BRAVO Releases its First Annual Report for 2012- 2013
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Mr. Abdulwahab Hussain, a prominent political leader, and a founding member of Al-Wafa’a Islamic Party, was recently taken to the Military Hospital due to a severe deterioration of his health. Days later, he was transferred back to Jaw Prison without receiving essential medical treatment. Added to this, Mr. Husain’s family members were threatened with the possibility of being detained as a result of their efforts to visit him while he was in hospital.
Mr. Hussain was detained after a nation wide crackdown on protests that began in early 2011, and continues to this day. The circumstances of his arrest included an illegal entry into his house where he was beaten in front of his family. Thereafter, Mr. Husain was tortured while in detention, deprived of sleep for many days, and was further prevented from receiving essential medical treatment.
Mr. Hussain had pre-existing medical complaints prior to his arrest resulting out of an earlier arrest during the 1990s whereby he was also subjected to torture. Consequently, he suffered from stinging in his feet and hands, numbness and difficulty of movement in the right side of his body, severe migraines, and a burning in his toes and fingers. Later, he was diagnosed as having a serious deficiency in the neuralgic system.
Mr. Hussain is currently serving a life sentence, and continues to be deprived of necessary treatment for his ailing condition. Should he continue to not receive the necessary treatment, he is potentially at risk of: paralysis, organ dysfunction, loss of sight, succumbing to his injuries.
Mr. Hussain currently suffers from the following:
The Bahrain Rehabilitation and Anti-Violence Organisation (BRAVO) are deeply concerned over the continuing deterioration of Mr. Hussain’s health and welfare. BRAVO believes that a failure to provide the prominent political leader and prisoner of conscience with the necessary medical treatment would only serve to complicate the human rights and political situation in Bahrain, and could further inflame the on going unrest. We therefore demand the following:
Since the 14th of February 2011, the Bahraini authorities have clamped down on women involved in the popular movement. Many groups in society have been subjected to excessive violence through detention, torture and arbitrary dismissal from work- while others have been subjected to unfair trials. 235 women have been detained to date, and more than 5,000 women have been subjected to dismissal, suspension from work, or have faced a reduction in their salary. The most grievous violations have been those committed behind bars.
Rihanna Al- Musawi, arrested at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) on the 10th of April 2013. Al-Musawi has been accused of 1) being involved in terrorist cases, 2) joining the February 14 Coalition Cell. During her trial, AlMousawi spoke about nature of the torture she was subjected to during which she described a scene where she was stripped of her clothes and was sexually harassed.
Zainab Al-Khawaja, arrested on 27th of February 2013 and charged with 1) entering a restricted area; 2) with participation in an illegal demonstration. On May 22, 2013, a court sentenced her to prison for 3 months after a brutal arrest during a sit-in on the 15th of December 2011. She has suffered ill treatment and harassment since her arrest and has been deprived of her visitation rights for several months.
Haleema Al-Sabagh, arrested from her workplace at Salmaniya Hospital on January 26, 2012 and charged with taking first-aid medicines for the treatment of wounded protesters. She has been detained for nearly 3 weeks in custody on charges relating to exploiting her job to take over state funds. She suffers from the effects of torture, and the authorities have refused to provide her access to adequate medical treatment.
Nadia Ali, arrested when she was three months pregnant. She has been denied adequate health care that is essential in the final trimester of a pregnancy. During her arrest she was handcuffed and beaten by security officials.
Nafessa Al-asfoor, arrested at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) on the 10th of April 2013. Rihanna, like Nafeesa Al-asfoor was charged under the new terrorism law that allows for a renewal of term every 45 days.
Please take the time to add your name to a petition calling for their release at:
1st July 2013
The EU failed to address regime-led human rights abuses in Bahrain at the 23rd Gulf Cooperation Council-European Union Join Council and Ministerial Meeting, which was held on 30th June in Manama, Bahrain.
Despite the issue of a joint statement by six prominent human rights NGOs, urging the EU to call for the release of Bahraini human rights defenders and peaceful protest leaders, the EU delegation made no mention of Bahrain during the talks, except to thank H.M. King Hamad Al-Khalifa and the people of Bahrain for “their warm welcome and hospitality”.
The omission of human rights issues from the meeting’s agenda contradicts the EU’s pledge to “place human rights at the centre of its relations with all third countries”, as outlined in its Strategic Framework on Human Rights and Democracy, published in 2012.
This document also states that the EU will strive to “throw its full weight behind advocates of liberty, democracy, and human rights throughout the world”.
However, the joint communiqué released by the EU and GCC following yesterday’s meeting suggests that the EU has neglected to throw any weight at all behind those currently serving lengthy prison terms for their participation in oppositional political activities in Bahrain.
Led by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, the delegation declined to use this year’s Joint Council as an opportunity to call for the immediate and unconditional release of the human rights defenders, Twitter activists and bloggers, and leaders of peaceful protests who have been jailed in recent months in Bahrain solely for exercising and promoting human rights.
Meanwhile, the statement issued by Human Rights Watch, Frontline Defenders and the Gulf Center for Human Rights, amongst others, notes that the “systematic crackdown by the authorities in Bahrain on human rights defenders and peaceful opposition activists has dramatically worsened in the last two years”.
In the first half of 2013 alone, multiple cases of arbitrary arrest and detention, ill treatment, unfair trials and physical assaults on human rights defenders and activists have been reported to international and non-governmental bodies.
BRAVO echoes the joint statement of the NGOs in encouraging the EU to act swiftly on its pledge to protect human rights defenders, with particular respect to Bahrain.
Furthermore, BRAVO urges the EU to act in line with the European Parliament resolution of 17th January 2013 on the human rights situation in Bahrain, which calls on EU Member States and the EU High Representative, Ms. Ashton, to “actively push for the release of the imprisoned activists” in Bahrain.
1st July 2013
A Bahrain court today acquitted two police officers of charges of torture in the wake of the country’s Pearl Revolution in March 2011.
The two police officers, Bin Hoowayel and Noora Al-Khalifa were accused of having “used force, torture, and threats” against Six Shiite doctors arrested for their respective roles in the uprising.
Both defendants denied all accusations against them.
A representative of the prosecution, Nawaf Hamza, highlighted that the court’s decision could still be appealed.
Dr. Fatima Haji, a Bahraini rheumatologist who was tortured and convicted for treating protestors tweeted her disappointment at the police officers’ double acquittal.
BRAVO urges the Bahraini authorities to hold to account and prosecute all those responsible for the abuse and torture of prisoners in Bahrain, regardless of rank or lineage.
30th June 2013
A Bahraini criminal court sentenced 17-year old high school student Ali Faisal Al-Shofa to one year in prison on 25th June, for insulting the king, Hamad al-Khalifa, on Twitter.
Al-Shofa was first arrested in a house raid on 12th March and detained for two months pending investigation.
The presiding judge, Shaikh Rashid Bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa, a member of the Bahraini ruling family, convicted Al-Shofa for posting an insulting tweet using the account @alkawarnews.
Al-Shofa denies any connection to the account.
His lawyer, Merfat Janahi, submitted evidence at trial supporting this claim, which shows that other administrators of the Twitter account continued to post content throughout the duration of Al-Shofa’s detention.
Al-Shofa’s sentence marks the latest in a series of harsh terms handed down to members of the political opposition in Bahrain, who have taken to Twitter to air their grievances with the ruling regime.
On 15th May a Bahraini court sentenced five Twitter users to one year in prison on similar charges of insulting the king.
Since June 2012, the regime has delivered collective sentences of more than 106 months of imprisonment to 12 social media users on charges relating to online freedom of expression.
Earlier this month, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights reported the abduction and incommunicado detention of Twitter user Jaffar Al-Demstani who tweeted details of the torture of his father, Ebrahim Al-Demstani, by Bahrain authorities.
BRAVO highlights that the regime-led crackdown on social media users and use of the judicial system to limit freedom of speech is a direct violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that “everyone has a right to freedom of opinion and expression”.
BRAVO calls for the immediate release of all those imprisoned on the basis of online activity, as well those detained for exercising their fundamental rights to freedom of expression and peaceful protest, both of which are guaranteed by international law.
BRAVO has received troubling reports concerning the horrific arrest of 17 year old Jaffer Al Dimistani by masked civilians during a warrantless home raid. The raid occurred merely six hours after Jaffer tweeted in despair the news that his father had refused a visit from his family in prison protesting against the authorities denying him medical treatment for his ‘slipping disc’ on the lower part of his back. According to his son, the disc was caused as a result of the severe torture that was conducted by an officer named Mubarak Bin Hwail and apart from those few sentences on twitter, the Dimistani family are unaware of the location of their son Jaffer and are fearful that he may have been subjected to ill-treatment.
The authorities have on numerous occasions prevented treatment from reaching opposition symbols behind bars including Hassan Mushaima who suffers from cancer, Abdulwahab Hussain suffering from neuron disease, Talib Ali suffering an injury to his jaw, Abdulhadi Al Mukhawder, Abdul Jaleel Al Muqdad and last but not least, Ebrahim Al Dimistani. All of the mentioned prisoners have applied officially within the appropriate procedures for treatment, only for those applications to be rejected indicating the complicity of the judiciary represented by the public prosecutor and the security services.
The strike of Ebrahim Al Dimistani came following the denial of medical treatment by his competent doctor and the refusal to provide a table and chair necessary for him to pray under his condition; where the lower part of his back is severely constrained making it extremely difficult to prostrate in prayer for five times daily.
The arrest of Jaffer Al Dimistani comes following a series of revenge campaigns against the families of prisoners of conscience and the arrests of peaceful activists attempting to raise their voices online or in the media. This is what has happened to Jaffer, who has been detained for tweets calling for the treatment of his father.
We at BRAVO express deep concerns over the continued targeting and revenge campaigns against medical staff and their families. We are also surprised at the lack of international condemnation and increasing silence despite repeated appeals from the Bahraini people.
We call on the international community and civil society, led by the High Commissioner office, the president of Human Rights council , and Member States of the United Nations to take the necessary measures for addressing the genuine plight of the Bahraini people in order to increase the pressure on the government to stop these practices.
14 June 2012 – The fate of Ahmed’s eye hung in the balance for almost 10 months alongside his childhood.
On the 12th of April 2013, 4 year old Ahmed Al Nuham was shot at close distance by police using ‘shotgun’ pellets as he was accompanying his father who was selling fish during a period lacking any security concerns. Despite the cries of the Father, police who were patrolling the village nevertheless managed to shoot and injure Ahmed directly in the eye, catching him unawares.
- The Impunity of individual perpetrators places responsibility accountability on State institutions.
Following a failed attempt to rescue Ahmed’s injured eye in Bahrain, he was transported to Saudi Arabia and then Ireland and Singapore where his damaged eye was replaced with a cosmetic alternative. Although free treatment was provided for Ahmed, authorities have evaded accountability and responsibility for the attack despite the availability of video and eyewitness evidence of the incident. Authorities have also gone further in their culture of impunity by neglecting to publish a statement of the attack, to accept responsibility and to apologise.
In addition to security personnel evading punishment for their crimes, Judicial authorities alongside the Public Prosecution have acted in a manner in which encourages State institutions to remain silent about these grave violations rather than pushing cases against them. Not only does this encourage a widespread policy of impunity, but inevitably leads to the recurrence of similar deliberate and premeditated incidents.
We at BRAVO encourage authorities to accept absolute responisbility to bring all perpetrators (principal, secondary or tertiary) to justice in order to prevent the recurrence of similar incidents. We also encourage authorities to take steps in accepting accountability for human rights violations for the protection of children, and to implement Bahrain’s obligations under the Universal Declaration, the Geneva Conventions, the Paris Convention on the Rights of the Child and all other Human Rights Covenants acceded to and ratified.
