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Bahrain: Victim of Enforced Disappearance confirmed dead after being shot by police

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The Bahrain Center for Human Rights is appalled by the news of the extra-judicial killing of 19-year-old Fadhel Abbas Muslim Marhoon by police fire, following 18 days of his enforced disappearance.

On Wednesday January 8, 2014, 17-year-old Sadeq Jaffar Alasafoor, 19-year-old Fadhel Abbas Muslim, and 18-year-old Ali AbdulAmir were subjected to violent arrest by the police while visiting a released prisoner in the village of Markh. The three youth were reportedly chased by members of the National Security Forces who opened fire, injuring two of them. They were subsequently arrested and held incommunicado. The Ministry of the Interior released a statement the following day, stating that arrests were made “regarding the involvement of suspects in the smuggling of weapons and explosives”, resulting in the injury of two suspects during their attempt to escape when one tried to run over the police with his car and the other was believed to be reaching for a weapon[1]. No information pertaining to the whereabouts and wellbeing of their sons was ever provided. Furthermore, the family was not provided with basic information as to who was arrested or who was injured. Subsequently, according to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the three youth were subject to enforced disappearance since the incident. (refer to BCHR Statement http://bahrainrights.org/ar/node/6726)

An eye witness contacted the BCHR and gave the following testimony (name withheld for safety reasons):

“Around 11pm I heard shooting, it was several shots and very loud. Approximately 10 minutes later I got up on the roof of the house, and I saw three civilian cars and people running. The place where the incident took place is where laborers live, and it’s a pretty big open space. Five minutes later, approximately riot police vehicles arrived to the place of the incident, followed by two ambulances who arrived and left rapidly. More riot police vehicles arrived accompanied by NSA vehicles who stayed at the site of the incident until 5am before leaving.”

Further evidence of this enforced disappearance is given by Fadhel Abbas Muslim’s father who went to Budaiya police station where he was told there were no detainees with his son’s name. He sought further answers at the Salmaniya Medical Complex but was again told his son was not hospitalized. Finally, he went to the Military hospital where he was immediately escorted out.

There was no official communication to the family throughout the 18 days following the January 8 incident. Fadhel Abbas Muslim was held incommunicado in an unknown condition, at unknown location until he was finally announced dead by the Ministry of the Interior on January 26, 2014.

To further exacerbate the situation, The Ministry of the Interior claimed in a statement released on January 26, 2014 that Fadhel Abbas Muslim was injured “while resisting arrest”, “intentionally trying to run over the policemen, who were forced to use their weapons to defend themselves”[2]. However, the deceased suffered a wound in both the back of his head and in the back of his leg indicating that he was shot from behind. Additionally, bruises were seen on the head and several areas of Fadhel’s body indicating that he was subject to brutal beating at time of arrest.

According to medical sources, who have viewed photos of the injury suffered by Fadhel, there are no marks of surgical interference, indicating that his condition was beyond surgical intervention.

 

Photos of Fadhel Abbas' body (Very graphic)

 

The Ministry of the Interior has labeled all the victims as criminals, despite the fact that the father of Fadhel and the father of Sadeq were not given any information regarding if charges were filed against their sons when they were seeking information at the police station. For example, Sadeq AlAsfoorhas no criminal cases logged against him in the police electronic system, as per what his father was told at the police station. Sadeq AlAsfoor, the other victim of shooting, has been subject to enforced disappearance for over 15 days before his family was finally allowed to briefly see him at the prisoner’s clinic at the HQ of the Ministry of the Interior, on Friday January 24, 2014, under security presence and with restrictions on their talk limited to his medical condition. Sadeq’s family was made aware that he was injured in his kidneys, stomach, and back, despite a clear mark of operation in his belly. It was not clear how many bullets were removed from his body.

This is not the first incident of violent arrest leaving serious injury. In December 2012, BCHR reported the shooting of a young man in the face by police, as they were trying to arrest his companion.[3]

At the funeral of Fadhel on January 26, 2014, security forces once again dealt with mourners and protesters in the same violent manner as February 2011, with shotgun and excessive tear gas fire. Serious injuries by shotgun fire in the upper parts of the body were reported.

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights has continuously documented the cases of extra-judicial killing since 2011, but no one has been held adequately accountable for any of the over 80 cases. In the few show trials held for low-rank policemen, the passed sentenced ranged between a few months after appeals to acquittal. [4] The widespread systematic culture of impunity and the absence of international pressure are encouraging more extra-judicial killing by the government of Bahrain.

The BCHR calls on the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Nations and all other allies and international institutions to put pressure on the Government of Bahrain to

  • Stop its use of excessive force in dealing with peaceful citizens and end the systematic policy of impunity,
  • Immediately initiate an impartial and independent investigation into the killing of Fadhel Abbas and all other victims of extrajudicial killings, and hold all those involved in the killing accountable, especially those in high positions who gave the orders.
  • To consider a meaningful solution to resolve the persistent political issues of instability in the country.

 

 

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