The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses grave concern for the extreme deterioration of human rights and security in Bahrain. On 4 July 2014, the Ministry of Interior published on its official account the death of policeman Mahmood Fareed in a bombing which the Ministry described as a terrorist act. The BCHR condemns all violence and renews its calls for commitment to peacefully demanding rights and also its calls for the Bahraini authorities to stop using excessive force in the suppression peaceful protests.
The BCHR Monitoring and Documentation Team attempted to verify the bombing, however, they were unable to reach the site of the incident as security forces surrounded the area the alleged location. Several families whose houses are located near the incident site stated that they had not heard the sounds of an explosion, and there were no traces of the explosion when the area was inspected after the security force’s siege. The Ministry has not released any photos or videos that prove that the explosion occurred, nor has it announced the age or nationality of the deceased. According to the BCHR’s sources, the deceased is a Pakistani national and his body has been returned to his country of origin for burial. Mahmood Fareed is among the thousands of foreigners brought by the government of Bahrain to work in the security forces, particularly in the units responsible for suppressing the public protests. The BCHR has documented several cases where the Ministry of Interior has released false information, including classifying the deaths of detainees due to torture as natural deaths or pre-existing health conditions like sickle cell disease. Due to this, the allegations of the bombing and resulting death can only be verified through an independent and neutral investigation committee under international supervision.
On 13 July 2014, the public prosecution announced the arrest, interrogation, and confessions of two defendants implicated in the case. The search for the other defendants is in currently in progress.
The BCHR fears that the authorities will take advantage of the alleged incident to intensify the frequency of human rights violations that include: wide-scale house raids and arbitrary arrests; the collective punishment of areas such as restricting the freedom of entry and exit of its residents; and subjecting the detainees to enforced disappearance, denying them access to a lawyer, and refusing familial visitations during a period in which they face torture as a means to extract false confessions. The BCHR has documented several similar cases where the authorities made wide scale arrests before a reasonable period of time had elapsed for carrying out an investigation of the incident.
The BCHR condemns all forms of violence, and calls on the Ministry of Interior to abandon the policy of using excessive force against peaceful citizens in the suppression of all forms of peaceful protests. The Ministry of Interior’s continued use of excessive force might drive some to resort to violence as a means of self-defence against the daily violations of the their human rights such as house raids, arbitrary arrests, and ill-treatment.
Based on the aforementioned, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls on the United States, United Kingdom, United Nations and all close allies and international institutions to apply pressure on the Bahraini authorities to:
- Respect and protect human rights, especially concerning freedom of opinion, expression and peaceful gathering;
- End the practice of employing foreigners in security units used to suppress Bahraini citizens;
- Allow citizens to practice human rights and political work without restrictions or pressure;
- Hold accountable all those implicated in human rights violations, whether through supervision and/or order and subject them to investigation.