BRAVO appeals to the international community and social organisations to shed light on the severe human rights violations in Bahrain, to encourage authorities to accept responsibility for their role in those crimes, and to place pressure on Bahraini authorities to stop the ever increasing levels of official State violence.
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Sexual violence in its many forms has re-emerged as a torture technique in Bahrain. The Bahrain Independent Commission Inquiry report contains a disturbing litany of testimonies from victims of sexual violence occurring since February 2011.
Human Rights Watch had noted ongoing violations before 2010 but there has been a dramatic upsurge in rape, sodomy, sexual harassment, abuse and exploitation of detainees in recent years.
Despite numerous testimonies and the findings of the BICI report the Bahraini government denies that sexual violence occurs in their prisons and detention centers.
Bahrain is a signatory of the Convention Against Torture and should repeal laws such as Law 56, 2002, which offers impunity for those responsible.
BRAVO calls for an independent review of all claims of sexual violence against detainees in Bahrain under the auspices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
1- Sexual violence was represented as one of the methods mentioned in the testimonies of many victims of torture in Bahrain after the political events of February and March 2011. Sexual violence includes sexual abuse and rape. (1) Detainees confirmed “methods most widely used as follows: blindfolded eyes, handcuffed, being forced to stand for long periods, beating, punching, beating with rubber hoses, including on the soles feet, and cables wires and whips, metal rods and wood panels and other things, electric shocks, sleep deprivation, exposure to large differences of temperature, verbal abuse, threats of rape of the arrested person or members of his family, and insults to the religious sect to which he/she belongs (Shiites)”.
(2) This was confirmed by local associations, such as the Bahraini Association for Human Rights, which revealed that the committee of monitoring and documentation received 1374 complaints of torture and cruel treatment during the period of detention, from 13 March 2011 to June 2012. The methods used to torture detainees included beatings, threats of electric shocks, being hanged by the arms, being stood for prolonged periods, being threatened with death and deprivation of sleep or bathroom or eating or prayer. Detainees reported that they were forced to jog while blindfolded; forced to wear handcuffs in a harmful way for prolonged times; were sexually harassed and molested, and stripped of clothing. (3)
The Liberties and Human Rights Department in Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society reported that they handed to the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry about 1866 complaints from victims of torture and affirmed that “they were forcing the victims to imitate the sound of the fish or cat or chicken or donkey or insect and if the victim can not imitate some animal sounds, he will be subjected to torture. And they were forced to dance and sing as a form of torture; and some were forced to strip naked in full and forced to run in the hallways and repeatedly saying ‘I’m crazy’”. (4)
2- The act of assault or abuse of a sexual nature – including the act of sexual violence suffered by detainees – represents an issue of anathema (taboo) in the very conservative Bahraini society. That is because it represents embarrassment to the victim and his family; creating the memory of a bad physical and psychological trauma to the victim; an immoral practice that neither the victim nor his/her family can present clearly to the public.
To obtain the testimonies of the victims who have been subjected to this kind of abuse and the announcement of what happened to them is very difficult, if not almost impossible under the culture of shame and silence in the Gulf society in general; this has led to the lack of accurate statistics on this subject.
A security study conducted by Dubai police in the United Arab Emirates and included 1895 people, revealed that 90% of crimes relating to honor – are not reported, affirm that 94.4% of women do not report crimes committed against them. (5)
There are no formal studies in most countries on the prevalence of sexual abuse in prisons, and the number of people who complained about being subject to sexual harassment is few. However, few observers believe that Bahraini prisons are safe. Veteran prisoners and prison staff and human rights activists all over the world agree on that most victims of sexual assault in prisons don’t talk publicly about their experiences for fear of revenge and shame and believe that no help is available to them. (6)
3- Sexual violence as a form of torture.
Sexual violence is a form of torture whether to involve an act or threat of a sexual nature pain or suffering physical or psychological, to obtain information or a confession from the victim or to punish or intimidate the victim, and that’s “through rape or forcing the detainee to do sexual acts against his\her will, and at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting as an official “. (7)
Sexual violence takes many forms:
Rape, Sexual Abuse, Sexual Exploitation, Sexual Harassment. (8)
A. Rape or attempted rape, including infringement on any part of the body or sexual violation of the vagina or anus with any body part or a tool, and any penetration is a rape. It includes the threat of force or coercion. Attempted rape, even if it did not led to penetration is also a rape.
B. Sexual Abuse is the actual or threatened violation of a sexual nature, whether by force or coercion.
C. Sexual Exploitation or forced prostitution is actual abuse or attempted abuse of a position of weakness, or variation in power or trust for sexual purposes, including, the sexual exploitation of another person financially, socially or politically.
D. Sexual harassment is any unacceptable sexual attempt, or unwanted sexual attention or sexual contact request or sexual petting or sexual hint or other verbal or physical behavior of a sexual nature.
Sexual harassment exists if it is made as a condition for getting a job, or creates a hostile or aggressive work environment.
Sexual Violence includes marital rape, child sexual abuse, and sexual violence as a weapon of war or torture, and forced sodomy.
4- Sexual assault in prison is a form of sexual violence, which means any undesirable sexual contact, or threat by a prisoner to another, or any sexual contact by a prison staff with any prisoner, regardless of the sex of the perpetrator, or in women’s prisons or men, and may be the perpetrators are the same sex or the opposite sex.
Rape can be a tool of political repression in prisons, and in this case tacit approval is given by the government and director of the prison or the prison staff to rape victims who are considered political opponents as a form of punishment or intimidation. Regardless of the form it takes, rape is an act of violence that is being used to demonstrate the dominance and power and control. (6)
5- In order to verify the allegations of sexual violence suffered by detainees, BRAVO reviewed reports of human rights organizations, local and international, about methods of torture in Bahrain before and after February 2011 – the date of the beginning of the current turmoil in Bahrain.
BRAVO interviewed many of the victims of sexual violence, males and females, and reviewed the testimonies of witnesses, including doctors, lawyers, relatives of the victims, and individuals directly related to the victims or the circumstances of their exposure to these violations. BRAVO could not interview any of the individuals or government parties accused of crimes of sexual violence. BRAVO reviewed data and reports issued by the Government of Bahrain and organizations subordinate to it, as well as the relevant reports and in particular the report of the Bahrain Independent Commission Inquiry( BICI).
6- In its report issued in February 2010, under the title Torture Redux – Revival of Physical Coercion during Interrogations in Bahrain, Human Rights Watch described some of the methods of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in Bahrain, included rape threats and abuse of a sexual nature. The report describes the practices of abuse and sexual humiliation of two people interviewed by Human Rights Watch:
The detainee Issa Abdullah Issa says “that during the time he was being held in a room in Adliya police station blindfolded, the guards roll plastic tape around his penis, and forced him to drink a bottle of water. And every 15 to 30 minutes, the guards forced him to drink more water, Issa began feel a strong desire to urinate. Issa shouted requesting for a toilet, but they refused. Issa said he tried to urinate where he stood, but the plastic restriction prevented it. In the end, the guards moved the plastic restriction, but they did not allow him to use the toilet, so he urinated on himself in his place”.
The detainee Maytham Bader Jassim Al-Sheikh said that “he was hanged from his wrists twice. The second time, the officer said ‘Sheikh I know where did you hide the weapon’, and asked him to admit it, and when Maytham, who was blindfolded, said he did not know anything about the weapon, the officer took off Maytham’s clothes and penetrate what he believed was a stick in his anus for a few seconds. One of the officers said to him: “If you want to act like you’re a real man, we will show you how to be a real man.” (9)
7- The Human Rights Watch report “Torture Redux – Revival of Physical Coercion during Interrogations in Bahrain,” was discussed at a press conference in February 2010. Jo Stork – General Director of the Middle East and North Africa in the organization attended at the Bahrain Society of Human Rights in Bahrain, with the participation of then President of the Bahrain Society of Human Rights Abdullah Alderazi, where Stork said “the torture returned as a Tool for the security forces in Bahrain, the return of the torture is worrying at a time when Bahrain showed the political will 10 years back to put an end to this abhorrent practice “. Stork said, “It is clear that since the beginning of this century, Bahrain showed to the world that the political will can stop the torture, which was evident in the period between 2001 and 2006, as shown that there have been serious human rights issues, but not torture.” He confirmed that “these rejected practices returned when the political tensions increased in 2007, demonstrations greatly increased in the street were the young people came out to express their protest against what they claim to be discrimination practiced against them by the government, with the increasing of violent confrontations with security forces, pointing out that arrests often occurred during these demonstrations, and shows that security officers are using systematic methods and physically painful techniques to extract confessions from many of those who were arrested.” (10)
8- Mr Stork, representative of Human Rights Watch, met with many government figures including Bahraini minister of Interior Sheikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, and Undersecretary of the Ministry of Interior and Chairman of the Commission of Human Rights Ministry Brigadier Tariq bin Dinah and General Inspector of the Ministry of Interior Brigadier Ibrahim al-Ghaith, and Minister of Social Development Fatima Al Balushi. Mr Stork told officials of the necessity of accountability for those who practice torture of detainees in Bahrain; he says: “We have confirmed through the report that if any official found torturing people should be apprehended and suspended from work during the investigation; the responses were that we did not receive complaints, but we emphasize that Bahrain’s ratification of the Convention Against Torture obliges government to apprehend any person responsible if there are lawsuits and complaints about torture.” Stork also confirmed that he had informed the minister about allegations of torture.
But the minister denied the existence of such torture, and returned and confirmed that there would be re-investigation again to verify the allegations.
Stork confirmed that torture is a crime, and the importance of international prosecution, especially with the presence of complaints about torture by the government, stressing the importance of raising these issues then at an international level. (10)
9- Commenting on the press conference above held by Human Rights Watch, the Undersecretary of Ministry of Interior and Chairman of the Commission of Human Rights in the Ministry Brigadier Tariq bin Dinah “The report lacked objectivity and neutrality and a single side view by basing on the statements of a limited number of well-known
personalities in opposition to political openness and reform movement adopted by the Kingdom and not to participate in it.” and added that “the provisions report may not be right, and that there are no torture of any person who is arrested for allegedly pending any issue, and that the allegations repeated by people on this subject are unfounded and based only on hearsay, the goal behind it is questioning the legal action taken by the security forces to confront the outlaws, and provide cover for their crimes and help them with impunity.” Stressing “the absence of any cases of torture or physical coercion in the Kingdom”. (10)
This denial confirms what Interior Minister Bahraini Brigadier Tariq bin Dinah and General Inspector Brigadier Ibrahim Al Ghaith said about the occurrence of torture when they met with members of Human Rights Watch before publication of its report, where “officials denied the occurrence of torture in the cases documented in the report and claimed that the consistency of accounts of abuse reflect the fact that individuals who met by human Rights Watch were imprisoned together and defended by the same group of lawyers. They stated the opinion that the consistency of allegations of abuse among prisoners is proof that it claims were fabricated. Officials said the former detainees who claimed exposure to abuses were trying to provoke a kind of political sympathy. However officials themselves acknowledged that “abuse of detainees was a problem in the past”, a reference to the period prior to Sheikh Hamad taking the crown in 1999, but they said that the Interior Ministry now had an adequate system in place to investigate allegations of torture and ill-treatment. One official said: “abuse occurred, but we are serious in pursuing the torturers”. (11)
10- BRAVO checked the testimonies of seventeen (17) victims of sexual violence for the period after the issuance of the report of the Bahrain Independent Commission Inquiry and specifically between May2012 and August 2012, and documented by the Liberties and Human Rights Department in Al-Wefaq. (12) BRAVO has proceeded strictly between these testimonies and those in the report of the Bahrain Independent Commission Inquiry of sexual violence on victims of torture contained in Annex II of the summaries of testimonies of torture. (13)
11- According to the brother of one of the detainee, quoting his detained brother (Twenty-six year old) – after his visit at the Dry Dock prison, that his brother was arrested on June 12, 2012 from his home by civilians and masked military to Criminal Investigation building where he was threatened “to enter a bottle in his anus and rape his sister” if he denied the charges against him in front of the Public Prosecutor. (14) This testimony is similar to that of another (case number eight) victim of torture contained in the report of the BICI: “The masked guards were insulting and beating him on the head and hands, causing swelling of his body.
