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Sayed Alawi Forcibly Disappeared for Over a Month with Complicity of Government Human Rights Bodies

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As of 27 November 2016, Sayed Alawi Hussain Alawi has been forcibly disappeared for over a month following his arrest at the hands of Bahraini security forces with absolutely no contact with his family or lawyer, and with implication of governmental human rights parties to protect the perpetrators of this crime. Bahrain Center for Human Rights is appalled by the continuous disappearance of Alawi and the blatant endorsement of the crime by official parties.

Sayed Alawi Hussain Alawi, a 43-year-old resident of Duraz, disappeared on 24 October 2016, around 4pm. His family told BCHR that he didn’t return home since leaving for work on that day. After they filed a disappearance report at the Budaiya police station, the police officers told them on the same day that Alawi was being detained at the Criminal Investigation Directorate (CID), and asked the family to cancel the disappearance report.  

Since then, CID has continued to deny any information or confirmation of the detention of Alawi. His family approached the Dry Dock detention center where they also denied holding Alawi. In addition, the family appointed a lawyer who has tried to get information on his case at the public prosecution with no success. As such, for over a month the family continues to be in the dark on the whereabouts and wellbeing of Alawi, who has not called them once since his arrest.   

On 25 October, Alawi’s family filed a complaint with the Ombudsman for arbitrary and illegal arrest, as no arrest warrant was ever seen. They have also called upon the National Human Rights Institute (NHRI), a governmental body whose members are appointed by the king, to act on the case.  On 25 November 2016, the NHRI said in a public statement that Alawi is detained at the Dry Dock Detention and that it’s working on facilitating his communication with his family. The NHRI didn’t mention anything about the violation of enforced disappearance. Even though, neither Alawi’s family nor his lawyer have had any contact with him.

Additionally, on 26 November 2016, the head of the Human Rights Committee at the Bahraini Parliament stated that he has contacted the public prosecution and obtained information from them that Alawi is indeed “detained pending investigation” and that “all the formal procedures have been taken properly and correctly according to the rules applicable in the Kingdom of Bahrain.”

His family announced today 28 November that he had called them and that he had sounded very tired. His wife couldn't recognize his voice. After a month of disappearance and denial of whereabout, the authorities finally stated that he was in their custody.

BCHR finds it appalling that enforced disappearance, absence of formal arrest warrant, depriving a detainee from access to a lawyer during investigation, or to their family for over a month, are considered “proper” and “correct” procedures and “according to the rules applicable in the Kingdom of Bahrain.”  

The complicity of official human rights representatives of the government in hiding the crime of enforced disappearance and lack of due process, while showing minimum respect for protecting the human rights of the victim showcases the culture of impunity in Bahrain.

The act of enforced disappearance directly violates many basic human rights, including the right to liberty, right to security and dignity, right to recognition before the law, right to fair trial, and the right not to be subjected to torture or other cruel and inhumane treatment. It also puts the family in a state on ongoing stress and anxiety for not knowing anything about the wellbeing of their relative.

Therefore, BCHR calls on the government of Bahrain to immediately allow Sayed Alawi Hussain Alawi to have direct contact with his family and lawyer, and to release him.
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