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Bahrain: Muneer Habib - Arrested and Tortured Into Making Confessions

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The Bahrain Center for Human Rights is following with great concern the arrests of Bahrainis and the practice of systemized torture to extract false confessions claiming their involvement in terrorism acts. The last case that was documented in this regard by the BCHR is the arrest of Muneer Habib, a 31 year old from Al-Quraifa village, whose house was raided at dawn on Tuesday 28th May 2013 by security forces in civilian clothes accompanied with police patrols. (The news of Muneer’s arrest in a local newspaper: http://www.alwasatnews.com/3927/news/read/779165/1.html (

Muneer Habib’s family said that a group of people in civilian clothes raided their house at dawn and arrested him. He was subjected to forced disappearance for four days during which time he was severely tortured in the Criminal Investigation Directorate building, and forced to confess to the false charge of being a member of Feb14 youth coalition, which is a political opposition party demanding the downfall of the regime and to change the system from a monarchy to a republic. He was then taken to the public prosecution and his detention was renewed.

The family also added that Habib told the public prosecutor, Ali Al Jazaf, that he is very exhausted from the severe torture and is suffering from severe pain in his hands and different parts of his body, including head and back. However, the public prosecutor did not pay any attention to what he said and continued the interrogation, accusing him of a number of charges (violence, possession of Molotov cocktails, riot, attacking security force members and patrols by throwing metal skewers and burning two containers).

Despite Habib denying all charges, the existence of physical evidence that there were no protests in the area the night that he was arrested, and that he was at work at the time that security forces claim that he committed the charges he was accused of, a security forces member, Lieutenant Abdulkarim, confirmed that he saw Habib do all of the things he is accused of. His lawyer said that Habib expressed his fear of being subjected to further torture to extract more confessions, but the public prosecutor told him that this won’t happen and ordered his release. However, all of the evidence in support of Habib did not help him, and a higher order came to renew his detention pending investigation to 60 days under the terrorism law.

When his family visited him, torture marks were apparent around his eyes including swelling in his right eye; Habib couldn’t walk normally. He testified that he was subjected to daily torture and was being taken to the CID for interrogation where his confessions the charges that he is leading Feb14 youth group in Al-Quraifa, Jufair, Mahooz and Manama were video recorded. Also, he was severely tortured to force him into falsely confessing the involvement of his sister, a previous political detainee, in the charge of affiliation with Feb14 youth coalition.

Muneera Sayed Habib, 27 years old, was previously arrested at dawn on Wednesday 28th November 2012 after groups of special security forces backed up by masked armed civilian militias raided her house in Al-Quraifa at 3am Manama timing (A video of Muneera Sayed Habib talking about the violations she was subjected to during her arrest http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Blk-88QjNU0). She was detained until 1st December 2012. Muneera confirmed to members of the BCHR monitoring and documentation team that she was subjected to a number of violations at the hands of security forces (The BCHR statement on Muneera’s arrest and the violations she endured http://bahrainrights.hopto.org/ar/node/5552).

The BCHR therefore demands:

  • The immediate release of Muneer Habib and have him seen by a neutral doctor to document the torture he endured
  • Putting an end to fabricating charges against him
  • Ensuring not to target Muneera Sayed Habib as the BCHR holds the government responsible for whatever happens to her in the future
 
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