Also entered a stick by force in his anus” and “when he asked the hospital staff to make the handcuffs a little bet loose they refused to do so. And security personnel in the hospital threatened him with sexual assault and death. He was threatened with assault of his wife and daughter sexually”. (15) This was repeated in the (case number eighteen) testimony where “a hose entered in his buttock twice”. (16) And confirmed by the testimony of (case number seven), he was “subjected to verbal abuse and sexual harassment by entering a finger in the anus”. (17) And confirmed by testimony (case number eleven) he “felt that someone put his finger in his anus”. (18) Also one of the detainees suffered when “part of a gun was inserted in the anus”, as stated in the testimony of the (case number Fifty two) in the same report. (19)
12- Bahrain Center for Human Rights special report on torture and abuse of detainees in the case of what is known as the Alliance of the Republic – contains testimony of detainee Mohammed Hassan Jawad Parweez: “We stayed for 15 days in the castle’s prisons … and I was sexually harassed and they tried to take my clothes off and enter a stick in my buttock) but I strongly resisted and for this reason I was severely beaten”. (20)
13- Sexual violence was a way to extract confessions from detainees, as stated in the testimony of (case number nineteen) victims of torture contained in the BICI report; “security forces forced the detainee to undress and pushed a hose into his anus until he confessed and signed the confession”. (21)
Again the sexual violence was a way of continued psychological pressure on the detainee (case number fifty) mentioned at the same report, where he was threatened for a period of 13 days “to put a pen in his anus”. (22)
14- A nineteen year old detained reported that guards insulted his mother with immoral words like (bitch), before being taken to the Hamad Town police station on 16 June 2012, where he was threatened with rape by an officer. (23) This facts are similar to the testimony of the (Case number eighteen), victims of torture contained in the BICI report ” the police officers insulted my arrested father, and called him ‘son of a bitch’ and threatened to rape my mother”; (16) and confirmed by testimony of the (Case number seven), who cited “exposure to verbal abuse and threats with the following words ‘your daughter is being raped from her Buttock, and we’ll start doing the same from the front’ and ‘you are a son of a bitch, you do not deserve to live’ .. Also threatened with rape and he was subject to sexually explicit comments about his wife and daughter”. (17)
15- According to another victim, a fifteen year old boy, who was subject to physical and psychological torture in open field in front of youth hostels in Sanabis on 25 June 2012, where he was arrested and released without being taken to a police station. He pointed out that one of the officers tightened his hands around the boy’s neck and bite his tongue, while he was threatened by another officer to electrocute and rape him; where they took off his pants and took photos while he was like that. (24) A similar testimony from another victim (Case number twelve) contained in the BICI report “the suspended was arrest at his home, and they took off his clothes, he tried to cover his genitals and buttocks, then they transferred him to Alqareen prison where he was continuously tortured, they forced him to strip naked and bend to a hose facing the anal area repeatedly”. (25) The (Case number eighteen) repeated the same testimony in the report, where the detainee said: “they opened the buttons of my pants and ordered him to jump like a bunny, until my pants fell” and “He was stripped of his clothes and hanged in a way similar to the swing”. (16)
16- A sixteen year old detainee confirmed that he was arrested on June 21 2012, by civilian forces while he was involved in a peaceful march. Where he was beaten severely, while lying on the ground before being left to the security forces. They took him in a car, and continued beating and sexually harassing him through touching and feeling his sensitive places all the way, until their arrival at the Noaim police station. (26) A very similar situation came in the testimony of (Case number eight) of victims of torture contained in the BICI report: “May 8, A detainee was subjected to verbal abuse and sexual harassment in the car on the way to the court”. (15) And the testimony was repeated by the (Case number sixteen) on the above report where “officials were often put their hands on sensitive areas of his body”. (27) After being transferred from Noaim police station to Gudaibiya police station “the suspended was forced to bend forward while they touch the anal regions” as stated in the testimony of the (Case number fifty two) in the same report. (19)
17- According to a sixteen year old detainee, he was arrested on 14 June 2012 with others from a house in Diraz village, after breaking in the house by security forces after a peaceful march. During his arrest he was beaten and sexual harassed, by touching his sensitive areas. Then he was questioned in Budaiya police station before being transferred to the Hamad town station, and then to Dry Dock prison. He was released after fifteen days. (28) In the same context came in the testimony of (Case number eighteen), victims of torture contained in the report of the Bahrain Independent Commission Inquiry; “Once they tied a wire around his penis and pulled it.” (16) The same story is repeated in the testimony of another victim (Case number thirteen) in the BICI report “He was subjected to touching his buttock more than once”. (29)
18- A twenty four years old detainee said that he was detained for hours, on 7 July 2012, when he was running to avoid being run over by police car while he was walking to his apartment. Then three of the security forces started kicking and punching him, before being transferred to the police car, they continued to beat him with batons until they arrived to an open area with police cars parked in it, where he was sexually harassed by feeling parts of his body and threatened with rape. Then he was transferred to Alkhamees police station, where he was questioned and beaten. And then they allowed him to call his family to be released after signing the investigation record. (30) This method of sexual torture in open spaces mentioned in the testimony of the (Case number twenty five), victims of torture contained in the BICI report;”they took him to an open area near his village, where he saw thirty individuals riot police in police cars. Then they began to beat and torture him, and sexually assault him”. (31)
19- A man in his mid-thirties said that he was on his way to his village, Alblad Alqadeem, with a group of individuals on June 23, 2012, after participating in a licensed march held by Bahraini opposition associations. About fifty members of police approached them near Sheikh Aziz mosque; the people split up and he remained alone where he could not run. The police arrested and blindfolded him. They started cursing him and cursing his family and his doctrine, and beat him on the head and his joints and back. They also harassed him and threatened by rape and kill him; then one of the officers put a shotgun at his head and his mouth. They stole his glasses and rings from his hand. After about three hours, he was transferred to Alkhaees police station, for interrogation, and then they released him. (32)
Another victim tells of threats of sexual assault (Case number twenty two), BICI report, forcing a detainee to confess; “After half an hour of severe beatings, and after threatening him with sexual assault and electrocution”; threats of sexual assault on one of his family members, where they “asked whether he had brothers or sisters, and when his response was affirmative, they threatened him by raping his family”. (33) Which was confirmed by (Case number fourteen) in the same report, where they threatened the detainee with “sexually assaulting his wife and daughter if he did not respond to their questions in an affirmative answer”. (34) This is the same method that has been practiced on another detainee. He “received threats to himself and his family, including sexual threats” as shown in the report of the Bahrain Independent Commission Inquiry, (Case number forty six). (35)
20- One of the detainees (eighteen years old) reported that he was arrested on June 25, 2012. After a breaking into his home, and then his bedroom, and directing shotgun to his head he was handcuffed and pulled out of the house, to be transferred to Hamad Town police station. The officers denied the presence of the detainee in the station when his parents asked about him later. He added that he had been tortured by the police and was also threatened with sexual assault in order to extract confessions from him. (36) Similarly in the case of Jawad Ali Kadhim Shamlan – (Case number thirty four) of the Proceedings of murder at the hands of security forces in Bahrain – contained in the BICI report; that his relatives “contacted Alkhamees Police Station, but they were told that he did not come. Then one of the relatives who had worked there before called the same police station to check on Jawad, but he was informed that the department does not know anything about him”. Later “One of the relatives, a girl, contacted the Police Department again, and called Jawad’s mobile phone, the person who responded told her that they killed him, then he threatened her with sexual harassment, she screamed and ended the call, but the person who was on the phone called again and continued to harass her”. (37)
21- A seventeen years old young man said; “on July 12, 2012 and while he was with a group of young people joining a peaceful demonstration in Barbar village near the home of the Japanese ambassador. The riot police fired on them tear gas, rubber bullets and shotgun, where he was injured and carried by his young friends to a nearby farm, were the police surrounded the place and arrested us. Then the officer in charge ordered the police to kick and hit us and remove our clothes, and then they used the electrical zapper and hit us with wooden boards, and extinguishing cigarettes in sensitive areas and harass us while we were naked. After nearly two and a half hours, they directed the weapon to our heads and threatened to kill and rape us and our mothers, then they left us naked semi-buried in the sand.” (38)
A very similar story came in the testimony of the (Case number five), of victims of torture contained in the BICI report, where he was detained “the police officers sexually assaulted him, and he was forced to strip naked and walk in front of other detainees”. (39)
Harassment and torture in sensitive areas is repeated, as stated in the testimony of (Case number thirty two), of torture victims in the same report, “they beaten his genitals where he urinate blood immediately afterwards”. (40)
As presented by another detainee “I was electrocuted every half an hour or 40 minutes on my shoulders, arms, nipples and testicles causing me a lot of pain”. As in the testimony of another victim (Case number forty four), of the victims of torture contained in the BICI report. (41) Electrical sexual torture forced some detainees to confess to things that they did not commit, as stated in the testimony of the (Case number fifty seven) on the same report, where he fainted after an electric shock in his genitals, and “when he woke up, he heard an officer ordering others to use electricity shocks again in the same area, the suspended asked the officer to write any confessions he wants to sign it, and that’s what happened”. (42)
The detainee Mohammed Ali Ismail, a teacher confirmed the same act in his testimony. He says: “In Dry Dock Prison I met detainee Ahmed Almagabi and learned from him that he had been subjected to electric shocks in his genitals”. (43)
22- A young man aged eighteen years confirmed that after taking part in a peaceful march in Janoosan village on July 12, 2012, he and two others were tortured by masked security forces after they raided the area, the young men tried to escape in a nearby farm but they were tortured there.
