The military court in Bahrain issued harsh sentences against 21 opposition leaders and figures, including Abdul Hadi Al Khawajah, the prominent human rights activist.

The lack of international standards for trials and having civilians tried before a military court are blatant violations of their rights and a sign of the invalidity of the sentences issued.

Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) considers the detainees prisoners of conscience with no material evidence of their involvement in violence or the incitement of violence. The BCHR condemns their torture during interrogation and trial.

5 June, 2011

Introduction

On the dawn of 16th March 2011, Bahrain security forces backed by the military crushed the popular pro-democracy movement in Bahrain by clearing the Pearl Roundabout in the capital Manama from protesters after declaring the state of “National Safety” (Martial Law) and the intervention of GCC security and military forces in Bahrain under the cover of the “Peninsula Shield”. Saudi troops formed the majority among those forces which was led by Major General Mutlaq Bin Salem - the head of the Peninsula Shield forces. Local authorities launched a wide campaign of arbitrary detentions against all those involved in or supported - in any way - the pro-democracy movement during the period from 14th February until 17th March 2011. According to initial estimates, the number of detainees exceeded 2000 including 21 opposition leaders and human rights activists - 7 of whom were tried in absentia for not being able to arrest them. They were tried before a military court known as "The Court of National Safety" which was held at the Military Courts headquarters of the Bahrain Defense Force (the army). The following report presents a summary of the abuses they were subjected to before and after the trials which ended on 22nd June 2011 (case No. 124/2011). The sentences ranged from two years to life imprisonment [1] (attached a list of names and sentences).

(The head of the Joint Peninsula Shield forces Major General Mutlaq Bin Salem Al Azema)

In the aforementioned sentence, the court relied on reports and testimonies of the National Security Apparatus (the intelligence services) which claimed that members of this group (21 in total, 7 of whom were considered escaped) had formed an organization calling for a democratic republic instead of the current monarchy and that they had participated in managing the popular protest movement, inciting hatred against the regime and its symbols, planning for the overthrow of the regime by force, calling for civil disobedience, spreading false news about the situation in Bahrain and collaborating with a foreign power. These charges were denied by all the defendants and their lawyers who have considered them malicious as a punishment to these activists, who were annoying the authorities with their peaceful activities in the previous period, by imposing the most severe penalties under the two laws of “Terrorism” and the “State Security” law in the penal code which is condemned internationally.

All the defendants insisted that what they have done was only practicing their legitimate right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly calling for civil, political, economic and social rights to all the people. Moreover, all their activities did not go beyond the frame of peaceful actions.

This brief report outlines some of what these activists have suffered with torture and human rights violations since their arrest until the time of writing of this report. It includes the following:

I. Violations during the arrest and detention. II. Torture at the National Security Apparatus (Al Qal’ah). III. Physical and psychological torture at the military prison (Al Grain). IV. Violations related to the interrogations done by the National Security Apparatus and the Military Prosecution. V. Violations related to trials before the Military Court. VI. Vengeance on relatives of the detainees.

I. Violations during the arrest and detention:

All fourteen detainees in this case said that their arrests took place by raiding their houses or houses of their relatives after midnight. They had not been summoned or informed that they are wanted by any authority. No documents of a judicial warrant for their arrest or search were presented. The following are some examples of detainees' testimonies about the detention process:

Ebrahim Sharif (Secretary General of Wa'ad Party): "When they came to arrest me on 17th March, I asked the officer who was in civilian clothing if he have an arrest warrant. He told me that there is no arrest warrants in the state of National Safety. Two months later, during the hearing of prosecution witnesses, the officer who arrested Abdul Hadi Al Khawajah said: "We had an arrest warrant, but he did not ask us to present it".

Explaining the way he had been arrested, Dr. Abdul Jalil Al Singace (head of the Human Rights Office in Haq Movement) - a professor at the University of Bahrain who suffers from a disabled left leg due to polio - said: "At dawn on 17th of March my house was raided and a large number of armed men stormed through the house by breaking open the doors and headed to my bedroom in the second floor to arrest me. My wife and my daughter were terrorized in their bedrooms. I was not allowed to wear any outerwear and was dragged forcefully out of the bedroom in my underwear, barefoot and without my eyeglasses. At gunpoint of the special forces - who were all masked - I was insulted with obscene words and was threatened with rape to me and my family. On the way to Al Grain prison, one of the armed special forces put his leg over my body the whole way while I was handcuffed and blindfolded at the back of the car. During the trip, I was repeatedly sexually harassed and was told that I will be handed-over to the Saudi forces suggesting that worse mistreatment is coming.

