Bahraini students still in jail: More than a month after BICI report confirmed illegitimacy of military sentences and the use of torture to force confessions

Student arrests ongoing 10 months after UOB thug attack

01 Jan 2012

Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) strongly condemns the ongoing violations against university students in Bahrain and the continued detention of several university students even after the release of confirmed information that arrests have occurred due to people exercising their legitimate rights of expressing their freedom of opinion and peaceful assembly. The published reports pointed to the arbitrariness in the procedures of detention, unfair trials and lack of due process, and the occurrence of torture on a large scale. Since March 13, when students at the University of Bahrain (UOB) were attacked by government-sponsored thugs backed by security forces, authorities’ violations on students never stopped. Students are still being arrested, as six students are still detained after being sentenced in military court to 15 years in prison. Dozens of students cannot resume their studies as they are still expelled and more than a hundred are awaiting trials.

The Bahraini revolution, like all revolutions in the Arab world, has been organized and made by youth, including university students. Therefore, students have been a target for the authorities since the first days of February 14. Ali Al Moamen, who was an engineering student at the University of Bahrain, was brutally killed by the Bahraini regime making him one of the first martyrs of the revolution.

The attack on students on March 13 was the start of a crackdown on the entire movement. Government-sponsored thugs attacked students at the University of Bahrain which resulted into many injuries and at least one has been reported to have become a permanent disability. Although many videos were released back in March, April and May of the attack on the students, new videos have been released recently evidently showing the attacks by thugs holding sticks and swords on students while following them in campus as university security and riot police stood to the side of the thugs and took no action to protect the students.

Video footage of thugs attack on students in the University of Bahrain

Although Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), appointed by the King, have taken testimonies of dozens of students, stated in paragraph 1458 – Page 358, that “It is unclear who instigated or participated in the violent clashes and vandalism that occurred on campus at this time”, those who are being penalized and attacked are pro-democracy students only.

According to reports and emerged photos of the attack, some of those involved in the attack on the university are actually pro-government figures including famous sports players Saeed Johar and Abdulla Waheed. However no investigation has been conducted with any of them. BCHR believes that the attackers of the university are another showcase of impunity guaranteed to those who violate human rights in Bahrain, as highlighted by the UN High commissioner of human rights in her latest statement regarding Bahrain “Such impunity – at all levels – is a serious impediment to national reconciliation.”[1]

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Also, testimonies of foreign professors on the events in universities (UOB and Bahrain Polytechnic) have been published that further confirm the brutal attack on pro-democracy protesters by pro-government outsiders who were guaranteed access to the university by the security.

Read Testimonies of:

Michael Diboll: Former University Professor's Testimony of March 13 University of Bahrain Incident

Tony Mitchell: Former instructor in Bahrain Polytechnic: Bahrain’s Uprising


Appeal hearing of UOB students sentenced to 15 years in prison in unfair trial


Jasim Al Hulaibi (19), Yousif Ahmed (20), Jassim Mukhodher (20), Shawqi Radhi (22), Jassim Mahari (24) and Mohammed Taqi (19) have been sentenced in the military court to 15 years in prison for participating in the violent thug attack on UOB. According to family members, there is no solid evidence against them. In contrary, there are evidence that most were off campus on the day of the attack. Five of these students have been detained since April and May and have been subjected to torture and ill-treatment by the authorities. Confessions were taken from them under torture as they still undergo bad treatment while in detention.

BICI report[2] has as well confirmed the lack of evidences that prove the involvement of any student in violent acts. In its finding (paragraph 1492) BICI states that "In respect of photographic evidence, the Commission did not see any photographs in the university‘s investigative files that established that a particular student had participated in a violent, criminal or disruptive act on the university campus."

BICI report as well as local[3] and international Human Rights organizations have confirmed that the arrests happened as part of punitive campaign against protesters on the back of the exercise of legitimate rights to express opinion and peaceful assembly, pointing to the arbitrariness in the procedures of detention, unfair trials and lack of due process, and the occurrence of torture on a large scale to force confessions.