The masked men tore their clothes and kept them naked. They then beat them on their faces (especially the ear area), heads, abdomens, and backs using their weapons and wooden panels and forcibly fed them the mud on the ground. They electrocuted their necks and lower-backs using a small hand-held electrical device. After that the masked men insulted them and took pictures of them while they were naked and forced them to raise the victory sign. (44)
This tendency to force detainees to strip off their clothes was one of the methods seen in the testimony of (case number thirty), victims of torture contained in the report of the Bahraini Independent Commission of Inquiry. Where the detainee saw a “journalists forced to strip naked”. (45) Perhaps the way in which the political activist and Islamic figure Mohammed Habib al-Miqdad was arrested made it clear that the security forces enjoy the act of humiliating the detainees. Al-Miqdad’s clothes were forcibly removed by the security forces, who then proceeded to direct strikes at him while he was naked and defenseless. (43) He was tormented in the same way again in the detention camp, where he was put under some of the harshest methods of torment and humiliation during his time in the National Security Agency “The Castle”. Al-Miqdad stated: “They fully removed my clothes and forced me to take a kneeling position”. (43)
23- Another young man in the age of eighteen said, after security forces suppressed a peaceful march he was joining, he ran with three others to a farm, security forces fired on them shotgun and arrested them when they went to a close place. Then the security forces proceeded to tear their clothes, they were completely naked and started cursing and beating them and they sing and say; “We are the Special Forces.” They continued this acts for a long time. Then they decided to keep them facing the wall, and ordered them not to move until they came back again. They went away and did not come back to them. (46) Security forces would request from the detainee “forced to imitate animal sounds”. As stated in the testimony of the (Case number fifty seven) of victims of torture contained in the report of the Bahrain Independent Commission Inquiry. (42)
24- According to a young man in his twenties, while he was accompanied by his friends in the car and after passing by the checkpoint near the Alhantor restaurant, the police officers stopped and asked them to get off the vehicle, and then they proceeded to insult and search them, and beaten them on the head and legs. After that they put their clothes on their faces and forced them to entre the police car, where they harassed them by touching their sensitive areas. (47)
25- Two young men in their mid-twenties said, on 22 July 2012, while they were sitting with a group of young people – as they used to do every night – near by a neighbour’s home in Saar village, security cars stopped, the forces started to assault and beat them – which caused some minor injuries; and threats of rape. Then they sprayed incendiary materials in their eyes before leaving. (48)
26- Sexual torture was one of the most virulent ways to abuse detainees’ dignity, as well as “smashing their soul”, which was exploited by tormentors. In this context, the detainee Abdul Hadi al-Khawaja, a prominent human rights activist said: “I was asked to record a letter of apology to the king, and when refused, I was taken to another room blindfolded, where four people molestation me, I managed to escape and fell to the ground where I hit my head with it several times until I fainted, and after that I felt I am in the car taking me back to the prison, in a deplorable state”. (43)
27- Not only male detainees were subject to sexual abuse, these violations happened to women detainees as well. “Ayat Alqurmozi was detained for 15 days, a student read poetry during protests in February. She suffered during these days from being punched and kicked, electric shocks on her face, and she was forced to stay standing for hours. And subjected to humiliation, insults and threatened with rape”. (49)
28 – Physicians also suffered from those infringements and sexual abuse. Doctor Fatima Haji, a specialist in Internal Medicine and rheumatology at Salmaniya Medical Complex (SMC), on the third day of her interrogation in the criminal investigation department in Bahrain during April 2011, the officer Noura Al Khalifa told her that they will take her to the officer in charge – Director – of investigations there. And when he saw the doctor he started to assault her, then he came near her and threatened to hang her from the nipples of her breasts after undressing her, and will order one of the men there to rape her. Haji said to him: “Tell me how many times do you want me to say, and I will”. (50) Doctor Zahra Al-Sammak confirmed, a consultant and Head of Anesthesiology Department at Salmaniya Medical Complex, and one of the doctors within what is known as the medical staff case in Bahrain – The Investigator – a woman – slapped Al-Sammak on the face during her interrogation in the criminal investigations building in Bahrain during April 2011. “She told me that she will take me to someone knows how to make me confess. Then took me into a room, where I heard a group of people talking and laughing.
One of them said to me immediately: “Here we do not differentiate between men and women and we can interrogate you continuously for 48 hours until you confess. Then the investigator slapped me with her both hands together very strongly twice, I was forced to stand blindfolded, and they started mocking my husband (a physician detainee also in the same period and still a detainee) and me, and called me whore and a daughter of a bitch”. (51)
Roula al-Saffar, president of the Bahrain Nursing Society, told Human Rights Watch: “they tied my hands and my eyes were blindfolded. And I have been interrogated for seven days. They used an electric shock device in my face and my head, and they told me: we will rape you”. (52)
29- Another testimony of a detained victim in the national safety period, (Case number twenty seven), of the victims of torture contained in the report of the Bahrain Independent Commission Inquiry, states that he was wounded in the thigh after they were attacked by riot police – where he was among the protesters in Sitra on March 15, 2011. He transferred by ambulance. “But the police stopped the car on the way to the hospital. The police asked the medical staff and the wounded to leave the car, and fired on the tires using shotgun and hit the driver on the neck with a gun. And threatened the doctor to rape her, but they left her after they discovered that she is a Sunni”. (53)
30- These violations and sexual abuse of detention were also a feature of the torture in the past. (before the so-called Reform project by Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa). Bahrain Human Rights Society organized an event with the cooperation of Arab Commission for Human Rights for women (mothers, wives and daughters of martyrs, prisoners and victims of torture). Bahraini human rights activists like Abdulnabi AlEkri and Sabeka AlNajjar, head of the Human Rights Society of Bahrain at the time attended the workshop. Also Haytham Manna, spokesman for the Arab Commission for Human Rights attended. During this event several women expressed what they have been through including torture and sexual abuse. Ramla Jawad said of former Colonel Adel Fleifel: “Fleifel slapped my face constantly until blood come from my nose and my ears and my mouth. And hang me in the door and often upside down. He enjoyed insulting my hejab and threatened me with rape daily”. Zahra Hilal said Fleifel himself was torturing her “He beat me constantly until I could not hear and broke my teeth; I went on strike for food and water. They took me to my husband to ask him if he knows me, he fall unconscious from the shock and transfer to the castle hospital.
I have been taken to the investigating judge to sign the piles of ready charges or they will return to torture, I was on hospital bed when I signed after they brought my husband to asks me to confess, after they told him that I am dying, and they threatened to take off my clothes and rape me, and cut my hair”. (54)
31- Relatives of the detainees also suffered from sexual abuse, either indirectly as stated in paragraphs mentioned above through the threat the detainees of sexual abuse to their parents or rape, or telling them that its already happen, as stated in the testimony of the detainee Abdul Hadi al-Khawaja, where he says: “I had a surgery on April 9, and stayed there for six days and I was blindfolded and my hands were tied to the bed. Staff of national security use to come in the middle of the night and use obscene words and threaten me that I will face further beating and fractions when I leave the hospital. And my daughter was sexually assaulted and detained in Saudi Arabia”. (43) Or relatives of the detainees subjected to sexual abuse directly and bluntly, especially during the arrest of detainees from their homes. The social activist Salah Al-Khawaja said during his arrest at his home on 20 March 2012, at two after midnight “they took my wife in a room where they removed her hejab, kicked and beaten with fists and harassed”. (43)
32- The Bahrain Independent Commission Inquiry report listed a number of cases of women sexual abuse, especially when the forces come to their homes to catch the husbands or one of their relatives in their own homes where “ladies asked to stand in pajamas and did not allow them to cover their bodies, causing them embarrassment and humiliation on background religious beliefs”. (55) This abuse of women is repeated, one of the women who’s husband was arrested reported the following; ” it was one and a half in the morning, when about six to eight men broken into the house, all masked, one of them remained in the living room because one of my kids were asleep on the couch, while others entered the bedroom. I was wearing a nightwear they did not allow me to wear my clothes, or even cover my chest by my hand”. (56) This abuse were frequent in testimonies of number of women who said “at the time of arrest, they were in bed wearing pajamas, and not allowed to cover themselves when security forces break into the place and searched the rooms, and two women confirmed that they received instructions to keep their hands down when they tried to cover themselves”. (57)
33- No serious or effective action is taken to punish accused of such violations, which often happen and still happening in the detention centers were officers in charge oversees, which made it easy to repeat and spread those despicable acts, and let the perpetrator escape punishment, especially with the existence of laws to cover and protect the offender from punishment.
After the launch of the reform project by the King of Bahrain in 2001, a decree law No. 56 of year 2002 was “the greatest constraint to the democratic transition. And equated the victim and the executioner” as the General Secretary of the Association of Bahrain Human Rights Abdullah AlDerazi said in March 2009. (58) Attempts by Democrats in the Bahraini Parliament 2002 – failed to drop this law. President and First Deputy Speaker of Parliament Abdul Hadi Marhon requested the President of the House of Representatives Khalifa Dhahrani, to refers Legislative Decree No. 56 of 2002 to the Constitutional Court to appeal against the constitutionality of the law. (59) Violations continue beyond February 2011, forcing Bahrain Independent Commission Inquiry report to say: “The lack of accountability of officials in the security system has led to the rule of the culture of impunity, where the Commission noted a number of witness statements indicates that those involved in the abuse, were putting the detainees always in a sense where that they could get away with it”. (60)
34- In specific cases, when detainees talked about being tortured sexually in front of the judge in court, the judge ignored. In Abdul Hadi al-Khawaja’s case, where “the judge dismissed Abdul Hadi al-Khawaja, when he said to the judge that he suffered from threats and attempts of sexual abuse. (43)
35- In order to demonstrate the seriousness of the government in fighting against torture this time, they embarked on a number of steps, General Attorney Dr Ali bin Fadhel Al- Buainain decided to take a range of actions that will complete investigations by using international and regional standards on human rights and criminal justice. The first step was the establishment of a special unit within the Public Prosecution under the chairmanship of Mr. Nawaf Abdullah Hamza, to examine all investigations and complaints and reports on the deaths and torture and serious violations of human rights that occurred in February-March 2011. (61) In this regard, on July 31, 2012; a follow-up implementation unit of the recommendations of the report of the BICI issued a report on the latest progress of what has been implemented on the recommendations of the commission in Arabic, English and French. The first section allocated of what has been done in the accountability and punishment the perpetrators of violations. (62) According to this report, “the members of the unit received special training on mechanisms of effective Investigation in accordance with Istanbul protocol principles, and then the unit started directly working on the one hundred and twenty-two cases which referred to it last February by Interior Ministry and National Security Apparatus.
Also they received directly forty five complaints. The unit immediately after receiving the complaints classifieds them, and included thirteen complaints to other complaints for the unit of the subject and charge. Then the unit proceeded to question complainants, one hundred and twenty six of them were asked in order to reach the people involved. And fifty of them were referred to the forensic doctor for a medical check on them and indicate their injuries as reasons and timing of their occurrence. Seventy seven of the defendants were questioned directly and at all levels of responsibility and the investigations resulted in to charge twenty one of them, some were officers at the most senior rank was a colonel.
As a result of these investigations thirteen cases transferred to courts, including all murder cases, which were referred to the unit of the Ministry of the Interior and the National Security Apparatus. They have been fully investigated again in accordance with the international standards of the Istanbul Protocol principles. Accordingly, courts have ruled already in three cases sentenced three police officers for assaulting the integrity of the body of others resulting in death, and the rest of the cases still pending in courts. (62)
36- Mr. Nawaf Abdullah Hamza, head of the special investigation unit in the Public Prosecution, mentioned in consecutive permits the efforts undertaken by this unit in the investigation and disposition of complaints of torture and ill-treatment in Bahrain. In his statement on 4 June 2012, Hamza said that the unit is still “investigation of new complaints is continuing, which reached thirty seven complaints as well as the one hundred and twenty two cases that were referred to it last April by Ministry of Interior and National Security”. And added that “eight of the defendants were questioned and charged” in May 2012. “Two policemen were referred to the court in two separate cases. The unit has investigated the two cases in advance and charged the officers with assault on the safety of the body and the court sentenced them to 3 months in prison for both, moreover, the Public Prosecution referred six cases to the court at the end of last week. Following extensive investigations conducted by the Special Unit, these six trials will begin within the next few weeks”. (63) On December 10 2012, the head of the investigative unit referred five cases to the court, for eight policemen, including a first lieutenant on charges of using torture to force the detainees to confess, making a permanent disability, insulting, and Beating. The trials did not begin yet. (64)
37- Bahraini judiciary issued a judgment of acquittal to security men accused of torture and murder after referring the case from the Special Investigation Unit. On 27 September / September 2012, the third High Criminal Court acquitted two policemen of killing of Ali Al-Moamen and Isa Abdul Hassan, who were killed during the events in Bahrain in February 2011.