On 20th of March, Salah Al Khawajah - a social activist - was arrested. Describing his arrest he said: "At 2 AM they raided my house, broke the doors and confiscated everything they could find in front of them. My wife was singled out in a room where they ripped off her headscarf, kicked and punched her with their fists and harassed her [2]. I was arrested on the second floor of the house and was dumped from the roof of the house by the orders of the commanding officer. On the way to (Al Qal’ah), I was constantly severely beaten by kicking and punching me all over my body as well as on the genitals and they caused a wound next to my left eye".

Sheikh Mohammed Habib Al Miqdad (a political activist and a cleric) was arrested on 1st of April and was subjected to continuous severe beating all over his body. He was dragged out of the house he was in and had his clothes removed completely until he became naked. He could not avoid the punches and kicks as he was trying to cover his private parts with his hands.

Abdul Hadi Al Khawajah (a prominent human rights activist) said: "On 9th of April, special forces stormed the building where my two married daughters live. Once they identified me, they started beating me while I was rolling on the ladder of the building from the third to the second floor. Then, they handcuffed me from the back, blindfolded my eyes and took me out of the building. Before putting me in the car, I was hit forcefully on my face (perhaps with a gun butt or another tool) which resulted in two deep wounds above my left eye and four fractures in my left jaw, cheek bone and my nose which required transferring me immediately to the emergency unit at the Military Hospital (BDF). I had to undergo a surgery and since that time I still suffer from the effects of that operation as my face tissues and nerves have been affected and I still cannot use my jaw.

Describing his arrest Abdul Wahab Hussain (a political activist and the spokesman of the Islamic Al-Wafa'a Movement) said: "My house was raided after midnight. While arresting me, I got beaten, kicked and had my head hit by the wall and started bleeding. My daughter Aqeela (20 years old) was also beaten by the rifle butt. They searched the house and confiscated computers, 6 mobile phones; most of which belong to my family members, as well as confiscating BD 1700 which was at the house. They continued to beat me on the way to Safrah Camp as well as on the way to Al Grain Prison".

Hassan Mushaima (a political activist and Secretary General of Haq Movement) also got beaten and insulted on the way from Safrah Camp to Al Grain prison.

II. Torture at the National Security Apparatus (Al Qal’ah):

Shaikh Mohammed Habib Al Miqdad: “Some of the torture methods used against me during my stay at the National Security Apparatus headquarters in Al Qal’ah since I was arrested in April for 4 days is the following (I recognized the voice of Shaikh Mirza Al Mahroos while he was being tortured and knew later on that he was subjected to the same treatment that I went through. I also recognized the voice of Hasan Jawad who was there in the same time period):

1. Hung like cattle (bastinado a.k.a. falaka) for several sessions. Every session lasts 3 to 4 hours of beating with water hoses on the soles of the feet and the legs. 2. Use of an electrocution device which is a device that looks like a shaving machine and is placed on your body. They used it on the belly, thighs, below the arm pits, as well as on private parts. 3. Sleep deprivation for several days while you are standing, your hands cuffed behind your back and in a bent position. If you fall on the ground, they left you up by hitting you with hoses (plastic pipes). They continued to beat me for 6 days until I passed out. 4. Use of severe force while slapping on the face in a very painful way to the extent that I felt my jaw and teeth slightly dislocated with bleeding. 5. Verbal abuse and the use of very vile language against me, my wife and my mother. 6. Beating on the soles of the feet then pouring cold water on it to cool it down then continuing to beat on the feet which felt much worse. 7. Beating on the back, the back side of the neck, the thighs, and kicking you on your back. Bruises and scars are still showing all over my body.”

Shaikh Mirza Al Mahroos: “I was held at Al Qal’ah in the same period that Shaikh Al Muqdad was there. I overheard what was happening to him. I was treated the same way he was. I also recognized the voice of Mohammed Hasan Jawad while he was being tortured. There were tens of people in a corridor we were in for a week while we were handcuffed and blindfolded. We hear the torture being committed to everyone. I have made a previous statement regarding what I was subjected to [3].”

