UA: 233/13 Index: MDE 11/035/2013 Bahrain Date: 22 August 2013
A 13-year-old Bahraini boy, Salman Mahdi Salman, has been arrested and had his detention order renewed for seven days by the Public Prosecution on 21 August. He is held in a juvenile detention centre, but at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.
Salman Mahdi Salman, aged 13, was arrested on 11 August at around 5pm near a shopping mall on al-Budaiya’ Street, in the west of the capital, Manama. According to an eyewitness, Salman Mahdi Salman was walking alone when he was surrounded by members of the security forces who arrested him; there was no demonstration in progress in the street at the time. He was taken to al-Budaiya’ police station and released at 1am on 12 August. The police contacted his family that day asking them to bring Salman Mahdi Salman back to the police station for further interrogation, but the family did not do so. The police then contacted Salman’s uncle and threatened to raid the family's house and arrest the boy, if they refused to comply. The family handed Salman Mahdi Salman over to the police the next day. The Juvenile Prosecution ordered his detention for seven days pending investigation, and this order was renewed for a further seven days on 21 August.
Salman Mahdi Salman is held in a juvenile detention centre where his family visited him on 18 August. He told them that following his arrest and during his interrogation he was slapped in the face to force him to confess that he was masked at the time he was arrested, carrying a Molotov cocktail and a cigarette lighter.
Please write immediately in Arabic, English or your own language:
- Urging the Bahraini authorities to ensure that Salman Mahdi Salman is treated in accordance with the international standards of juvenile justice;
- Urging them to disclose the reason for his arrest and release him immediately unless he is charged with an internationally recognizable criminal offence;
- Urging them to protect him from torture and other ill-treatment.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 3 OCTOBER 2013 TO:
Shaikh Hamad bin ‘Issa Al Khalifa
Office of His Majesty the King
P.O. Box 555
Rifa’a Palace, al-Manama,
Fax: +973 1766 4587
Salutation: Your Majesty
Minister of Interior
Shaikh Rashid bin ‘Abdullah Al Khalifa
Ministry of Interior
P.O. Box 13, al-Manama,
Fax: +973 1723 2661
Salutation: Your Excellency
And copies to:
Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs
Shaikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa
Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs
P. O. Box 450, al-Manama,
Fax: +973 1753 1284
Salutation: Your Excellency
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.
Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.
The Bahraini authorities have stated publicly their intention to introduce reforms and learn lessons from events in February and March 2011, when they cracked down on anti-government protesters. In November 2011, the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) submitted a report, which concluded that the authorities had committed gross human rights violations with impunity. Despite the authorities’ claims to the contrary, abuses are still being committed against those who oppose the Al Khalifa family’s rule.
In response to a recent increase in violence, and in anticipation of planned large demonstrations by the opposition, Bahrain’s parliament held an extraordinary session on 28 July at 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. The King welcomed the recommendations the next day, and ordered the prime minister to ensure that they were urgently implemented by the government. Bahrain’s constitution (Article 38) gives the King the power to issue decrees that have the force of law when parliament is in recess. In these circumstances the government prepares the draft amendments and the King ratifies them.
The King issued two emergency decrees on 6 August. One amends the 1973 Law on Public Gatherings and Demonstrations, to ban demonstrations, sit-ins, marches and public gatherings in the capital, Manama. The 1976 juvenile law was also amended and now stipulates that if anyone under 16 years of age takes part in a demonstration, public gathering or sit-in, his or her parents will be warned in writing by the Ministry of Interior. If six months after the warning the child is found in a new demonstration his or her father could face jail, a fine or both. Amnesty International fears that these draconian measures will be used, as was the case on 14 August, to crack down on anti-government protests.
Under Article 15 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), to which Bahrain is a state party, “1. States Parties recognize the rights of the child to freedom of association and to freedom of peaceful assembly. 2. No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of these rights other than those imposed in conformity with the law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, public order (ordre public), the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others”.
Article 37 of the CRC requires that "States Parties shall ensure that: (b) No child shall be deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily. The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be in conformity with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time; (d) Every child deprived of his or her liberty shall have the right to prompt access to legal and other appropriate assistance, as well as the right to challenge the legality of the deprivation of his or her liberty before a court or other competent, independent and impartial authority, and to a prompt decision on any such action." Under Article 40: “2(a) No child shall be alleged as, be accused of, or recognized as having infringed the penal law by reason of acts or omissions that were not prohibited by national or international law at the time they were committed; 2(b)(ii) To be informed promptly and directly of the charges against him or her, and, if appropriate, through his or her parents or legal guardians, and to have legal or other appropriate assistance in the preparation and presentation of his or her defence and 2 (b)(iv) Not to be compelled to give testimony or to confess guilt; to examine or have examined adverse witnesses and to obtain the participation and examination of witnesses on his or her behalf under conditions of equality”.
Name: Salman Mahdi Salman
Gender m/f: m
UA: 233/13 Index: MDE 11/035/2013 Issue Date: 22 August 2013