The court justified the verdict, as “provided insufficient evidence, not rest assured proven incident, and cast doubt on the evidence submitted by Public Prosecution”. (65)
In the case of journalist Nazeeha Saeed, the High Criminal Court acquitted an officer policewoman of torturing the journalist, the court said in the ruling, “in the process of estimating grounds accusation made by the public prosecutor as evidence of the committing accused crime and represented by the two Prosecution witness sayings, does not live up to reassurance and contentment of the court, and does not rise to the level of deemed proof because it is shrouded by doubts and suspicion and the assumptions that do not satisfy of the Court.” The court closed by saying: “there was no certain and reliable evidence. The accused was acquitted of the charges against her”.
The case began with a statement of Nawaf Hamza, head of the Special Investigation in the Public Prosecution saying that a police officer was referred to the Minor criminal Court with charges of assaulting Nazeeha Saeed, and the court ruled later that this case is not within their competence, and referred it to the public prosecution to take their actions in given that the incident constitutes a felony use of torture and force and threats of the victim to get a confession. Hamza referred the case to the High Criminal Court judgment accused on charges of being a public servant at the Ministry of Interior used force with the victim to get her to confess a crime by beating her and caused injuries described the medical report. (66)
38- Mr. Nawaf Abdullah Hamza, head of the Special Investigation in the Public Prosecution focused in his statement on 10 December 2012, on efforts to investigate allegations of torture of detainees in regard to the investigation of two cases; preoccupied public opinion and human rights organizations, the medical staff case and the alliance for Republic case. He said: “a team of investigators went on October 23 last year to the reform and rehabilitation department in (Jaw prison) to question the 12 convicted in the case of the plot, to find out if they have there complaints about torture or ill-treatment during the investigation and arrest, however, they refused to testify in this matter if their lawyers not present, and therefore determined another date on 20 November 2012, and the team of investigators went to the prison where they listened to them in the presence of their lawyers, some of them refused to make any statements concerning allegations of abuse, while others referenced in this regard to the report of the Bahrain Independent Commission and proven records of court hearings, as the unit summoned one of the convicted who carried out the punishment for the same purpose but he did not represent to be heard in this regard”. (64) In December 2012, “the third minor Criminal court acquitted three security forces were accused of assaulting Mohammed Habib al-Miqdad during his arrest, the court said the reasons for judgment that the attack on the victim was mandated by law to a power of arrest in the event of resistance and fear of exposure of security men to damage, and the Court noted that the law allowed them to use weapons while in the incident perspective they used a stick.
In case of necessity the criminal responsibility for the attack on the victim was right mandated by law. Miqdad is one of the sentenced in the case of the “plot” as Mr. Nawaf Hamza called it. (67)
39- Regarding the investigation of allegations of torture of detainees in the medical staff case, Mr. Nawaf Abdullah Hamza, head of the Special Investigation noted in several permits and in the context of the completion of investigations into allegations of torture and ill-treatment that “prosecutors ended questioning fourteen of complainants, and fifteen of the witnesses, then questioned seventeen of the defendants (employees of the public security forces), including seven officers and charged by the unit a variety of charges, including using of force and threatening to force the defendant to confess, substance 75/4, 208/1 of the Penal Code ; A misdemeanor assault on the safety body, article 339 of the Penal Code, and a misdemeanor defamatory, article 365 of the Penal Code. Two police officers referred to the prosecution of the High Criminal Court (man and woman), where attributed to the first defendant felony of using torture, force and the threat of himself, with four of the defendants to get them to confess the crime, as quoted by the Public Prosecution to accused the second with the charge of using force to make the defendants confess, and asked to punish her with article 75/4, 208 / 1 of the Penal Code. The court set the date 10.01.2012 for the consideration of the case. (68)
The same day the “appeals court (October 1, 2012) affirmed prison sentences against 9 of the medical staff members, after refusing the appeals and affirmed the previous ruling condemning 9 physicians : Ali Al-Ekri (imprisonment of five years), Ibrahim Al-Dimistani (imprisonment of three years), Ghassan Dhaif and Saeed Al-Samahiji (imprisonment of one year), Mahmoud Asghar (imprisonment of 6 months), Dhiyaa Ibrahim (imprisonment for two months). While Bassem Dhaif, Nader Diwani and Abdul Khaliq Al-Oraibi appeals in judgment against them by imprisonment for one month they spent in detention, demanding acquittal o the charges, but the court rejected the appeals. Which means that six of the doctors sentenced to a final sentence, as the Court upheld the conviction of the three doctors who have completed their sentences, “on the same day” the third High Criminal Court began to consider the issue of torturing 6 members of the medical staff by a man officer and women officer? The court has set October 18, 2012 as the date to inform of the defendants, and permission to the lawyers for civil claimants the right to a copy of the lawsuit papers, and provide a list of civil right. The public prosecutor charged the officer in the month of March / April 2011, and as a public servant (officer), by use of torture and force and the threat of himself, and by others, with Mr. Marhon Al-wadaai, Ahmed Omran, Ghassan Dhaif and Bassem Dhaif. (69)
So also the two doctors Zahra Al-Samak and Khulod Al-Derazi.
40- The medical staff members were surprised by excluding most of them in the case and not including their complaints to the case papers, although they had been tortured in the same places and conditions as the fellow six medical staff who included their complaints to the case, without showing prosecution and the Special Investigation unit the reason for it in violation of what came in the report of the Bahrain Commission of Inquiry of exposure tortured by mentioning their cases within the victims of torture. This is what forced Mr. Nawaf Hamza, head of the Special Investigation unit in his statement on 10 December 2012, to say: ” the Special Investigation unit summoned all complainants who did not submit a complaint to the unit in the cases of medical staff to question them at the same Ordinance, fifteen of them came they were questioned, while fifteen others did not show, while a lawyer attended as a representative for two of the defendants to declare the rejection of his clients to attend and testify”. (64)
Some members of the medical staff have preempted this statement to the Chairman of the Special Unit asking for a neutral commission of inquiry independent of the public prosecution, which is biased against them. The President of the Nursing Society Roula Al-Saffar and (ear, nose and throat) consultant Nabil Tammam, and (pediatric and neonatal and asthma) consultant Nader Diwani, members of the medical staff who had been tortured, asked for neutral commission to investigate complaints of torture, after abstention from appearing at the Public Prosecution, after that had been scheduled to check into complaints. Al-Saffar “pointed out that the insistence by some of the medical staff on the presence of a neutral committee to investigate complaints of torture, is to avoid repeating what happened with journalistic Nazeeha Saeed, because in her case despite the evidence of being tortured; the offender has been acquitted”. Noting that “the absence of the commission of inquiry is the reason”, and stressing that “we will continue to refrain from attending until a neutral committee investigates the complaints of torture suffered by the medical staff during the period of detention”. (70)
41- Going back to the report done on follow-up implementation of the recommendations of the report of the Bahrain Independent Commission Inquiry unit on what has been implemented on the recommendations of the committee on July 31, 2012 – referred to in paragraph 36 above – devoted the first section for what has been done re accountability and punishment of the perpetrators, we see that the investigation and its consequences is not effective, and can not live up to the international standards, as stated in its intended objective of establishment of the unit. (Which is to accountability and punishment of the perpetrators).
Among the 180 cases cited in the report above (122 cases referred from the Interior Ministry and National Security, 45 complaints directly to the unit, 13 complaints combined (unified subject and charge) by the unit), and 50 complainants (40%) referred to the forensic doctor out of 126 complainants questioned, and charges 21 accused (27%) out of 77 interrogated accused, one of them was an officer and a colonel.
13 cases were referred (7%) to the courts of the total 180 cases and complaints received by the unit, and courts have ruled in three cases (23%) of the total 13 cases referred. 3 of the police were convicted of imprisonment on charges of assault on the safety of the body of others resulting death. (62)
When following-up with, Mr. Nawaf Abdullah Hamza’s statements, head of the Special Investigation unit, we find that out of 159 complaints during the month of May 2012, they questioned 8 accused only (2%) and charged them as a result of those complaints, and referred 8 cases only to the court through same period. Where the Court considered two of them, for two policemen accused of assaulting the integrity of the body of others, sentenced for three months in prison for both of them. The trials did not begin in the other six cases. (63)
42- Observers of the judicial rulings issued by the Bahraini judiciary on the events in February and March 2011 noticed the wide gap and disparity and strangeness of those provisions. Harsh sentences were passed in a record period condemning hundreds of civilians, including members of medical staff, some serving sentences for years. The judiciary has ruled acquittals against members of the police accused of killing or torturing civilians.
The Bahrain commission , BICI, explained their cases in detail within the cases of death or cases of torture victims, and demanded accountability of officials in the security system for such violations, saying that “the lack of accountability of the officials in the security system has led to a culture of impunity “where” the Commission noted a number of witness statements indicate that those involved in the abuse, were giving the detainees a sense that they could get away without punishment”. (60)
This was confirmed in the judgments of acquittal security men accused of killing Ali Al-Moamen and Isa Abdul Hassan, who were killed during the events in Bahrain in February 2011. (65) As well as the innocence of a female police officer accused of torturing the journalist Nazeeha Saeed. (66) And the innocence of three members of the security forces accused of torturing and assaulting Mohammad Habib al-Meqdad during his arrest. (67) As well as the reluctance to questioning and trial of torturing members of the medical staff, and the lack of transparency and the independence of the Special Unit of the Public Prosecution charged with examining all investigations and complaints and reports on the deaths, torture and gross violations of human rights that occurred in February-March 2011, events.
1- Sexual violence was one of practices that were pursued by the authorities in Bahrain against political detainees before and after February 14, 2012, and continued repeatedly despite confirmation of the authority in Bahrain that it’s full commitment to the implementation of the Bahrain Independent Commission Inquiry, which indicated to those excesses in many of the cases.
2- Testimonies and reports of human rights organizations both domestic and international confirmed the continuing and spread of sexual abuse (sexual violence) against most detainees and the same methods after Bahrain’s commitment to implementing the recommendations of the report of BICI ; a confirmation of the approach that had prevailed in Bahrain before the report.
3- BRAVO confirmed that fourteen detainees out of seventeen – has been verified from the circumstances of their arrest – experienced sexual torture, after Bahrain’s commitment to implementing the recommendations of the report of the Bahrain Independent Commission Inquiry. This is identical to the frequency of sexual torture in form and substance in the thirty six cases out of sixty, of torture victims contained in the report of the commission.
4- Sexual violence suffered by the detainees represents patterns of sexual abuse, humiliating and degrading included:
a. Threats to rape the detainee or actually raping.
b. Threat of harassment or raping relatives: such as threats of raping sister of the detainee or his wife or daughters or his mother.
c. Threats, harassment or rape to the anus: the threat of insertion a bottle or pen in the anus, sexual harassment in the anus, or actually entering tools in the anus such as the insertion of a finger, stick, hose or the upper part of the gun.
d. Verbal abuse of sexual connotations: cursing the detainee and his relatives, like his mother with obscene words like (son of bitch), explicit sexual comments about the wife or daughters.
e. Stripping the detainee: taking off clothes completely or in part especially the pants, filming the detainee naked, forcing the detainee to undress and bend to a hose facing the anal area, open the buttons of the pants and ordered the detained to jump like a rabbit until he drops his pants, hang the detainee naked and in a way similar to Swing, forced to strip naked and walk in front of other detainees, naked and forced to take a prostrate position.
f. Harassment by touching and feeling: touch and feel the sensitive places in the body of the detainee by hand or with tools, forcing the detainee to bend forward and deliberately touching anus and buttocks, wrap a wire around the penis and pull it strongly, electric shocks to the genitals, especially penis and buttocks, extinguishing cigarettes in sensitive areas.