Mohammed Hasan Jawad: “After my arrest on 22nd of March I stayed for 15 days in Al Qal’ah prison with other detainees which I could not recognize. I was hung from the hands and beaten with hoses as well as electrocuted on my legs with marks still showing on my body. I was also sexually harassed and they took off my clothes and tried to insert a stick into my anus but I fiercely resisted which resulted in me being beaten severely. On 7th of April I was transferred to Al Grain Prison where they continued to subject me to physical and mental torture especially my first week there.”

Mohammed Ali Ismail: “After my arrest on 23rd of March I was detained for two weeks in Al Qal’ah Prison then I was transferred to the Dry Dock Prison and then to Al Grain Prison on 7th April. There I was subjected to beatings and insults both to my person and to my beliefs. The most painful torture was electrocution at Al Qal’ah Prison during interrogations to extract confessions from me. They poured cold water all over my body while blindfolded and then they beat me with a device that once touches your body, you feel an electric shock which burns the skin and causes severe pain. This continues until I become tired and exhausted. This torture method was repeated several times. In the Dry Dock Prison I met the detainee Ahmed Al Maqabi and he told me that he was electrocuted on his private parts.”

Salah Al Khawajah (political and social activist): “I was arrested in the National Security Apparatus headquarters for 18 days. During this period my eyes were covered 24 hours a day and I was beaten and insulted during interrogations. Then I was transferred to the Dry Dock Prison for a couple of days and then on the 9th of April they transferred me to Al Grain Prison.”

III. Physical and psychological torture at Al Grain Prison:

Ebrahim Sharif: “After my arrest I was taken to a van blindfolded which had 5 other people in it. Of those I recognized was brother Hasan Mushaima. We arrived at the prison at around 5 AM and as soon as we arrived at the prison yard we were insulted with profanity and we were threatened. I heard them say to Hasan Mushaima “Curse you and your twelve Imams”. Afterwords we were taken into a room and they stripped us of our clothes and then we wore them again. I was admitted to ward number 4. With me in the same ward was Shaikh Saeed Al Noori, Dr. Abdul Jalil Al Singace, Shaikh Abdul Hadi Mukhodur, and Al Hurr Al Sameekh who suffered the same ill treatment that I had. It should be noted that while we were in solitary cells, we were able to hear the screams, insults, profanities, and groans. The torture meals started the night of the same day. At first cold water was poured on me and on my sponge bed, pillow, and blanket while the air-conditioner was on and the cells were cold. Sleep was impossible at this condition. Then a masked group (5-6 people) stormed the cell and took turns on slapping, punching, and kicking me in addition to the insults and profanities. They continued like this for a week. They would come twice or thrice daily. In two or three instances they used a plastic hose to hit on the tips of my fingers and on my back. The torture did not aim to extract particular confessions but was a form of punishment and vengeance as well as a way to mentally prepare the detainee for interrogation which only started after 5 days. The torture continued albeit intermittently for two months and even a little after the court sessions started. Insults continued until June. ”

Shaikh Abdul Hadi Al Mokhodur (cleric and a political activist): “In addition to torture with water, insults, profanities, and beatings for 10 days, the National Security officers unleashed dogs in front of our cells while turning the lights off to terrorize us. The dogs were jumping and barking loudly for a long time. Moreover, the National Security officers forced us to stand for 3-4 hours daily. They spat on us and in our mouths and forced us to swallow their spit. If we refuse they would beat us with hoses and humiliate us. They even tried to take off our clothes and did inappropriate moves on us and beat us with hoses. They did not allow us to shower for 10 days and they prevented us from praying several times. They also delayed our meals for several hours. I was in solitary confinement since I was arrested on 17th March until 9th June.”

