27th Regular Session Human Rights Council - NABEEL RAJAB

Bahrain: Rights Activist Speaks Out Before Arrest

30 Aug, 2014

Leading Human Rights Defender Maryam Al-Khawaja Detained Upon Arrival to Bahrain

--UPDATE--

The authorities have stated that Maryam Al-Khawaja will appear before a judge on the morning of 31 August 2014. No information has been provided regarding the charges against her.

--

The Bahrain Center for Human rights expresses its grave concern over the denial of entry to human rights defender and co-director of the Gulf Center for Human rights, Maryam al-Khawaja, to her native country Bahrain.

Maryam al-Khawaja decided to fly to Bahrain to visit her father, the detained human rights defender, Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja who began an open hunger strike on August, 26. Al-Khawaja's health has been rapidly deteriorating and there is urgent concern for his well-being. (Read more: http://bahrainrights.org/en/node/7013)

Upon the arrival to Bahrain airport hours earlier, Maryam al-Khawaja was told by security forces that she doesn't have Bahraini citizenship. Al-Khawaja's Danish passport was taken and she was told to close her mobile phone or it would be confiscated.

Maryam al-Khawaja sent us the below message:

"If this letter has gone public then it means that the Bahraini authorities have not let me into the country. Due to this, I have decided to launch a water-only hunger strike and to refuse to leave the Bahraini airport. I will continue the hunger strike until I am allowed in to Bahrain to see my father.
I want to make it clear that I refuse any and all food or treatment during my hunger strike.
Sincerely,
Maryam Al-Khawaja"

The BCHR calls on the Bahraini authorities to immediately allow Maryam al-Khawaja to access to her family and lawyer and allow her in her country Bahrain.

#انقذوا حسين #SaveHussain #البحرين #Bahrain

Nabeel Rajab discusses the continuing demonstrations in Bahrain

Nabeel Rajab

6 Jun, 2014

Bahrain: Urgent Appeal: Redha AlGhasra at Risk

Redha AlGhasra

The BCHR is alarmed by the news relayed by Redha AlGhasra's family that he is held in cell with an inmate who has Pulmonary Tuberculosis, which is highly infectious. This comes after AlGhasra has already been subjected to different types of harassment, ill-treatment and reported torture.

The family of Redha AlGhasra informed the BCHR that they visited AlGhasra yesterday, Thursday 05 June 2014, and informed them that an inmate who suffers from Pulmonary Tuberculosis has been placed with him in the cell. Since his arrest, Redha has been in been placed in solitary confinement in a medical isolation ward where he is constantly guarded by Special Forces commandos. He told his family during the visit on 25 May 2014 that he has not been allowed to shower, or obtain personal hygene products since being detained, despite an order from Officer Jassim Al-Mulla on 12 May 2014 that he be allowed to. AlGhasra was allowed to shave only because he refused to attend the visit unless he was permitted to do so. He was hadcuffed during the entire visit, and not been allowed to receive any money.

The BCHR Medical Consultant said:

"Tuberculosis (TB) is spread through the air from one person to another. The TB bacteria is released into the air when the person infected with the disease of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, speaks or sings. People in the vicinity may breathe in this bacteria and get infected. TB in correctional facilities is a public health concern. For example, approximately 4-6% of TB cases reported in the United States occur among people incarcerated at the time of the diagnosis. The incarcerated population contains a high proportion of people at greater risk for TB than the overall population. Without treatment, TB can be fatal. Untreated active disease typically affects lungs, but can spread to other parts of the body through the bloodstream."

The BCHR is especially concerned that should Redha AlGhasra be infected with TB, give the systematic denial of access to adequate medical treatment, the infection may be fatal.

Previous BCHR statement on Redha AlGhasra:

--Update 26/05/2014--

Yesterday, 25 May 2014, Redha Al-Ghasra’s family was able to visit Redha in prison for the second time since his arrest on 23 April 2014. Redha's family reported that they noticed several marks of torture on Redha's body. They stated that they could see bruising, scratches, and lacerations on his chest that appeared to have not been treated. Redha also reported that he had severe pain in his ear as a result of torture. 

Redha was brought to the family visit twenty minutes late. His hands and ankles were shackled and attached together, which did not allow him enough mobility to hold the phone without crouching. The family was not allowed any privacy: Redha and his family were both surrounded by four police officers and because they were separated by a thick glass barrier, they had to conduct their conversation through a phone. The family’s conversation was also broadcasted through speakers in the room.

