Monday, September 10, 2007

Bahrain: Abduction and Torture of Activists Return

Bahrain: Abduction and Torture of Activists Return
Activist Hassan Abdulnabi -Committee of Unemployed - kidnapped and threatened to life by the National Security Service

Two days ago, a young Bahraini (I. A.) was arrested from place of work and taken to the security command center in Muharraq. He was subjected to beatings and torture during interrogation by an executioner known lieutenant Abdullah Alhadi. ( I. A.) - in his twenties- had received threatening messages via phone that he will be "absent behind the sun", after participating in a religious ceremony in Arad village. He was critical referring to issues of public interest like that of political naturalization and its impact on the economic situation and the housing crisis. While interrogated, he was beaten by plastic hose in various places of his body and threatened with imprisonment on charges of insulting the "King and the Prime Minister". He was released after several hours of such endurance and threatened of arrest and imprisonment if what happened to him of beating and torture inside the jail, were disclosed. The young man still suffers pain and conceal what had happened to him fearing for his life and the practices of the notorious National Security Service.

On the other hand, the same body had a grip on the Unemployed Committee well- known activist Hassan Abdulnabi Hassan Ali (26 years). Hassan was abducted more than once yesterday when he tried to sit near the royal office in Refaa area , calling for state agencies lifting their hands of and stop harassing his livelihood. At 10 o'clock yesterday morning, he started sitting in near the Grievances and Complaints Bureau in the Royal Court, but after a period of time, masked members of a special patrol came to him demanded him to leave, but he refused. After being shackled and eyes blindfolded, he was taken to a place near the site of the sit- in. Hassan started up roaring and battering the door of the room he was detained, he was released, so he went back to the sit again in the same place before. In his way, he was attacked by new armed group, he was arrest, once again, and taken to Refaa Police station, with his eyes blindfolded. He was harshly interrogated, was threatened of life extermination, and would face treatment worse than what he faced previously during detention. The head the interrogation lieutenant Osama asked him to sign pledge to have him released, but Hassan rejected the offer on the grounds that he had not committed a crime.

Hassan was released from the center at about 2 pm, so he went to sit again, but this time, he could not reach the same place because he was attacked by special forces, with their face masked, his clothes were torn as he was forcibly abducted to another location. He remanded eye-blinded in the car where he was interrogated and threatened once again. The leader of the kidnapping task threatened Hassan that he will faces the same fate as his colleague Moussa Abdali, and catching him by resorting to Britain, and if he is to live safely in Bahrain, he should stop his demands, a matter strongly rejected by Hassan. This situation lasted until about 5:30pm when he was released, then he returned to his family in the Village of Marcoban- Sitra Island, as they were very concerned about his safety. It is to be noted that all efforts by his family, friends and activists did not succeed to invite the press to follow up the issue, which some thing unusual. Apparently, there were clear orders to the media not to interact with the activist or echo the case.

Activist Hassan has issued a statement in which he referred to the circumstances of harassing him in his living after he was released, with the other members of what was known "Airport Case", where they were imprisoned for one year because of the expression of opinion upon the arrest of a prominent religious and intellectual figure in Bahrain Airport on December 25, 2005. The activist Hassan was the only detainee who was not allowed to resume his work in the traffic directorate at the Ministry of the Interior, while allowing all his colleagues to return to their jobs, whether in government or private institutions. Not content with the official Authorities discharging him from the Ministry of Interior, he was denied - according to his statement -work at other institutions or even obtain a license to practice taxi drive.

The activist Hassan is one of the founders of the Committee of Unemployed (CU) which imposed itself on the political arena after its founding in the year 2005 demanding provision of job opportunities for youth, setting out unemployment insurance and programs to support low-income citizens. As a result of its vigorous activities, attracting media and human rights institutions inside and outside Bahrain, members of the Committee have been subjected to all sorts of harassments and threats by members of the various security agencies, including the Ministry Interior (MI). The CU demanded the opening of doors of MI for Bahrainis unemployed to take over the large numbers of non-citizens employed by the ministry whose number exceeds 50% of its staff - according to the statements of its minister in June 2006.
Among those harassed was the young man Moussa Abdali, from Al-Ekr village eastern region of Bahrain, one of the founders of the C. The Bahraini Authorities refused to grant him a job, despite repeated deamnds. As a result of the harassment by the Authorities to the Committee and its members, activist Moussa Abdali was granted political asylum in the UK, in a short time scale from the date of his request. Moussa was subject to repeated attack by National Security and was sexually violated to deter his participation in the leadership of the CU., which did not succeed.

This is the latest incident of abduction of activists and arrests of those expressing their views in Bahrain. It reflects the deteriorating situation to freedom of expression and the defense of rights.

It should be noted that the Bahraini Authorities have been known, throughout the previous period, of the scope of targeting activists and defenders of the rights, which included kidnapping, assault and battery, prosecutions using arbitrary laws, threatening and harassment, in addition to espionage and penetration of privacy both taps on telephones or electronic communication. The reports by international organizations about such systematic violations in the previous period have increased, which was reflected on Bahrain's membership in the United Nations Human Rights Council. And if the Bahraini Authorities wish to earn membership in the Human Rights Council, its human rights record should improve, particularly with regard to the protection activists and rights defenders. The membership of this Council is not a wish nor a result of public relations, but the result of genuine exercise, maintenance and a continuous respect for human rights

The Committee of Activists hold the Bahraini Authorities the physical and psychological safety of Hassan Abdulnabi and the rest of the activists, and stop harassing him in his living, as well as the full responsibility for any implications of this harassment. The Authorities should be aware that such practices will be at the disclosure to human rights organizations and the international community.

The Committee of Solidarity with Activists and Detainees of Conscience in Bahrain
September 7, 2007