Dr. Abdul Jalil Al Singace: He adds to the above: “we were told that we are in a Saudi prison. Everyone in the prison was masked the guards (who were not Bahrainis and don’t speak and used signs to communicate except a very few), doctors, nurses, prison officials, and others in addition of course to torturers. The guards (guarding the cells and wards) wore military attire, however, the rest were in civilian clothing. Whenever we were taken out of the ward, we were blindfolded and had our heads covered with a bag to prevent us from seeing and only allowed us to breath. Moreover, during my transfer to Al Grain Prison as well as during the first period in the prison I was sexually harassed. They tried to take down my pants and threatened to do obscenity to me. I was also hit with slippers on my face and head, insulted and humiliated, and had my nipples pulled and my hair pulled (hair on my hands, head, and legs). They beat us on the head with their fists as well as with their triceps. They put a slipper in my mouth and then rubbed it on my face. They hit me on the chest and below the chest. They put a gun on my head and threatened to use it. Throughout my solitary confinement, they took away the cane I use for walking and they did not allow me to use my glasses for more than a month and a half. I was forced to stand on one leg while lifting my hands up for a long time and this was repeated several times a day. I was also beaten all over my body (head, nick, back, stomach, hands, face, and ears). They took off my pans and underpants in an attempt to do obscenity to me. My sect and beliefs were mocked and attacked and I was sleep deprived and threatened repeatedly that they will attack my family (wife and daughters). They threatened to electrocute me and pull off my nails. Throughout the detention period (two months) they did not allow me to communicate with fellow detainees or call my family and lawyer. ”

Shaikh Saeed Al Noori and Al Hurr Al Sumaikh: we were subjected to most of the aforementioned torture methods as we were detained in the same ward and for the same period of time. Moreover, Shaikh Abdul Jalil Al Moqdad who was brought into Al Grain Prison on 27th March, and as he was a big muslim scholar in Bahrain they focused more on humiliating him and mocking his sacred beliefs and swearing as well as beating him with belts on his back where he suffers from a slipped disc. He was tortured by pouring water on his body and bed and they spat on his face and in his mouth.

Shaikh Mohammed Habib Al Moqdad and Shaikh Mirza Al Mahroos after 7 days of torture at the headquarters of the National Security in Al Qal’ah, they were transferred to Al Grain prison where they experienced the same torture methods mentioned above. Al Moqdad added: “I was beaten with a hose all over my body until I start to bleed and blood starts to stain my clothes. They put shoes in my mouth forcefully and this caused my gums to bleed. This repeated several times. My clothes were taken off completely and I was forced to take a prostrate position. Al Mahroos suffered with the same.”

Hassan Mushaima was subjected to much of the above mentioned. He said: “I have many experiences in prisons. While I spent 6 years in prison during the nineties most of which were in solitary confinement and without a trial and I was also arrested in 2007, but the worst experience I had is my current detention. I was subjected to all forms of insults, beatings, humiliation, swearing, torture with water, spitting, and standing continuously for 5 hours or more and other things similar to what other detainees in Al Grain Prison experienced.”

Abdul Wahab Husain and Salah Al Khawaja: they were subjected to the same torture methods that others experienced in the same group especially torture with water, spitting in the mouth, kissing the shoes of torturers under threat of beatings and swearing and profanity at them personally and at their mothers as well as threats of sexual assault on their wives and other women.

Abdul Hadi Al Khawaja: After the surgery I had at the hospital on 9th April, I stayed there for 6 days blindfolded and tightly handcuffed to the bed. Members of National Security come to me at midnight and use vulgar language and threats that I will suffer more beatings and fractures to my bones once I leave the hospital. They also said that my daughter was sexually assaulted and she is detained in Saudi. They also said that I will be sexually assaulted. While the surgery needs 3 weeks of medical care, I was transferred to Al Grain Prison on the 6th day and then they started beating me and insulting me continuously for a long time. I was on hunger strike and refused to take my medications for three days demanding the torture to stop. On the third day I was taken into an interrogation room and was beaten with hoses on my feet and fingers. Then they tied my hands and legs in a stretcher and they forcefully put me on saline. After that the level of torture subdued. We started two hunger strikes after that. This resulted in completely stopping the torture. Every time they take us for torture at midnight they also take other detainees in the other cells. Of those I know who were tortured Mahdi Abu Deeb - the head of the Teachers Association - and Mohammed Al Tajir - the lawyer and political activist who is known for defending the detainees in previous cases.

After information about torture to the detainees in Al Grain Prison was leaked, the administrative crew was replaced and they removed members of the Military Intelligence and the National Security after which conditions in the prison improved dramatically. Mental and physical torture inside the prison stopped completely even though it continued outside of it such as during the sentencing at the courts building on 22nd of June 2011.