Since his arrest, Redha has been in been placed in solitary confinement in a medical isolation ward where he is constantly guarded by Special Forces commandos. He told his family that he has not been allowed to shave, shower, or obtain personal hygene products since being detained, despite an order from Officer Jassim Al-Mulla on 12 May 2014 that he be allowed to.

Redha's sister stated that she had phoned the prison for three consecutive days prior to the family’s first visit, but a police officer reportedly told her that Redha refused to speak to them. During the family’s first visit on 15 May 2014, Redha reported that he had not been permitted to call or have visits.

The family also reported that they deposited money for use at the prison store into Redha’s account on 15 May 2014; however, yesterday the family was informed that the transfer was not completed.

----

 The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses grave concern in regards to the health and well-being of Hassan Sabah Al-BanaaRedha Al-Ghasra, and seven others (listed below) arrested by the Bahraini government on Wednesday, 23 April 2014. Al-Ghasra’s family informed the BCHR that they received a seconds long phone call in which Al-Ghasra was only able to say hello and that he was fine before the line was cut; a member of family reported that Al-Ghasra’s voice sounded very weak. The BCHR has documented a pattern of these types of telephone calls as a common practice during episodes in which the detainees report that they are subjected to torture.

The family protested outside the Criminal Investigations Department on the day of his arrest. Officers outside the building threatened the family, stating that if any pictures of their protest in front of the CID is broadcast, Al-Ghasra will not be allowed to contact them. The photo below, of Al-Ghasra’s mother, is included at the specific request of the family.

Al-Banaa and Al-Ghasra reportedly escaped from Jaw Central Prison at three o’clock in the morning on Tuesday, 22 April. While serving his prison sentence, Al-Ghasra was reportedly denied rights allocated to other prisoners. He had his hands and feet chained, and was not allowed access to books nor able to purchase supplies from the prison store. During his entire imprisonment period, Al-Ghasra was either in solitary confinement or in a locked cell with two criminal prisoners in a three meter by two and a half meter cell, and not allowed to go outdoors or interact with other political prisoners.

Given the previously documented force used against Al-Ghasra, and the pattern of arrests and subsequent systematic torture documented by the BCHR, the BCHR believes he is at serious risk for ill-treatment and torture. Prior to his 22 May 2013 arrest, Al- Ghasra was arrested twice, once in May 2011 and again in April 2012. During his last arrest, Al-Ghasra refused to speak of the worst torture he endured. However, he did give details including how everyday during his reported torture, all the officers present would spit into his mouth. He was also subjected to beatings on his face that resulted in several broken teeth as well as beating with sandals on his face that resulted in swelling that lasted for approximately two months. The severe swelling was witnessed by his family during their first visit to Al-Ghasra. Al-Ghasra told sources who spoke to the BCHR that during the torture he was subjected to he would reach points during which he “would wish for death.” Even when the torture stopped, he was in continuous pain. From the date of his arrest to the date of his escape, he was not allowed access to any kind of medical treatment.

The Al-Ghasra family has been repeatedly targeted by the authorities. Their home has been subjected to at least 70 house raids in a two-year period [1]. Two of Al-Ghasra’s brothers, Sadiq and Hassan, both under the age of 21, are currently in juvenile prison, and two of his other brothers are exiled and unable to return to Bahrain.

In a video capturing sound reportedly made during his May 2013 arrest, Al-Ghasra can clearly be heard screaming from severe beating. In December 2012, the government’s targeting took a reportedly more serious turn when Al-Ghasra was fired upon by the security forces at close range with shotgun pellets. Both he and his friend, Aqeel Abdulmohsen, were targeted with a gunshot from a close distance that led to his injury in the shoulder, while Aqeel’s face was dramatically injured [2].

Warning: Graphic Content

Link to the photo of Abdulmosheen’s injury.

Bahraini officials also arrested Sayed Mohammed Sayed Mohammed, Ahmed Saeed Ali Zahair, Hassan Ali Hussain, Hussain Jassim Ali Jassim, Sayeed Alawi Sayeed Taleb, Ahmed Maatouq Ebrahim Aliand Jaffar Ali Mattouq, who is blind; all of these individuals were previously wanted by the Bahraini government. Following his arrest, Al-Ghasra’s father and brother were called in for interrogation by in relation to his whereabouts, their lawyer announced hours later their release.

The BCHR believes that due to unsatisfactory prison conditions, previously documented cases of torture and excessive use of force, and psychological intimidation, the lives of Al-Ghasra, Al-Banaa, and the seven other arrestees’ lives are potentially at great risk.

