.

    The BICI, appointed by Royal Order on 29 June 2011, was charged with investigating and reporting on human rights violations committed in connection with the 2011 protests. At the launch of the BICI report in November 2011, the government publicly committed itself to implementing its recommendations. The report recounted the government’s response to the mass protests and documented wide-ranging human rights abuses. Among its key recommendations, the report called on the government to bring to account those responsible for human rights violations, including torture and excessive use of force, and carry out independent investigations into allegations of torture.

    The establishment of BICI and its report was considered to be a groundbreaking initiative, but the promise of meaningful reform has been betrayed by the government’s unwillingness to implement key recommendations around accountability; this includes its failure to carry out independent, effective and transparent investigations into allegations of torture and other ill-treatment and excessive use of force, and to prosecute all those who gave the orders to commit human rights abuses. For further information see the November 2012 report Reform shelved, repression unleashed (Index: MDE 11/062/2012), http://amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE11/062/2012/en.

    Bahrain’s parliament held an extraordinary session on 28 July 2013, after which it submitted 22 recommendations to the King, Shaikh Hamad Bin ‘Issa Al Khalifa. The recommendations toughen punishments laid out in the 2006 anti-terrorism law. A few days later the King issued several decrees further curtailing the right to freedom of expression, including banning all protests, sit-ins and public gatherings in Manama indefinitely and giving the security forces additional sweeping powers.

    A joint statement signed by 47 countries at the UN Human Rights Council on 9 September expressed serious concern about the ongoing human rights violations in Bahrain.

    Name: Ahmad Fardan

    Gender m/f: m

    Further information on UA: 3/14 Index: MDE 11/005/2014 Issue Date: 16 January 2014

    http://amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE11/005/2014/en

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    (Beirut) – The government of Bahrain in 2013 seriously undermined prospects of a political solution to domestic unrest, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2014. The government increased restrictions on the exercise of core human rights like freedom of speech, assembly, and association.

    Security forces arbitrarily arrested scores of people and authorities detained and prosecuted activists. There were continuing credible reports of torture and ill-treatment in detention. The government failed to carry out key recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, which at the government’s request examined the government’s and security forces’ response to mass protests in 2011.

    Read the full Bahrain Chapter in the World Report 2014



    “Bahraini officials seem to think they can arrest and torture their way to peace and stability,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director. “Official talk of reform is a joke at a time when peaceful critics of the government are labelled terrorists and kept in jail.”

    In the 667-page world report, its 24th edition, Human Rights Watch reviews human rights practices in more than 90 countries. Syria’s widespread killings of civilians elicited horror but few steps by world leaders to stop it, Human Rights Watch said. A reinvigorated doctrine of “responsibility to protect” seems to have prevented some mass atrocities in Africa. Majorities in power in Egypt and other countries have suppressed dissent and minority rights. And Edward Snowden’s revelations about US surveillance programs reverberated around the globe.

    Abdulhadi al-Khawaja and Ibrahim Sharif are among 13 high-profile leaders of peaceful protests who remain in prison on charges related to their exercise of their rights to freedom of expression and assembly. Bahrain’s judicial system has yet to hold any senior official responsible for serious human rights violations since 2011.

    In September, authorities arrested Khalil Marzooq, the assistant secretary general of al-Wefaq, the leading opposition group, and charged him with “inciting and advocating terrorism.” The charges relate to his comments at a rally, where he publicly denounced violence. His trial is scheduled for January 27.

    In September, a court sentenced 50 people, including several rights activists, to prison terms ranging from 5 to 15 years. The court accused the defendants of seeking to change the constitution by “sowing chaos in the country, committing crimes of violence and sedition … and harming national unity,” but only connected one of the 50 to any act of violence. Naji Fateel, an opposition activist, sentenced to 15 years, alleged that officials beat him severely in pretrial detention and subjected him to electric shocks.

    From March onward, security forces arbitrarily detained scores of people, including children, every month. Four former detainees told Human Rights Watch that they were severely beaten, and in one case sexually assaulted, at the Interior Ministry’s Criminal Investigations Directorate.

    In May, an appeals court reduced to six months a police lieutenant’s seven-year sentence for the 2011 murder of a protester, Hani Abd al-Aziz Jumaa. The lieutenant is the highest-ranking security official known to have been convicted for abuses in the 2011 campaign of repression.

    Parliament in November amended the law on public gatherings, requiring organizers of all demonstrations in Manama to seek official permission, effectively suspending the right to assembly. A September amendment to the 2005 Law for Political Societies requires political groups to secure advance permission from the government to meet with foreign diplomats in Bahrain and abroad.

    http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/01/21/bahrain-prospects-reform-remain-dim

    Document Type: 
    Feature: 

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