IV. Violations related to the interrogations done by the National Security Apparatus, the Military Prosecution and the Royal Court:

As reported, the detainees who were taken at first to the National Security headquarters in Al Qal’ah underwent torture and interrogation such as Shaikh Mohammed Habib, Shaikh Mirza Al Mahroos, Mohammed Hasan Jawad, Mohammed Ali Ismail, and Salah Al Khawajah. The rest were interrogated in Al Grain Prison by interrogators and torturers of the National Security Apparatus. They were subjected to physical and mental torture by the interrogators and torturers and they were mentally and physically tortured before and after the interrogation sessions. In all 14 detained cases, lawyers were not present and the detainees were not able to get legal council from them. The detainee would be handcuffed and blindfolded with a bag covering his head. The interrogation at the Military Prosecution was carried out to some with the presence of a lawyer but in some cases without the presence of a lawyer such as what happened to Al Hur Al Samaikh, Shaikh Abdul Jalil Al Moqdad, Shaikh Mirza Al Mahroos, Shaikh Mohammed Habib Al Moqdad, Mohammed Ali Ismail, and Mohammed Hasan Jawad.

Shaikh Mirza Al Mahroos said in that regard: “When we were taken to the Military Prosecution we were threatened and terrorized throughout the journey from the prison to the prosecution headquarters. This continued in the building itself so when I was taken to the head prosecutor I was reluctant to speak and I did not argue with what was said due to threats. I signed the affidavit without reviewing it and checking what was in it because I feared vengeance when I go back to prison.”

Ebrahim Sharif said: “In the 13th day of detention, I was interrogated by the Military Prosecution and I refused to cooperate with the head prosecutor without the presence of a lawyer. I told prosecution that I was beaten the day before and I asked for legal protection. On the next day I was beaten in the morning and in the evening in my cell because of the complaints I lodged to prosecution and I was threatened with worse beatings if I complained again.”

Dr. Abdul Jalil Al Singace said: “On the 5th and 6th day of detention I was interrogated by members of National Security. They were the same people who interrogated me in the previous known case (the cell of 25). We recognized a number of them and some were high level officials in the apparatus such as Isa Al Noaimi and Bader Ebrahim Al Ghaith. They deliberately tried to remind me of the atmosphere of the previous interrogations at the National Security headquarters in Al Qal’ah. Throughout this, they threatened to use electrocution and they directed torturers to increase torture in the cells whenever my answers during interrogation was not to the liking of the interrogators. After that, I was interrogated by the Military Prosecution after 2 weeks of detention. Another session followed after a week of the first. With me in the second session was Shaikh Abdul Jalil Al Moqdad and he suffered the same treatment that I went through such as beatings on the head with batons and fists while we wait in the waiting room handcuffed, blindfolded, head covered with a bag, in addition to insults and profanities. It should be noted that I was beaten and abused after my first visit to the Military Prosecution where I complained of bad treatment by a masked group who took turns on me in my cell at Al Grain Prison and this continued for days. After the Military Prosecution interrogation, I was interrogated again in prison by two interrogators who withheld their identity and who they are working for and they wore masks. Before that interrogation - which lasted for two sessions - I was threatened with beatings with batons and insults by one of the interrogators.”

Shaikh Abdul Jalil Al Moqdad, Hasan Mushaima, Abdul Wahab Hussain, Dr. Abdul Jalil Al Singace, Shaikh Mohammed Habib Al Moqdad, and Abdul Hadi Al Khawajah all underwent interrogation by a young man who identified himself as the personal representative of the king who wants to directly hear answers from us to some questions. All those mentioned were mistreated with beatings, insults, threats of rape to the detained women, and sexual assault with the aim to extract confessions and apologies recorded on camera.

Dr. Abdul Jalil Al Singace said: “I was taken to an unknown place a villa outside of Al Grain Prison where I was interrogated in two long sessions by someone who claims to be from the Royal Court. On my way to this place I was mistreated with swearing and insults to my wife and daughter and threats of rape. Hasan Mushaima added that he was sexually assaulted.”

Abdul Jalil Al Moqdad said: “I was interrogated for almost 3 hours where I underwent an indescribable amount of humiliation and insults. Shaikh Mohamed Habib Al Moqdad said that he was severely tortured and beaten and they insulted his honor and the honor of his wife by threatening rape if he does not apologize in-front of a video camera.”

Abdul Hadi Al Khawajah said: “After an hour of interrogation by one person, I was asked to record an apology to the king. When I refused I was transferred to another room blindfolded where 4 men started assaulting me sexually. I got away from them and fell on the ground. After that I hit my head on the floor several times until I passed out. I gained consciousness when I was in a car on my way back to prison. I was in bad shape as the left part of my face was damaged which had a surgery made to it on the second day of my detention. I was treated in prison and visited by a doctor the next day. He was the same doctor who performed the surgery and he was upset to see the damages to the surgery area which affected the healing process.”

