The Bahrain Center for Human Rights is appalled by the continuous arrests and detention of children under the age of 18 on arbitrary charges in blatant disregard to the international treaties that Bahrain has signed for the protection of children’s rights.
On 19 December 2013, two children were interrogated for several hours by the Public Prosecution: Jehad Nabeel AlSameea (ten years-old) and Abdulla Yusuf AlBahrani (thirteen years-old). They then each received a detention order by the juvenile judge for seven days pending investigation on the charge of “attacking a police patrol”. They will be held at held at a juvenile detention centre under the control of the Ministry of Interior.
Minors below the age of 15 are not criminally responsible in the eyes of the law in Bahrain, however, they are often arrested from areas close to protests, and can be detained for several weeks.
The act of detaining a child is in disagreement with several articles of the Convention On The Rights Of The Child, including Article (3): "In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration." , Article (37): "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;"
In a recent report by Amnesty International, it was revealed that at least 100 children (between 15 to 18 years old) are currently detained without court verdicts at the Dry Docks prison.
The BCHR calls on the United States, the United Kingdom, the UN, UNICEF, and all other allies and international institutions to put pressure on the Government of Bahrain to immediately:
- Release the children Jehad Nabeel AlSameea and Abdulla Yusuf AlBahrani as well as all other detained children who were arrested during the on-going protests in Bahrain.
- Drop all falsified charges against them.
- Stop violating children's rights and stop the targeting of children with arrest, detention and ill-treatment.
- To abide by the laws of the International Convention for the Rights of the Child.