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Bahrain: Violently Arrested and Sexually Harassed, Abdulla and Zuhair: Victims of Impunity

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The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses its grave concern over the escalated use of excessive force by the authorities in Bahrain to suppress peaceful protests and the arbitrary and violent arrest of citizens, which is a result of the culture of impunity.  Abdullla Yousif Mohammed (24 years old), and Zuhair Yehya Majid (23 years old) were both violently arrested on the 14th of August 2013 on charges related to attacking an official.

 

On Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 5:30 pm there was a sit-in protest near the homes of these two men when security forces attacked the demonstrators and surrounded them with approximately five police vehicles and asked them about their names. Following an interrogation that focused mostly on Abdullah and which lasted for around 45 minutes as reported by the witnesses, they asked Abdulla about his ID card, he replied that it is inside their home. The officer who was wearing civilian clothes asked him to have someone to bring it to him from inside, but Abdulla suggested that he would bring it himself since no one was inside his house except for his old mother, the officer rejected.

 

Soon after, citizens from the village started gathering around the scene, and the police forces attacked them using the shotguns, teargas, and sound bombs. One policeman sprayed pepper spray in the face of Abdullah's sister and his brother's wife.

 

Later more armored troops, police jeeps, and civilian cars arrived in which Abdulla was taken inside after being kicked and beaten. Zuhair was arrested because he tried defending Abdullah and was taken by the police jeep to Hamad Town Station. Link to the video which shows their violent arrest:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epCDsXQVpPY&feature=youtu.be&a

 

Zuhair's brother drove behind them and he saw them entering the station. When he asked the security guard at the gate that he wanted to see his brother, he replied "You won't get anything now, go now and they will call you".

 

After eight days, Wednesday, August 21, 2013, the family of Abdullah has received a call from him from Dry Dock prison. While the family of Zuhair has received a call from him on the same day of the arrest Thursday, August 15, 2013 from the Hamad Town Station. Both were taken on the second day to the Public prosecution without a lawyer, and were detained for 7 days pending investigation.  On the evening of Thursday, August 15, 2013, both were transferred to the Dry Dock prison.

 

The brother of Zuhair informed the BCHR that after he was transferred to the Dry Dock prison, his condition worsened as a result of the torture he received. The family received a call from Zuhair informing them that he was transferred to the Military Hospital on Friday, 16th of August 2013, and was returned to Dry Dock Block 10 again on Thursday, 22nd of August 2013, without informing the family. It is important to note that from the day of Zuhair's arrest until the time of writing this statement, he has not been allowed any family visits. The brother of Abdulla informed BCHR that Abdulla's first family visit was on Thursday, August 22, 2013 during which he informed his brother that he was beaten by officers using their hands, feet and weapons, and that they were also harassed sexually by two officers. Zuhair also informed his brother of the same information in a phone call.

 

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

 

  • The immediate and unconditional release of Abdulla Yousif and Zuhair Yehya, and all other political prisoners in Bahrain;
  •  Immediately put an end to all forms of torture and sexual harassment;
  • End the culture of impunity and hold accountable all those accused of conducting, overseeing or enabling torture and mistreatment; including senior government officials who, if not directly supervising the violations, are involved in the protection of the violators.

 

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