V. Violations related to trials before the National Safety court (Military Court):

The defendants were brought before a Military Court called the “National Safety” Court headed by a military judge with hearings that took place in the court rooms of the Bahrain Defense Force. All the defendants were civilians in violation to the simplest rights and in contradiction to the internationally known court specialties as civilian defendants in criminal cases should be brought before an independent civilian court that guarantees international standards of fair trials.

The first hearing of the National Safety Court started on 8th May 2011. At this day none of the 14 defendants met a lawyer or had a chance to nominate one. The hearings moved forward in a quick pace (1st June was the last hearing where they announced the verdict) in a way that did not allow the defense to present a thorough case and the defendants were only allowed to meet their lawyers for a very short and intermittent periods of time. The detainees were not allowed to meet their lawyers during the preparation of the pleadings or to get a copy of the pleadings. Moreover, they were only allowed to speak through their lawyers whom they barely speak to. The head judge expelled Abdul Hadi Al Khawajah when he said to the judge that he was threatened and sexually assaulted. The lawyers themselves faced great pressure as they were interrogated as defendants and some of them were banned from traveling outside of Bahrain.

The judge refused to investigate the torture marks which was shown on all the defendants and he did not leave any chance to discuss them during the hearings. It was observed that the trial was semi-private and only those who were allowed by the Bahraini authorities were allowed to enter the court room in a clear violation of the statement issued by the National Safety Court on 8th May 2011 which was published in all forms of Bahraini media that “All the civil society organizations, human rights groups, and media representatives will be allowed to attend the court hearings to demonstrate the Kingdom’s due diligence to its international commitments with regards to human rights”. The court authorities refused to allow a number of independent human rights observers to attend the hearings especially the first one. On 21st April 2011, Front Line vice-president Andrew Anderson who was in a mission in Bahrain was banned from attending the court hearings [4]. On 12th May 2011, the authorities did not allow a member of the British Law Society who was delegated by Front Line to attend the court hearings [5] and was forced to leave under threats of arrest.

Ms Mary Lawlor - CEO of Front Line - was allowed to attend the hearing before the last one but she was not allowed to make a testimony on behalf of Abdul Hadi Al Khawajah and described the trial as show trial [6].

The lawyers had many requests which were denied or were not commented on by the military judge in violation of the defense right and the rights of the defendants to a fair trial. They were the following:

1. The defense for defendant Abdul Hadi Al Khawajah was not allowed to present defense witnesses even though they were present in the hearing which is one of the most important rights to defendants in criminal courts. 2. The defense was not allowed to present a verbal plead during the hearings. The verbal pleading is an important aspect of criminal courts which sheds light on the incident in a way that may change opinion on the claim. 3. The court refusal to include the medical records of detainee Abdul Hadi Al Khawajah which included evidence that he was subjected to severe torture requiring a 4 hours surgery to repair. 4. The defense was not allowed to interrogate the prosecution witnesses even after insisting on doing so. 5. Detainee Abdul Hadi Al Khawaja was not allowed to view the case file and the claims against him even though he officially requested the viewing of the case file.

The Military Prosecution used witnesses from the National Security Apparatus which was the organization responsible for torture and it did not present any evidence of the use of violence or inciting violence by the defendants.

In the same time official media and semi-official media was running a campaign to criminalize and tarnish the reputation of the detainees. The Military Prosecution prevented the defendants, their lawyers, and their families from broadcasting any information related to the trial and the Military Prosecution issued an order banning publishing information related to the case [7]. However, the official media continued its campaign to tarnish the reputation of the defendants and put up banners in streets carrying their pictures and asking for vengeance and execution. Newspapers who are close with the government published their pictures and continuously targeted them and convicted them before the sentencing in a clear violation of the basic principles of a fair trial.

Regarding the treatment at the military courts building, Abdul Jalil Al Singace said: “Every time we were taken to court we were blindfolded and bags are put on our heads in addition to handcuffing us with steel cuffs. We stay in the cars like this and before the hearings for hours we stay in the waiting room with other detainees in other cases. We stay there from the early morning and until the afternoon of that day. We were abused in the waiting room and sometimes they make us stand in the sun.”

