The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) expresses serious concern about the Armenian authorities’ arrest of activist Fadhel Radhi Abbas to have him extradited to Bahraini authorities over politically motivated charges, which could put Fadhel at a high risk of being tortured by the Bahraini authorities.
In 2013, the authorities arbitrarily arrested Fadhel Radhi Abbas, 25, from his workplace. He was then transported to the Ministry of Interior’s Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) where he was kept in custody for a day, during which, security forces reportedly subjected him to torture. They beat him and forced him to stand for long hours. Bahraini public prosecution charged Fadhel with illegal assembly, vandalism of public vehicles, deliberately setting fire to a public property for terrorist purposes and setting an explosion for terrorist purposes. Fadhel was not allowed legal representation during the interrogation. After a few months, Fadhel was released and he and his brother Ahmed fled the country three weeks before the sentence was issued. In 2014, a Bahraini court sentenced Fadhel to seven years in prison, which based conviction of crimes on the defendant’s confessions extracted under torture.
On 2 January 2016, Fadhel and a friend travelled to Armenia, planning to go to Germany from there in order to apply for political asylum. However, Fadhel was arrested before leaving Armenian territory as a result of an international warrant issued by the INTERPOL based on a request from the Bahraini authorities. Following his detention, Fadhel is now under custody of the Armenian authorities awaiting an extradition to Bahrain.
Before his arrest, Fadhel had also gone on a trip to Thailand with other friends. On this trip, Thai authorities arrested Fadhel’s friend Ali Haroun, a Bahraini political activist Ali Haroun, and extradited him to Bahrain, following an arrest warrant that had been issued against him. Ali was violently detained and he was allegedly subjected to torture at the hands of the Bahraini authorities at Jau Central Prison. It is feared that Fadhel will face a similar treatment as his friend Ali Haroun in case he is extradited to Bahrain.
Bahrain has a proven history of abusing and torturing detainees with the acquiescence of the authorities, as Human Rights Watch warned on their November 2015 report. The BCHR urgently appeals to the international community and the Armenian authorities to release Bahraini activist Fadhel Abbas Radhi.
Based on the above, BCHR issues the following requests:
To the Government of Armenia:
-Not to comply with Bahrain’s requests to extradite Fadhel Radhi Abbas, without making sure there is a clear criminal case against him that came about through an impartial and independent judiciary that possesses capabilities to administer fair trials;
To the Government of Bahrain:
-Vacate the original convictions of Fadhel Radhi Abbas and Ahmed Abbas and properly re-conduct their criminal trial by excluding all information obtained by the commission of acts of torture, including any and all confessions found to be coerced;
-Impartially investigate all credible allegations of torture in the country, with the goal of vacating all sentences of those convicted on the basis of coerced confessions.