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”. (more…)
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. (more…)
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. (more…)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.