Shaikh Mirza Al Mahroos said: “In the hearing that announced the harsh sentences and before getting us out of the cage in the court room, Abdul Hadi Al Khawajah shouted that we will continue the peaceful struggle for freedom and human rights and everyone after that shouted peaceful...peaceful...the people demand freedom. This resulted in the guards forcefully expelling us out of the court room and then we were handcuffed with hands behind our backs and were assaulted by military police. They used batons all over our bodies in addition to insults and inappropriate words and this continued after they took us to the waiting room. I was injured in my right eye in addition to bruises all over my body. Abdul Hadi Al Khawajah was take to the ER at the Military Hospital where he suffered an injury in his face and his left hand. None of the defendants escaped the beatings especially Abdul Wahab Hussain, Hasan Mushaima and Shaikh Mohammed Habib Al Moqdad. After we returned to prison, some of the detainees were assaulted while they were disembarking from the car and before entering the prison gate. We were threatened not to repeat this in the appeal hearings. ”

VI. Vengeance on relatives of the detainees:

Ebrahim Sharif said: “As a result of the case that we were arrested and tried for, my wife was suspended from her work.”. Shaikh Abdul Jalil Al Moqdad had his brother and son (15 years) arrested. Abdul Hadi Al Khawajah said: “On the same day I was arrested, two of my sons-in-law were arrested as they were with me and are Hussain Ahmed (23 years) and Wafi Al Majid (30 years). They are still detained without a charge or trial. My wife Khadija Al Sayed Habib was fired from her job as an administrative officer in a private school by orders from the ministry of Interior. My sister Fatema Al Khawajah was also fired from her job at the national radio.”

Dr. Abdul Jalil Al Singace stated: “My eldest son Husain (29 years) was arrested and they fabricated fake charges and he is on trial now after waiting two months without a trial and experiencing a great deal of torture with beatings, body-suspension and electrocution to extract confessions from him and to implicate others. His wife was fired from her job as a teacher at the Ministry of Education after she was interrogated at the Criminal Investigations Unit and was subjected to beatings, insults, and abuses in addition to being interrogated by the Ministry of Education officials. She was fired for no reason other than being the wife of the son of Abdul Jalil Al Singace. Moreover, my other son and daughter were detained and interrogated for hours and were subjected to maltreatment before being released later on.”

It should be noted that most of these activists spent more than six months in prison between August 2010 and February 2011 in similar conditions of abuse, torture, and incommunicado. That was the result of a previous security crack-down after a seminar in the House of Lords in London [8] where some of them participated and shed lights on the grave deterioration of human rights in Bahrain. They were brought before a trial that did not finish following similar claims of attempting to overthrow the regime but were released in a general pardon [9] by the end of February 2011 under pressure from the popular revolution at the time. They were later on rearrested in March less than a month after their release. For more details on the previous case refer to the previous case file [10].

Based on the above, Bahrain Center for Human Rights strongly condemns the harsh sentences and strives to overturn them based on the violations witnessed in this unfair trial and the expedited hearings which started since the announcement of the state of National Safety (Martial law) on mid-March in Bahrain and after the large peaceful protests that demanded freedom and democracy.

Bahrain Center for Human Rights thinks these trials are politically motivated and for show which aims to stop the demands for freedom, democracy, and human rights. The center thinks that these trials are the continuation of the brutal crackdown against peaceful protestors and their legitimate demands in addition to being not compliant with international standards of fair trials. There were international condemnations of these harsh sentences including a statement by UN Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-moon

Bahrain Center for Human Rights demands the following:

* We call upon the international community and especially human rights groups and United Nations institutions concerned with human rights to immediately intervene for the release of the prisoners of conscience and human rights activists in Bahrain. * Halting the trials of hundreds of protestors, medical professionals, and activists and creating an environment that encourages dialog that fulfills the hopes of the Bahraini people. * The immediate release of the 21 sentenced activists because they are prisoners of conscience. * The investigation into claims of systematic torture and bringing those implicated to fair justice. * Revealing the identities and names of the National Security Apparatus officers and military officers who committed torture and prosecuting them. * Withdrawing all sentences of the National Safety Court in all cases and suspending all cases involving peaceful assembly or freedom of expression. * The complete separation of the judiciary from the executive power. * Meeting international standards in trials of cases that involves the demands of freedom and democracy.

