The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses its concern for the authorities continued practice of applying an excessive use of force against protesters, resulting in extrajudicial killings. Specifically, the BCHR has documented that protesters continue to be targeted by police officers firing tear gas canisters and shotgun pellets at close range at their upper-bodies. On 23 February 2014, AbdulAzizMoussa Al-Abbar (27 years-old) was shot in the head with a tear gas canister during a protest and spent the last two months in a coma; his family confirmed this week that he passed away after suffering from a critical brain injury.
The family stated that Al-Abbar was shot directly hit in the head with a teargas canister in addition to being hit with shotgun pellets when the riot police used an excessive use of force to suppress a protest on Sunday evening on 23 February 2014 following a peaceful funeral procession for the media worker Ali Al-Mousawi in the village of Saar. According to information available to the BCHR, Al-Abbar suffered critical brain injuries in addition to complications from two shotgun pellets; one of which penetrated his eye and the other penetrated his brain and caused serious damage as the blood vessels were damaged and which resulted in internal bleeding in the brain. For more details please refer to the previous statement http://bchr.hopto.org/en/node/6794
The original death certificate issued by the Bahraini Ministry of Interior stated that the cause of death was internal bleeding in the brain, but failed to mention the reason for his injury. The family refused to sign the death certificate and has therefore, at the time of writing this statement, not been allowed to collect the body.
Protesters uploaded to YouTube a video clip of the first minutes following Al-Abbar’s injury when he was taken to a private home for medical treatment out of fear of arrest at the government hospital. However, it soon became apparent that his injuries were very severe, and he was taken to Salmaniya Medical Complex.
Based on the aforementioned, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls on the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Nations and all the close allies and relevant international institutions to pressure the authorities in Bahrain to:
- end the practice of using excessive force against peacefully assembled protesters;
- end the policy of extra-judicial killing, whether it be torture that leads to death or intentionally aiming tear gas canisters and shotgun pellets at protesters upper-body, and firing from a close range;
- end the culture of impunity that allows human rights violators to continue these practices without fear of punishment;
- immediately initiate an independent investigation into the shooting of Al-Abbar and the excessive use of force documented to be practiced by the police against other victims of extra judicial killings;
- hold accountable all those implicated in human rights violations, and bring before an independent judiciary those who gave the orders to illegally fire on peaceful protesters.