5- BRAVO received evidence of sexual violence cases involving government members. BRAVO investigations suggest that many of the victims have been subjected to sexual torture by members of the Ministry of Interior in detention centers or outside, identical to the testimonies of detainees in the report of the Bahrain Independent Commission Inquiry. Many of these types of sexual violence in the testimonies of detainees are frequent in most places of arrest and detention in Bahrain, whether it is a police station, Asri detention center, Dry Dock prison, Alqareen prison belong to Bahrain Defense Force, Ministry of Interior in the so-called Castle cellar, and Criminal investigations building.
6 – The main objective of pursuing sexual violence in many cases, exposing detainees to physical abuse and humiliating torture and degrading of dignity, as a way to extract confessions and used later to convict them. Sexual torture was one of the ferocity methods of degrading detainees’ dignity as well as “smashing their souls”, so that is why the tormentors were threatening detainees or abuse them actually.
7 – Not taken any serious or effective action to punish accused of such violations, which often happened and still happening in the detention centers were officers in charge oversee or know about, made the acts easy to repeat and spread, leaving the offenders without punishment, especially with the existence of laws covers and protection from punishment by promoting impunity.
8- The absence of the principle of accountability for those responsible for human rights violations, and the lack of independence of the judiciary or serious accountability is considered to be one of the main reasons for the persistence of human rights violations in Bahrain. It was described by the BICI report as a culture of impunity.
1- Bahrain needs a permanent office for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Bahrain – to monitor aspects of torture, and to overcome the continued denial of power in Bahrain and the use of torture against detainees, including sexual violence against political detainees.
2- Implementation of the report of the Bahrain Independent Commission Inquiry recommendations; specifically taking legal action against those who torture regardless of rank and taking serious and effective actions to punish those accused of such violations, including officers, supervisors or any involved person.
3- Creation of a special unit to hold violators accountable for human rights abuses in Bahrain which should be independent, impartial and does not belong to the public prosecution.
4- An investigation into the independence of the judiciary is necessary; to examine its ability to punish torturers and violators of human rights.
5- Repeal of laws that promote impunity and protect the culprit, the torturer and protect them from punishment, such as the law No. 56 for the year 2002.
6- Implementation of the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission Inquiry to compensate financially and morally victims of torture and to create initiatives to assess their condition, and to provide psychological and physical treatment through specialists in the treatment of torture victims.
7- Provide psychological and physical treatment and follow-up for detainees, who suffer psychologically as a result sadistic and brutal treatment.
(1) Report of the Bahrain independent commission inquiry: -paragraph 8: -sexual abuse, -rape, p. 19 -20.
(2) Report of the Bahrain independent commission inquiry: -paragraph 1234, p.378.
(3) Al Wasat Bahraini newspaper: -issue. 3580, -Tuesday, June 26, 2012.
(4) A statement by Mr. Hadi al-Moussawi to Al Wasat newspaper: -issue.3580,-Tuesday, June 26, 2012.
(5) Emirates Today newspaper: on September 5, 2012, -94.4 percent of the reputation crimes in the state do not reach police, security study confirms that women are more likely not to report crimes committed against them. http://www.emaratalyoum.com/local-section/accidents/2012-09-05-1.509382
(6) Sexual assault in prisons, a global human rights crisis _ International Summary – Foundation detention international fair
http://www.justdetention.org/pdf/JDI Reports / International_Summary_Arabic.pdf
(7) Torture, Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia _ identical to the first article of the Convention against Torture of the United Nations – December 1984) http://ar.wikipedia.org/wiki/ torture
(8) definitions derived from the: sexual violence and gender-based against refugees, returnees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), guidelines for the prevention and confrontation – May / May 2003 – The Commission of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) http://www.globalprotectioncluster.org/_assets/ files / tools_and_guidance / gender_based_violence / UNHCR_Sexual_GBV_REfugees_IDPs_2003_AR.pdf
(9) Torture Redux – Revival of Physical Coercion during Interrogations in Bahrain – February 2010, Human Rights Watch, p (51). http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/bahrain0210arwebwcover.pdf
(10) Ministry of the Interior: report contained errors and lacked international standards and Human Rights Watch, “calling on the government to investigate the allegations of torture,” Al Wasat Bahraini newspaper – issue. 2713 – Tuesday, February 9, 2010 http://www.alwasatnews.com/2713/news/ read/372176/1.html
(11) Torture Redux – Revival of Physical Coercion during Interrogations in Bahrain – February 2010, Human Rights Watch,p.52. http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/bahrain0210arwebwcover.pdf
(12) Testimonies of the detainees suffered from sexual violence, provided by the Liberties and Human Rights Department in Al-Wefaq.
(13) Report of the Bahrain independent commission inquiry, Annex II – summaries of testimonies of victims of torture, p (545 – 592).
(14) Testimony number one, the testimonies of tortured victims of sexual violence provided by the Liberties and Human Rights Department in Al-Wefaq.
(15) Case number eight, Annex II – summaries of the testimony of torture victims, the report of the Bahrain independent commission inquiry, p (552).
(16) Case number eighteen, Annex II – summaries of the testimony of torture victims, the report of the Bahrain independent commission inquiry, p (561).
(17) Case number seven, Annex II – summaries of the testimony of torture victims, report of the Bahrain independent commission inquiry, p (550).
(18) Case number eleven, Annex II – summaries of the testimony of torture victims, report of the Bahrain independent commission inquiry, p (554).
(19) Case number fifty two, Annex II – summaries of the testimony of torture Report of the Bahrain independent commission inquiry, p (586).
(20) Special report about torture and human rights abuses of detainees in the case of an alliance of the Republic – Bahrain Center for Human Rights http://bahrainrights.hopto.org/ar/node/4360
(21) Case number nineteen, Annex II – summaries of the testimony of torture victims, the report of the Bahrain independent commission inquiry, p (562).
(22) Case number fifty, Annex II – summaries of the testimony of torture victims, the report of the Bahrain independent commission inquiry, p (585).
(23) Case number three, the testimonies of tortured victims of sexual violence provided by the Liberties and Human Rights Department in Al-Wefaq.
(24) Case number four, the testimonies of tortured victims of sexual violence provided by the Liberties and Human Rights Department in Al-Wefaq.
(25) Case number twelve, Annex II – summaries of the testimony of torture victims, the report of the Bahrain independent commission inquiry, p (555).
(26) Case number five, the testimonies of detainees tortured victims of sexual violence have provided us with the Department of freedoms and human rights in the Bahraini Wefaq.
(27) Case number sixteen, Annex II – summaries of the testimony of torture victims, the report of the Bahrain independent commission inquiry, p (560).
(28) Case number six, the testimonies of tortured victims of sexual violence provided by the Liberties and Human Rights Department in Al-Wefaq.
(29) Case number thirteen, Annex II – summaries of the testimony of torture victims, the report of the Bahrain independent commission inquiry, p (556).
(30) Case number seven, the testimonies of tortured victims of sexual violence provided by the Liberties and Human Rights Department in Al-Wefaq.
(31) Case number twenty five, report of the Bahrain independent commission inquiry, p (566).
(32) Case number eight, the testimonies of tortured victims of sexual violence provided by the Liberties and Human Rights Department in Al-Wefaq.
(33) Case number twenty two, Annex II – summaries of the testimony of torture victims, the report of the Bahrain independent commission inquiry, p (564).
(34) Case number fourteen, Annex II – summaries of the testimony of torture victims, the report of the Bahrain independent commission inquiry, p (557).
(35) Case number forty six, Annex II – summaries of the testimony of torture victims, the report of the Bahrain independent commission inquiry, p (583).
(36) Case number nine, the testimonies of tortured victims of sexual violence provided by the Liberties and Human Rights Department in Al-Wefaq.
(37) Report of the Bahrain independent commission inquiry, the facts of murder at the hands of security forces, para 1044, p (323).
(38) Case number ten, the testimonies of tortured victims of sexual violence provided by the Liberties and Human Rights Department in Al-Wefaq.
(39) Case number five, Annex II – summaries of the testimony of torture victims, the report of the Bahrain independent commission inquiry, p (549).
(40) Case number thirty two, Annex II – summaries of the testimony of torture victims, the report of the Bahrain independent commission inquiry, p (572).
(41) Case number forty four, Annex II – summaries of the testimony of torture victims, the report of the Bahrain independent commission inquiry, p (582).
(42) Case number fifty seven, Annex II – summaries of the testimony of torture victims, the report of the Bahrain independent commission inquiry, p (590).
(43) Special report on torture and human rights abuses of detainees in the case of the alliance for Republic – Bahrain Center for Human Rights
(44) Case number eleven, the testimonies of tortured victims of sexual violence provided by the Liberties and Human Rights Department in Al-Wefaq.
(45) Case number thirty, Annex II – summaries of the testimony of torture victims, the report of the Bahrain independent commission inquiry, p (570).
(46) Case number twelve, the testimonies of tortured victims of sexual violence provided by the Liberties and Human Rights Department in Al-Wefaq.
(47) Case number thirteen, the testimonies of tortured victims of sexual violence provided by the Liberties and Human Rights Department in Al-Wefaq.
(48) Cases number sixteen and seventeen, the testimonies of tortured victims of sexual violence provided by the Liberties and Human Rights Department in Al-Wefaq.
(49) Amnesty International Report 2012 – Bahrain, torture and other ill-treatment, p (104). http://www.amnesty.org/ar/region/bahrain/report-2012
(50) Testimony of Dr Fatima Haji, what happened to her during the arrest and detention.
(51) Testimony of Dr Zahra al-Sammak, what happened to her during the arrest and detention.
(52) Bahrain: Medics Describe Torture in Detention. Appeals Court Should Void Flawed Convictions. October 21, 2011, Human Rights Watch.
(53) Case number Twenty seven, Annex II – summaries of the testimony of torture victims, the report of the Bahrain independent commission inquiry, p (567).
(54) Nine women out of 21 detained attended and the others fear prevented them to come – Arab jurists: Experience «Bahraini struggle approaching Palestinian women, Al-Wasat Bahraini newspaper – Issue 99 – Saturday, December 14, 2002.
(55) Report of the Bahrain independent commission inquiry, the facts of murder at the hands of the security forces, the pattern of implementation arrests indoors – Paragraph 1126 – j, p (347).
(56) Report of the Bahrain independent commission inquiry, the facts of murder at the hands of the security forces, the treatment of women and children present during the arrest – paragraph 1135, p (349).
(57) Report of the Bahrain independent commission inquiry, the facts of murder at the hands of the security forces, the treatment of women and children present during the arrest – paragraph 1132, p (348).
(58) Recent events require reconsideration in the course of the transitional justice project -AlDerazi: largest law no. 56 ‘disabled’ the democratic transition – Al-waqt Bahraini newspaper – issue. 1130 – Thursday, March 26, 2009. http://www.alwaqt.com/art.php?aid=157288
(59) Democrats appeal against the constitutionality of law (56), Al-Wasat Bahraini newspaper – issue. 647 – Monday, June 14, 2004.
(60) Report of the Bahrain independent commission inquiry, the facts of murder at the hands of the security forces, the treatment of prisoners detained – paragraph 1240, p (380).