BICI has reported testimonies that confirm the use of torture to force detainees to confess crimes at the University of Bahrain. Case 57 of BICI report which states that the victim was “taken to an interrogation room where he was told to confess to his crimes. When he did not respond “correctly”, he was beaten with sticks on his spine and head. They told him, “Confess you donkey; confess you son of a temporary marriage.” After some time, the nature of his interrogation changed and they told him to confess to specific crimes relating to the 14 February events. He was beaten severely with metal objects and told to confess to crimes at the University of Bahrain. He was electrocuted and beaten on his head and genitals. He fainted and woke up in a hospital. Once awake, he was taken back to the interrogation room and beaten. His nose was broken. He was hung until he fainted. He awoke and heard an officer ordering people to electrocute him in his genitals. The detainee told the officer to write any confession and he would sign it, which he did. He remained at the CID for another three days during which time he was insulted, beaten and electrocuted. His hands were cut with a knife and the wounds rubbed with pepper and lemon, resulting in severe pain. He was not aware of his location at the time and only became aware after his transfer to Asri prison / detention centre”.

Similar treatment of torture and threats were confirmed in Case 44, the victim was arrested “for charges including breaking into a building at the university, beating students, trying to overthrow the GoB and participating in an assembly of more than five people. He was subjected to beatings and electric shocks, he was strapped to a chair and beaten on the bottom of his feet (falaka), and forced headfirst into a toilet. The conditions were harsh and unhygienic. He was forced to sign a confession while he was blindfolded and unable to read the three pages of charges.” (Detailed testimonies below)

The government of Bahrain admitted the use of torture[4] by some of its personnel and said compensations will be given to victims[5]. However, instead of immediately releasing the victims, such as these students, their detention and trial goes on. Their first appeal hearing was held on 2 January and then postponed to 5 March 2012.

More about: UOB students sentenced to 15 years (personal account of the six students)


Students still getting arrested 10 months after March 13 incident


Mohammed AbdulJalil Al Fardan, a student in the University of Bahrain – Teacher College, was arrested in March and released in July with no charges pressed against him. On 25 December, his house in Hamad Town was raided to be re-arrested and accused of participating in the violence attack on students on March 13. Mohammed was accused of allegedly beating a pro-government student that appears in a video released months after the event by Ministry of Interior (MOI). BCHR condemns all forms of violence against individuals, however, questions the re-arrests and accusation of students after 10 months of the actual event.

More than 100 students awaiting trials and more than 60 expelled


A Bahraini lawyer has stated that more than 100 university students are awaiting trials. The main charges against them are crimes of exercising “Freedom of Expression and peaceful assembly” as they are accused of “participating in illegal assembly” and “inciting hatred towards the regime”. Also, 64 students are still expelled, despite BICI stating in paragraph 1494 – page 347, that the expulsion of university students “related to the events of February/March 2011 were of such an extreme nature”. The report also indicated that the investigative committees that took expulsion decisions relied upon “hearsay and circumstantial evidence”, paragraph 1491 – page 364. Though Bahrain has announced drop of charges related to freedom of expression[6], in 34 cases , in reality almost everyone is accused of “illegal gathering” a charge that has not been dropped despite direct connection to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.
Bahrain Center for Human Rights appeals to the international community to call for an end to the human rights crimes against university students in Bahrain and to pressure the government of Bahrain to take urgent actions to:

- Immediately release detained university students, especially, Jawad Al Mahari, Jasim Al Hulaibi, Jasim Mukhodher, Shawqi Radhi, Yousif Ahmed and Mohammed Al Fardan - Drop all charges against students who are awaiting trials, as well the students already sentenced which includes 6 students sentenced to 15 years imprisonment through unfair trials in the military court - Stop arresting students and raiding their homes - Reinstate all students who have not been reinstated


Testimonies of Torture to confess crimes at University of Bahrain, as documented on BICI report

Case 44 Page: 468 Date of statement: 28 August 2011

Statement: The detainee was arrested on 20 March 2011 at his apartment when masked men in plain clothes entered his residence and asked him, “Where is your gun?” He was taken to a prison at ground level where he was blindfolded, beaten and handcuffed with his arms above his head. He had no sense of time and was forced to stand for long hours. Interrogators attempted to force him to admit that he had a gun. On the first day, he had no water, food or access to a toilet. Food was supplied on the second day. He was slapped in the face, which caused much swelling, and photographs were taken that would verify the mistreatment. On the third or fourth day, electric shocks were applied every 30 or 40 minutes to his shoulders, arms, nipples and penis, causing great pain. He was forced to face the wall and was kicked and beaten. On the last day, interrogators threatened that he would not see his family and sexual threats were made against his wife and mother. He was released on the sixth day.

The detainee was arrested again on 4 May and released on 10 July for charges including breaking into a building at the university, beating students, trying to overthrow the GoB and participating in an assembly of more than five people. He was subjected to beatings and electric shocks, he was strapped to a chair and beaten on the bottom of his feet (falaka), and forced headfirst into a toilet. The conditions were harsh and unhygienic. He was forced to sign a confession while he was blindfolded and unable to read the three pages of charges.

