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Bahrain: 75 days to Receive Report on Cause of Death

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The family of Abdulaziz Al-Abbar has agreed to receive his body after 130 days of anguish; 55 days while Al-Abbar was in a coma and 75 days, after his death, during which his body was detained at the Salmaniya Medical Complex’s morgue. The family announced that they plan to collect the body on 03 July 2014 and to have the burial in the evening.

On 23 February 2014, Abdulaziz Moussa Al-Abbar was shot in the head with a tear gas canister in addition to being hit with shotgun pellets as the riot police used excessive force to suppress a peaceful protest. He was in a coma for 55 days and passed away on 18 April 2014. (For more information please see: Link)

The family previously refused to collect the body because the full cause of death was not disclosed in the death certificate issued by the Bahraini Ministry of Interior. The death certificate made no mention of the shot to the head with a tear canister and shotgun pellets, but simply stated that Al-Abbar died because of internal bleeding in the brain, excluding the reason for his injuries.  

During the 75 days Al-Abbar’s body was detained, the family approached all following parties demanding a document stating the actual cause of death of Al-Abbar:

  • The Public Prosecution.
  • The Special Investigation Unit.
  • The Office of the assigned pathologist.
  • The Department of Criminal Evidence.
  • The Ministry of Interior Ombudsman
  • The National Institution for Human Rights.
  • The Office of the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health.
  • The Budaiya police station to submit a complaint on the injury that caused the death.

The family also provided a letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, and to the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navi Pillay. Furthermore, a number of lawyers and personalities worked to receive a copy of the report of the Public Prosecutor.

On 01 July 2014, Al-Abbar’s family announced that they have received an official report from the Public Prosecution Special Investigation Unit, which stated that the death of Al-Abbar “happened due to complications of splinter gunshot wounds in the face and head, the bleeding it caused in the brain, inflammatory complications, and resulting cardiac arrest which ultimately led to the death.” The father, Moussa Al-Abbar, signed the report and was able, after massive efforts, to obtain a copy. (For the report in Arabic please see: Link)

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:

  • Immediately initiate an impartial and independent investigation into the shooting of Abdulaziz Al-Abbar and all other victims of excessive force by the Bahraini police;
  • Hold all those involved accountable, particularly those holding high positions who gave the orders;
  • Immediately put an end to the continued use of excessive force against peacefully assembled protesters resulting in extrajudicial killings;
  • End the culture of impunity that allows human rights violators to continue these practices with no fear of punishment. 
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