(61) Torture and perpetrators proceedings of trial – Bahrain Observatory for Human Rights http://www.bahrainmonitor.com/motabaa/t-036-07.html
(62) Report of the follow-up implementation unit in Arabic, English and French, a follow-up to the implementation of the recommendations – up report – June 2102, the Bahrain News Agency, July 31, 2012. http://www.iaa.bh/downloads/bici_followup_report_ar.pdf
(63), head of the special investigation in the Public Prosecution: continue to investigate new complaints, which reached 37 complaints of torture and ill-treatment – Bahrain News Agency – Manama on June 4 – Us 0939 GMT 06/04/2012. http://www.bna.bh/portal/news/511493
(64) Chief Prosecutor: The special investigation unit transmit eight members of the police to courts and continue to investigate the other complaints – Bahrain News Agency – Manama on December 10 – p n / p p – Us 1246 GMT 12/10/2012. http://www.bna.bh/portal/news/536931
(65) Innocence of two policemen of killing Al-Moamen and Abdul Hassan – Al Wasat Bahraini newspaper – issue. 3674 – Friday, September 28, 2012. http://www.alwasatnews.com/3674/news/read/704855/1.html
(66) Innocence of the officer accused of torturing Nazeeha Saeed – alAyyam Bahraini newspaper – issue. 8655 – Thursday, December 20, 2012. http://www.alayam.com/newsdetails.aspx?id=119013
(67) An officer and two policemen were acquitted of charges of assaulting Almeqdad – Al-Ayyam Bahraini newspaper – issue. 8655 – Thursday, December 20, 2012. http://www.alayam.com/newsdetails.aspx?id=119013
(68) Public Prosecution: referral of two officers (a man and a woman) to court on charges of using torture and force with medical staff – Gulf News Bahraini newspaper – issue. 12593 – Friday, September 14, 2012. http://www.akhbar-alkhaleej.com/12593/article/50091.html
(69) “Discrimination” supports the prison sentences against 9 physicians – Al-Wasat Bahraini newspaper – issue. 3678 – Tuesday 02 October 2012. http://www.alwasatnews.com/3678/news/read/705792/1.html
(70) Doctors abstain from appearing in front of the ‘prosecutor’ and demand for impartial commission to investigate complaints of torture – Al-Wasat Bahraini newspaper – issue. 3701 – Thursday, October 25, 2012. http://www.alwasatnews.com/3701/news/read/711199/1.html
February 7, 2013
Member organizations and societies of BHRN listed as follows:
Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR), Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), Bahrain Society for Human Rights (BHRS), Bahrain Rehabilitation and Anti-Violence Organization (BRAVO), The European-Bahraini Organization for Human Rights (EBOHR) and Hope Defenders.
Declare that BHRN will work under common vision and goals to enhance democracy and principles of freedom and human rights.
The mission of BHRN is to coordinate between the members for the purpose of observing, documenting and monitoring human rights violations, establishing consolidated database and highlighting human rights violations in Bahrain.
In the view of such vision and goals, members of BHRN are
setting joint mechanisms in accordance with the international
standards in the field of human rights work. BHRN will be responsible for issuing joint statements and reports and establish database on human rights violations.
Members of BHRN do not intend to create a new human rights entity or organization, rather, a joint effort between Bahraini human rights organizations and societies.
BHRN will start working by means of a specific mechanism of observation which will be announced on the coming 14the of February, a day marking the second anniversary of protests outbreak. All human rights violations will be monitored and statements will be issued to highlight the status of human rights.
BHRN has held a number of founding meetings, adopted its bylaws and assigned Hasan Jaber as its coordinator. BHRN will be online through its website and other accounts in social networking websites.
BHRN hopes to find sound cooperation with international organizations and society as well as media in order to achieve its vision and goals to protect and enhance human rights in Bahrain.
Press release of foundation statement of Bahrain Human Rights Network BHRN
Launch (Bahrain Network for Human Rights- BNHR)
Location: Bahrain Society for Human Rights-BHRS
Time: 1:30 pm
Date: Thursday – 7 February 2013
Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights-BYSHR, Bahrain Center for Human
Rights-BCHR, Bahrain Human Rights Society-BHRS, Bahrain Rehabilitation and
Anti-Violence Organization-BRAVO, European – Bahraini Organisation For Human
Rights-EBOHR, and Hope Defenders.
For more information: Mr.Hassan Jaber – Network Coordinator 39992122
BRAVO is very concerned on the life of the detainee in Bahraini prisons Ayman Abdul Shaheed Ramadan, he is twenty three years old, who suffers from hemophilia (A), a hereditary genetic disease a result of a lack of clotting factor eight, causing an imbalance in blood clotting leads to bleeding in the joints, tissues and even brain if the patient is exposed to any injury or friction with solid objects, sometimes even bleeding occurs without any injury.
BRAVO condemned the continued detention of Ayman who’s suffering from this terrible disease, with repeated exposure to setbacks because of the disease, most recently in July 2012 when he was transferred from prison to Salmaniya Medical Hospital, suffering from pain in the elbow and hip as a result of injuries suffered in detention as a result of beatings he received in prison (torture, according to him), which have led him to depression, forced his doctor in Salmaniya to turn him to a psychological counseling. As a result of the deterioration of his mental condition, he entered a psychiatric hospital and stayed for a long time while he was still in custody, which is another factor for the sustained physical and psychological setbacks.
The continuation of Ayman custody on with his serious case of illness and deterioration of mental and physical health, is a clear violation and arbitrarily of custody of patient in a dangerous situation and is incompatible with the respect for the dignity and health of detainees.
After all of the above, BRAVO demand the immediate release of the detainee Ayman Abdul Shaheed in order to preserve his endangered life, and returning back to his family after treatment (psychologically and physically), and stop all acts of degrading towards all detainees.
Dear Mr. President,
The Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR) and the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), as well as the undersigned human rights organizations, call on you Mr. President to take substantive action towards securing the immediate release of 13 activists and human rights defenders who are arbitrarily detained in Bahrain. They have been charged and sentenced for exercising their right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. Among the detained activists is the human rights defender Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, founder and former President of BCHR, co-founder of GCHR and former Middle East and North Africa Protection Coordinator of Front Line Defenders.
On 7 January 2013, Bahrain’s Court of Cassation upheld the harsh prison sentences for the 13 men, some of whom have been sentenced to life in prison. The 13 were originally sentenced along with eight others by a military court in June 2011 in proceedings that were criticized for violating basic principles of due process – seven were tried in absentia and one has been released. The activists have been held in prison since March 2011, and several have been subjected to severe torture, which has been documented and published in a report released in November 2011 by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), a body appointed by the King. These individuals have detailed to the court the torture they were subjected to throughout their detention, and even though their torturers have been identified, there has not been any investigation into these allegations.
Instead of prosecuting the officers involved in torture and condemning the use of torture, the High Court of Appeals accepted the coerced confessions obtained through the torture of the prisoners and the interrogation records prepared by the military prosecution as the sole evidence in the case. The files in the court’s possession lack any decisive evidence linking the activists to the charges in question, including allegations that they sought to overthrow the regime by force.
Despite the recommendations of the BICI, the human rights defenders and activists remain in jail, merely for exercising their right to peaceful expression, assembly and association.
The 13 activists and human rights defnders whose unjust sentences were upheld on 7 January 2013 are the following:
1) Abdulwahab Hussain (life sentence imprisonment)
2) Ebrahim Sharif (5 Years imprisonment)
3) Hassan Mushaima (life sentence imprisonment)
4) Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja (life sentence imprisonment)
5) Abduljalil Al-Singace (life sentence imprisonment)
6) Mohammed Habib Al Miqdad (life sentence imprisonment)
7) Saeed Mirza Al-Nouri (life sentence imprisonment)
8) Abduljalil Al-Miqdad (life sentence imprisonment)
9) Abdullah Isa Al-Mahroos (5 years imprisonment)
10) Salah Hubail Al-Khawaja (5 years imprisonment)
11) Mohammed Hassan Jawad (15 years imprisonment)
12) Mohammed Ali-Ismael (15 years imprisonment)
13) Abdul Hadi Al-Mukhodher (15 years imprisonment)
The undersigned have concluded that the decisions by the Bahraini courts throughout this case, including the 7 January 2013 decision of the Court of Cassation to uphold the sentences, are politically motivated. We urge Bahrain’s allies to press for the release and full exoneration of the prisoners as well as a credible and transparent investigation into the allegations of torture so that the people responsible can be held accountable.
As Bahrain’s most influential ally, coupled with its military presence in the country in the form of the US Fifth Fleet, the United States has a special obligation to press Bahrain to adhere to international human rights standards.
Clearly, efforts by civil society and the international community have failed thus far to release all those unjustly jailed in Bahrain. Strong action from the US is therefore essential in order to persuade the Bahraini government to adhere to international law and fundamental principles of justice.
Mr. President, we respectfully call on you to take the following action to ensure that the Bahraini government stops violating the inalienable rights of its citizens, in particular the 13 individuals listed above who have been unjustly imprisoned:
Thank you for your attention to this very important matter.
Arab Working Group for Media Monitoring
Bahrain Centre for Human Rights
Bahrain Coordination Committee
Bahrain Human Rights Society
Bahrain Press Association
Bahrain Rehabilitation and Anti Violence Organization
Bahrain Teachers Society
Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights
Cairo Center for Development and Human Rights
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression
Center for Egyptian woman’s Legal Assistance-CEWLA
Development for People and Nature Association
European-Bahraini Organization for Human Rights (EBOHR)
Gulf centre for Human Rights
Gulf Civil Society Association Forum
Gulf Civil Society Associations Forum – GCSAF
Human Rights First Society (HRFS), Saudi Arabia
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
Iraqi Al-Amal Association
Maharat Foundation – Lebanon
Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia
National Lawyers Guild – United States
New Woman Foundation – Egypt
Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED)
Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
Shia Rights Watch
SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran
The Samir Kassir Foundation
The Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA Network)
United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society
World Alliance for Citizen Participation- CIVICUS
Yemen Organization for defending Rights and Democratic Freedoms
 For details of the torture on these activists See Annex II of the report of the BICI findings, cases: 1 to 12, 23 and 47, available at: http://www.bici.org.bh/BICIreportEN.pdf.
January 23rd 2013 – Following our statement in December regarding the re-arrest and continued detention of the Human Rights Defender, Sayed Yousif AlMuhafdah, BRAVO understands that he has been released on bail subject to his appearance in court in front of the Public Prosecutor on Tuesday 29th January, and that the Government of Bahrain has persisted in ignoring the international appeals for ending the exhaustive measures to silence him.
It is clear that Sayed Yousif is not a criminal and that his sole offense is that of being a Human Rights Defender, which is such an affront to the Bahraini Regime that they have repeatedly removed his liberty altogether and incarcerated him on numerous occasions in recent months.
It is now widely acknowledged nationally and internationally that these measures are taken to gag Human Rights Defenders in the Gulf Kingdom, as is the situation in multiple countries where there are dictatorial regimes guilty of persecuting the populace.
We urge the Bahraini Regime to marshal their senses and drop all charges against Sayed Yousif AlMuhafdah without further procrastination. Furthermore we encourage them to quash the charges against his fellow Human Rights Defender, the internationally lauded Mr. Nabeel Rajab, and to permit them both to resume their work as keen contributors to the welfare of Bahraini society as it enters this new age of social inclusion and democratic emergence.
BRAVO stresses the need for total inclusion from all sides of the spectrum of political society in the decision making process for the future of Bahrain, subsequent to the Bahraini Regimes invitation to resume political discussions to “representatives of the political societies and independent members of the political community… to achieve further consensus around the political agenda”.