Names of sentenced detainees and the length of sentence:

1. Abdul Wahab Husain Ali Ahmed, age: 57, sentence: life, date of arrest: 16th March 2011. 2. Hasan Ali Hasan Mohamed Mushaima, age: 64, sentence: life, date of arrest: 16th March 2011. 3. Mohammed Habib Al Moqdad, age: 48, sentence: life, date of arrest: 1st April 2011 (previously detained between 13th August 2010 and 28th February 2011). 4. Ebrahim Sharif Abdul Rahman Mosa, age: 54, sentence: 5 years, date of arrest: 16th March 2011. 5. Abdul Jalil Radhi Al Moqdad, age: 51, sentence: life, date of arrest: 27th March 2011. 6. Saeed Mirza Al Noori, age: 49, sentence: life, date of arrest: 16th March 2011 (previously detained between 13th August 2010 and 28th February 2011). 7. Abdul Hadi Abdulla Al Mokhodur, age: 39, sentence: 15 years, date of arrest: 16th March 2011 (previously detained between 13th August 2010 and 28th February 2011). 8. Abdulla Isa Al Mahroos (Mirza Al Mahroos), age: 41, sentence: 15 years, date of arrest: 16th march 2011 (previously detained between 13th August 2010 and 28th February 2011). 9. Abdul Hadi Abdulla Al Khawajah, age: 50, sentence: life, date of arrest: 9th April 2011. 10. Salah Abdulla Al Khawajah, age: 48, sentence: 15 years, date of arrest: 21st March 2011. 11. Mohammed Hasan Jawad, age: 64, sentence: 15 years, date of arrest: March 2011. He was briefly detained in 2010. 12. Mohammed Ali Ismail, age: 51, sentence: 15 years, date of arrest: March 2011. 13. Al Hurr Yousif Al Somaikh, age: 30, sentence: 2 years, date of arrest: March 2011. (previously detained between 13th August 2010 and 28th February 2011). 14. Dr. Abdul Jalil Al Singace, age: 48, sentence: life, date of arrest: 16th March 2011. (previously detained between 13th August 2010 and 28th February 2011).

Names of those sentenced in absentia and length of sentence: 1. Sayed Aqeel Al Mahfoodh, age: 48, sentence: 15 years (previously detained between 13th August 2010 and 28th February 2011). 2. Ali Abdul Imam, age: 36, sentence: 15 years (previously detained between 13th August 2010 and 28th February 2011). 3. Abdul Ghani Al Khanjar, age: 39, sentence: 15 years (previously detained between 13th August 2010 and 28th February 2011). 4. Saeed Abdul Nabi Al Shahabi, age: 57, sentence: life. 5. Abbas Abdul Aziz Al Omran, age: 42, sentence: 15 years. 6. Ali Hasan Mushaima, age: 33, sentence: 15 years. 7. Abdul Raoof Al Shayeb, age: 50 years, sentence: 15 years.

The official charges according to Bahrain News Agency:

“According to the sentence and based on the charges to the 21 defendants which included many crimes related to forming and running an outlaw group to overthrow the regime and preventing it from damaging national unity under the name of (Alliance for the republic) that affects the security and stability. Joining outlaw organizations and calling for the change of the constitution by force and attacking public property, and cooperating with a foreign country and providing it with information relating to Bahrain for the purpose of aggression. Taking orders to create chaos and trying to overthrow the royal regime by halting the country and destabilizing it. Moreover, collecting funds for terrorist activities and the promotion of the idea of regime change through speeches, international networks, and inciting hatred towards the regime. Furthermore, broadcasting rumors to terrorize people and publicizing stories of sectarian discrimination and encouraging halting work through unlicensed demonstrations and strikes. And carrying publications and pamphlets that promote the idea of over throwing the regime through illegitimate means. And publicizing rumors to undermine the authority of the state through fake and fabricated news. ”

http://www.bna.bh/portal/news/461917

More information on their trial

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[1] http://www.bna.bh/portal/news/461917 [2] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_O2nhi7iGI [3] https://www.facebook.com/notes/nabeel-rajab.. [4]http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/ar/node/14985 [5]http://www.bchr.net/ar/node/4074 [6]http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/ar/node/15254 [7] http://www.alwasatnews.com/3126/news/read/534737/1.html [8]http://www.bahrainrights.org/ar/node/3215 [9]http://www.elaph.com/Web/news/2011/2/633998.html [10] http://www.bahrainrights.org/ar/node/3708