On 25 March 2011, commandos, riot police and masked men in plain clothes broke into the witness‘s home and ransacked his bedroom. They broke personal items, including his computer and mobile phone, and stole BD 200. He was taken a short distance in a car and then beaten by a large group of people. He was subsequently transferred to another car and beaten until he reached the CID. Upon entering the CID, he was blindfolded and beaten with various objects. He was then taken to an interrogation room where he was told to confess to his crimes. When he did not respond ―correctly‖, he was beaten with sticks on his spine and head. They told him, ―Confess you donkey; confess you son of a temporary marriage.‖ After some time, the nature of his interrogation changed and they told him to confess to specific crimes relating to the 14 February events. He was beaten severely with metal objects and told to confess to crimes at the University of Bahrain. He was electrocuted and beaten on his head and genitals.

He fainted and woke up in a hospital. Once awake, he was taken back to the interrogation room and beaten. His nose was broken. He was hung until he fainted. He awoke and heard an officer ordering people to electrocute him in his genitals. The detainee told the officer to write any confession and he would sign it, which he did. He remained at the CID for another three days during which time he was insulted, beaten and electrocuted. His hands were cut with a knife and the wounds rubbed with pepper and lemon, resulting in severe pain. He was not aware of his location at the time and only became aware after his transfer to Asri prison / detention centre. After three days at the CID the detainee was transferred to Asri prison / detention centre.

He could not walk so he crawled on his knees and was dragged around by prison officers on the floor. He was also routinely handcuffed and beaten, particularly at night. At Asri prison / detention centre, he would be beaten before breakfast, then allowed to eat, then told to stand until lunch, then allowed eat, and then told to stand until dinner. He was beaten before and after dinner and again before bedtime. He was blindfolded and handcuffed the whole time. He remained handcuffed for a total of 13 days and was only allowed to sleep from midnight until 05:00.

He was also prevented from praying. His torturers verbally abused him, insulted Shia, threatened to rape him and his family, called him an animal and forced him to make animal noises. The detainee was held at Dry Dock Detention Centre from 9 April until 8 August. He was not tortured there but he was verbally abused.

Case 57 Page: 476 Date of statement: 20 August 2011

Statement: On 25 March 2011, commandos, riot police and masked men in plain clothes broke into the witness’ home and ransacked his bedroom. They broke personal items, including his computer and mobile phone, and stole BD 200. He was taken a short distance in a car and then beaten by a large group of people. He was subsequently transferred to another car and beaten until he reached the CID.

Upon entering the CID, he was blindfolded and beaten with various objects. He was then taken to an interrogation room where he was told to confess to his crimes. When he did not respond “correctly”, he was beaten with sticks on his spine and head. They told him, “Confess you donkey; confess you son of a temporary marriage.” After some time, the nature of his interrogation changed and they told him to confess to specific crimes relating to the 14 February events. He was beaten severely with metal objects and told to confess to crimes at the University of Bahrain. He was electrocuted and beaten on his head and genitals. He fainted and woke up in a hospital. Once awake, he was taken back to the interrogation room and beaten. His nose was broken. He was hung until he fainted. He awoke and heard an officer ordering people to electrocute him in his genitals. The detainee told the officer to write any confession and he would sign it, which he did. He remained at the CID for another three days during which time he was insulted, beaten and electrocuted. His hands were cut with a knife and the wounds rubbed with pepper and lemon, resulting in severe pain. He was not aware of his location at the time and only became aware after his transfer to Asri prison / detention centre.

After three days at the CID the detainee was transferred to Asri prison / detention centre. He could not walk so he crawled on his knees and was dragged around by prison officers on the floor. He was also routinely handcuffed and beaten, particularly at night. At Asri prison / detention centre, he would be beaten before breakfast, then allowed to eat, then told to stand until lunch, then allowed eat, and then told to stand until dinner. He was beaten before and after dinner and again before bedtime. He was blindfolded and handcuffed the whole time. He remained handcuffed for a total of 13 days and was only allowed to sleep from midnight until 05:00. He was also prevented from praying. His torturers verbally abused him, insulted Shia, threatened to rape him and his family, called him an animal and forced him to make animal noises. The detainee was held at Dry Dock Detention Centre from 9 April until 8 August. He was not tortured there but he was verbally abused.


---- [1]http://www.ohchr.org/en/NewsEvents/Pa.. [2]BICI report [3]Bahraini ngos report [4]HRW Report [5]http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/middl.. [6]http://gulfnews.com/news/gu..