It is hoped that the recent insistence from 30 respected International Civil Societies on U.S. President Barack Obama to intercede for the release of Bahrain’s 13 opposition political leaders, may lead to their release and that they be permitted to participate and lend some genuine balance to this globally anticipated dialogue.
There has never been a refusal by opposition groups to sit at a table for fully inclusive dialogue on reaching a comprehensive national consensus. However all parties must be permitted equal representation for there to be a wholly dynamic and legitimate conclusion.
Efforts to engage in dialogue where sections of society are alienated is unacceptable to the people, and while 13 of the most prominent political leaders remain imprisoned there is no possibility of credible productivity.
As a gesture of willingness to prove the serious and earnest desire for progress in “serving the interests of the Kingdom and its people” the Regime should release the political prisoners and detained human rights defenders as a matter of urgency, and it must be ensured that this dialogue not replicate the previous effort where marginalisation was evident from the outset.
BRAVO announces the successful treatment of a G.C.C. citizen who required a digital hearing device to be implanted after becoming partially deaf due to torture while in Detention.
The man was arrested on 11th March 2011 at the King Fahad Causeway on his way from Bahrain to Saudi Arabia, without a warrant from the public prosecutor, and was interrogated without a lawyer present.
He stated that during his detention a Lieutenant accompanied by two masked civilians came into his prison cell and ordered the detainees to curse some of the religious and political Shiite figures and then sexually molested them. He reported that he was severely beaten about the head and that he started to bleed from his left ear, which caused him intense pain.
A G.C.C. lawyer, from his own country, followed his case .
He was released two weeks after his arrest and reported that he went to his Embassy to request aid for his medical condition and to seek removal of the travel ban that had been imposed upon him. Unfortunately the embassy persistently procrastinated and neglected to assist the victim in gaining adequate medical care for an entire year. Having exhausted his options and with no significant result, the man approached Bravo in a final effort to seek professional medical treatment.
His travel ban is still in place, although he continues to follow-up with officials; however they are waiting for approval from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in his own country.
Subsequently his medical condition worsened and he suffered from profound sensory- neural hearing loss in his left ear.
The victim takes antibiotics and still suffers severe pain, he has a constant drainage of stained discharge from his ear and requires additional medical follow-up.
To Mrs. Margaret Sekaggya,
Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders
As the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders responsible for the cases of HRDs, it is imperative that you visit Bahrain to investigate the crisis on the harassment of HRDs there.
Navi Pillay (UN High Commissioner for HR), Laura Depuy Lasserre (President of the Human Rights Council ) and June Ray (Chief of Civil Society Section) have each been outspoken in defense of the HRDs who attended the UPR Process in Geneva, both in May and again in September, and who were targeted and attacked for their participation.
The attacks are ongoing. 31 Bahrainis have had their citizenship revoked and there is a ‘black list’ of HRDs, Pro-Democracy and Civil Representatives who are prevented from entering other GCC and Arab countries, such as Dr. Nada Dhaif who was deported from Kuwait last week, and both Maryam AlKhawaja and Nabeel Rajab who were deported from Egypt.
Dr. Nada frequently receives threats about her children, and since her participation at the ICC in The Hague in recent days, there are calls for the removal of her citizenship. We have word of further 2 nd and 3rd lists of people who will have their citizenship revoked in tranches yet to come. No one feels safe.
While Abdulhadi AlKhawaja remains wrongly jailed on a long list of terror related charges, the case of Nabeel Rajab is entirely different with all of his charges related to Freedom of Expression and Assembly, freedoms which are continuing to be breached by the Bahrain authorities.
We urge as many Special Rapporteurs as possible to visit Bahrain. Although we anticipate that their access will be delayed, such as with Juan Mendez, Special Rapporteur on Torture, and we are still waiting for his visit to materialize. Yet this will make a difference when we ask for the Special Session in the Human Rights Council on Bahrain.
We believe that the recent release of HRD Said Yousif AlMuhafdah was as a result of the UN High Commissioners Office intervention that we sought last week.
On this, the Anniversary of the BICI Report (Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry), we urge you to please visit Bahrain as a priority; it will make a great deal of difference to the HRD who are being persecuted, particularly and most critically in the case of Nabeel Rajab.
Bahrain Rehabilitation and Anti-Violence Organisation Limited
19 November 2012
“The BICI Reforms: Promises of Progress, a Worsening Reality” report evaluates the progress that has been made by the Government of Bahrain towards reforming its record of human rights violations, and marks the one year anniversary of the recommendations presented by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI).
The BICI report was a scathing critique of the authority’s behavior in the months following the start of the pro-democracy demonstrations in February 2011. It found that torture, extrajudicial killings, and warrantless arrests were common practice in Bahrain. Specifically in regards to the raids on homes and arbitrary arrests, the BICI report found that these operations involved “unnecessary excessive force, accompanied by terror-inspiring behaviour on the part of the security forces in addition to unnecessary damage to property” and that “the very fact that a systematic pattern of behaviour existed indicates that this is how these security forces were trained and how they were expected to act. This could not have happened without the knowledge of higher echelons of the command structure of the MoI and NSA.” It was never clearer that human rights abuses were a deeply rooted problem within the government.
The King’s promise that he would implement sweeping reforms to address these violations was initially met with a cautious degree of optimism by the authors of this report and many governments and NGOs around the world. Swift and earnest reforms could have represented a strong step forwards towards national reconciliation. One year later, the government has had ample time to act, but has, in general, only made superficial progress. Today, we look at Bahrain and see a government that puts its efforts into presenting the image of reforms, while continuing to commit the same human rights violations; in certain respects, the situation has grown worse.
This report is issued in conjunction with the Bahrain Rehabilitation & Anti-Violence Organization (BRAVO) and the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR).
Download Report “The BICI Reforms: Promises of Progress, a Worsening Reality”
BRAVO condemns the deportation today (November 15th 2012) of its Chairman Dr. Nada Dhaif from Kuwait. Dr. Dhaif was apprehended in front of her children, intimidated and taken for interrogation, while her children and husband were left in a distressed state with no indication of when or if she would be released.
In a statement earlier today Dr. Dhaif reported:
“I arrived to Kuwait with my family at 10 am and was informed at the passport check that my name is on ‘the list of Bahraini ‘s who are denied access to Kuwait’.
I was taken directly to the Passport Department were the officer asked me couple of questions about when it was that I last entered Kuwait. Then I was transferred immediately to State Security apparatus where I was interrogated for 2:30 hrs by Officers in civilian clothes who refused to reveal their identities, names or rank, despite that I asked for this information and to know upon what basis I was being questioned.
The officer started the interrogation by asking firstly my name and then whether I’m Shiaa or Sunni! I replied that I’m Shiaa and he then asked about my husband whether he is Shiaa also? I replied affirmatively.
I was subjected to probing questioning about the events that took place in Salmaniya hospital during the uprising in Feb 2011, my role in the uprising , whether I ever visited Iran, and whether I have been to the Pearl Roundabout participating in the demonstrations against the regime? And he insisted that I was demonstrating against the royal family in Bahrain. I replied to the officer : Why am I being interrogated about charges that I was found innocent of, and how is this even related to Kuwait ??
I asked for legal representation during the interrogation and to call the Bahraini Embassy in Kuwait, however the officer refused my request .
Then I was escorted to hall where my children and husband had been kept waiting, my husband was questioned also and his mobiles were confiscated for 30 minutes and returned to him after both of them were checked .
I was taken back for more detailed interrogation, whereupon I insisted to have a lawyer and refused to sign any papers.
The officer informed me that I have to leave Kuwait with immediate effect and that I’m not welcomed in Kuwait and that my name is on a fresh list received from the Bahraini authorities in July.
After 2:30 hrs I was escorted back to the passport department at Alniuissib port where officer ” Faraj Mohammed Al Suhli ” (his name was printed on his uniform) gave us back our passports.
I asked the for a copy of the deportation report and for the names of the two officers at the state security department but he refused to provide any documents or information and was very nervous. Then I was escorted by police officers to Alnuaissib police station.
For a total of 4 hrs my family were in total panic and alarm, my two young daughters 9yrs and 8yrs were crying and terrorized seeing their mother being interrogated and dragged between state security and the police station .
Finally a police car escorted us to the Saudi border and handed the papers directly to the passport check. We were not even permitted to look at them. It is important to mentions that thousands of Bahraini Shiaa have faced the same pattern of conduct from the Kuwaiti authorities , some of these individuals have families in Kuwait, or journey there for business, medical treatment or education .
The continuing harassment that HRDs in Bahrain endure from the Bahraini authorities has extended, and collective international measures are required to put such behaviour to an end.
Also we are calling for H.H the Emir of Kuwait to intervene and to put end to such violations committed by some officials that would damage the reputation of Kuwait.”
BRAVO declares in the strongest terms that the effort of the Bahraini Government to suppress people, by exercising their relationships with bureaucrats in other countries to frustrate and limit their international mobility, is abusive in the extreme and cannot continue to go ignored nor without judicial repercussion.
Another element of this is the removal of citizenship for 31 Bahrainis this week, which can only serve to further exacerbate the current turmoil. Indeed it amounts to a form of torture which effectively dehumanises people by legislating to remove their national identity and all of the natural benefits which are adversely impacted by this shocking deed; cultural, social, spiritual and physical. It is fundamentally wrong to have made such a bold move without warning the people targeted so that they might at least have had an opportunity to defend themselves. Indeed we question the legitimacy of the ruling and would welcome the United Kingdom specifically to probe an investigation into this matter as 10 of the Bahrainis in question are living in exile in England.
BRAVO declares in the strongest terms that the arbitrary detention of Sayed Yousif AlMuhafdah contravenes all international protocols on Human Rights and is an affront to modern mechanisms of civil liberties in every corner of the globe.
The persistent targeting and persecution of Human Rights Defenders in Bahrain is a retaliation against calls for social inclusion, an end to state sponsored brutality and the release of political prisoners. These people have been incarcerated based on their political opinions or out-spokeness against the regime aggressiveness that has been prolific since the return of the Bahraini Delegation to the UNHRC in Geneva in September.
This assertion is based on our conversation with Sayed Yousif AlMuhafdah from prison last night when he stated that he believes that the Human Rights defenders have been targeted for having taken their case to Geneva and exposing the Regime openly at International level.
While he confirmed that in general the prison conditions are not bad, and that he is not being tortured or beaten himself, he voiced strong concerns regarding some inmates who have critical conditions and who should be in hospital, not prison. He asked BRAVO to intercede on their behalf, to seek solidarity with our NGO partners and contacts in the International Community, and to actively seek help for them in practical terms.
AlMuhafdah was interrogated for his participation in what is considered by the regime to be ‘illegal gatherings’, but which in fact are pro-democracy demonstrations and protected under the right to Freedom of Assembly.
During his questioning the Prosecutor asked him if he ‘went to Geneva’ and if he had given a speech or presentation? AlMuhafdah admitted that he had participated in the UPR.
He believes that this detention was in reprisal for partaking in the UPR Process in Geneva and that he and Mohammed AlMaskati (President of the Bahrain Youth Society, who was also interrogated and received death threats) were singled out specifically for their activities relating to the defence of Human Rights.
BRAVO calls upon all International NGO Partners and individuals of rational conscience to move urgently for the release of Sayed Yousif AlMuhafdah and to ensure that reprisals are ceased against all Human Rights Defenders and members of civil society who participate in NGO’s in Bahrain. The aggressive persecution of people based on their legitimate service to the safeguarding of their community is an insult to every free-thinking code of conduct and to the Rule of Law.