Bahrain: Arrest of eleven human rights defenders
Created 2008/01/04 - 17:59
Front Line is deeply concerned following the arrest of eleven human rights defenders and the alleged torture and ill-treatment of a number of those arrested. The arrests took place in the days following demonstrations on 17 December 2007 in Manama and other regions of Bahrain, in which a protester, Ali Jessam Mekki, was killed. The demonstrations were organised by members of the National Committee of Martyrs and Victims of Torture to mark the 13th anniversary of the death of two young Shiite men killed by security forces while participating in a demonstration calling for the restoration of democracy. From the 21st to the 28th December 2007, members of the Special Security Forces (SSF) arrested approximately 50 people including at least 11 human rights defenders.
Further InformationPosted 04/01/2008 On 21 December 2007, at 4.00am Shaker Mohammed Abdul-Hussein Abdul-Aal, member of the Unemployment Committee was arrested; at 8.00am Abdullah Mohsen Abdulah Saleh, member of the Unemployment Committee was arrested; at 8.50 am, Naji Ali Fateel, member of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) was arrested; at 2.15pm Mohammed Abdullah Al Sengais, head of the Committee to Combat High Prices; at 5.00pm Maytham Bader Jassim Al-Sheikh, member of the Unemployment Committee; On 22 December, at 2.00pm, Majid Salman Ibrahim Al-Haddad, member of the Unemployment Committee was arrested; On 23 December 2007, at 11.30pm, Ahmad Jaffar Mohammed Ali, member of the Unemployment Committee was arrested; On 26 December, at approximately 11.00am, Hassan Abdulnabi, Board member of the Unemployment Committee was arrested; on 23 December, at 2.00am, Nader Ali Ahmad Al-Salatna, member of the Unemployment Committee was arrested; On 27 December 2007, at approximately 11.00pm, Hassan Abdelnabi Hassan, member of the Unemployment Committee was arrested by members of the SSF; On 28 December 2007, at 11.00am Ebrahim Mohamed Amin-Al-Arab, founding member of the Martyrs and Victims of Torture Committee was arrested by members of the SSF. Both Hassan Abdelnabi Hassan and Ebrahim Mohamed Amin-Al-Arab have been arrested in the past. All eleven human rights defenders have been accused of having taken part in an ‘illegal gathering and rioting’ and of ‘theft of a weapon and ammunition and possession of a weapon and ammunition without permission’.
None of the human rights defenders have access to their lawyers. They are reportedly all being detained at the Criminal Investigations Department, (CID) in Adliya.
It is reported that a number of the human rights defenders have been ill-treated and possibly tortured while in detention. Witnesses have alleged that Naji Ali Fateel had been detained in handcuffs and blindfolds for two weeks; that Mohammed Abdullah Al Sengais had been handcuffed and blindfolded for one week and he had been held in solitary confinement for approximately two weeks; that Maytham Bader Jassim Al-Sheikh had been allegedly tortured, a witness reported that he had burn marks on his arms and on his stomach, as a result of having been electrocuted, he was also handcuffed for a period of time; that Ahmad Jaffar Mohammed Ali had been handcuffed possibly for a number of days as he had marks on his wrists; that Majid Salman Ibrahim Al-Haddad had been physically assaulted, as a result he has a perforated ear drum, which he is receiving medical treatment for and he also had a hand injury. It has been alleged that some of the human rights defenders may have been ill-treated or tortured while being questioned.
Furthermore, on 25 December 2007, Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), was subjected to a physical assault and verbal insults by a masked Bahraini officer and three SSF members who are not of Bahraini nationality, outside the Office of the Public Prosecutors. Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja was forcibly removed from the entrance of the Office of the Public Prosecutors, where he had tried to be granted permission to enter. It is reported that family members of a number of detained human rights defenders were also physically assaulted by police officers.
Front Line is concerned that the aforementioned human rights defenders have been targeted by the Bahraini authorities due to their peaceful activities promoting human rights, including economic and social rights.