 

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls on the United Kingdom, the United States, and all other close allies of the Bahraini government to pressure the authorities in Bahrain to:

  • Immediately release Al-Ghasra, A-Banaa, and all other prisoners who are held on politically motivated charges due to the ongoing popular protests for freedom and democracy;
  • End the practice of torture and excessive use of force and uphold Article Five as a signatory of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
  • Adhere to the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and end the practice of denying prisoners fair treatment.
  • Not place inmates with highly infectuous diseases in the same cells with other prisoners.

 

The BCHR holds the Bahraini authorities responsible for the life and well-being of Redha Abdullah Isa Al-Ghasra, Hassan Sabah Al-Banaa, Sayed Mohammed Sayed Mohammed Ahmed Saee Ali Zahair, Hassan Ali Hussain, Hussain Jassim Ali Jassim, Sayeed Alawi Sayeed Taleb, Ahmed Maatouq Ebrahim Ali, and Jaffar Ali Mattouq.

 

[1] http://www.bahrainrights.org/en/node/6146

[2]http://manamavoice.com/index.php?plugin=news&act=news_read&id=11436, http://bahrainrights.org/en/node/5551 

5 Jun, 2014

Bahrain: Public Prosecution Fabricates New Case to Prevent Release of Mansoor AlJamri

Mansoor AlJamri at a solidarity gathering with political prisoners

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses serious concern in regards to the practice by the Public Prosecution in Bahrain in bringing new charges against detainees to avoid releasing them. In the most recent case, Mansoor AlJamri, 19 years old, had a new case brought against him yesterday, and according to information relayed to the BCHR by the family, the Public Prosecution ordered that he be detained for 60 days pending investigation under the internationally criticized Terrorism Law.

Mansoor AlJamri was arrested on the 9th of January 2014 along with Ahmed AlArab and Hussain AlGhasrah after a dawn house raid at the home of AlGhasrah in Hamad Town. AlJamri had been in hiding since his release from prison in Sep 2012. During his previous arrest in April 2012, AlJamri was reportedly subjected to beatings and torture, after which he was sentenced to 6 months in prison. Despite his young age, AlJamri was unable to graduate high school due to fear of getting arrested again if he attended his classes. During the recent arrest, AlJamri was severely beaten and told to give information about the whereabouts of Ahmed AlArab. After AlArab was found in the same house as AlJamri during the raid, a police officer reportedly told AlJamri "Don't think you will ever get out of jail. We found AlArab and you didn't help. My gift to you will be to make sure you never get out of prison."

After his arrest, AlJamri was at the CID for four days, where he was held incommunicado and reportedly tortured. Part of the torture he endured was severe beatings, deprivation of sleep, and he was not allowed to shower or pray. The charge brought against Aljamri was aiding a fugitive.

On the morning of Wednesday, 4th June 2014, prison guards went to Mansoor AlJamri at the Dry Docks prison and told him to go with them to the Public Prosecution. AlJamri had a hearing two days ago, but was not informed that the judge had issued a decision for his release. When AlJamri refused to go with them, they showed him a letter from the Public Prosecutor ordering them to bring him by force if he refuses to go. The policeman reportedly told AlJamri: "We have riot police waiting outside, if you don't come with us now, I'll call them in." Knowing the consequences of having to deal with riot police, AlJamri went with them. During the entire ride to the public prosecution, AlJamri was handcuffed from behind, and he was forced to put his head between his knees. The handcuffs were tightened so that they left marks on his wrists, and the police sitting on both sides of him in the car leaned on his back causing him further pain.

At the Public Prosecution, AlJamri was not provided with a lawyer, and the prosecutor reportedly ridiculed AlJamri saying: "You think you will be released? We have a new case for you. You injured the left hip of a police officer." AlJamri was told to "confess" to this charge, as well as to implicate other youth under the same charge. He was provided with names, and when AlJamri said he did not know any of them, or of any policeman with an injured hip, he was ridiculed again by the prosecutor who reiterated that AlJamri will not be released. AlJamri was then returned to the Dry Docks detention center after an order from the prosecutor to detain him for 60 days pending investigation under the internationally criticized Terrorism Law.

Mansoor AlJamri is not the first detainee who has had new charges brought against him to prevent his release. In one example, Mohammed Mirza Rabie, was ordered released by a judge, but new charges were brought against him to prevent his release. Each time one of his cases was sent to an appeal court, the judge dismissed the case, citing a lack of credible evidence. Every time his lawyer moved to have him released from detention, another charge was brought against him. In total, over eleven cases were brought up against Rabie. Younis and Sadiq Ashour were both arrested in September 2011 from Samaheej mosque. Every time there was a decision for their release they would be taken to the police station to be picked up by their parents, but then the parents would be informed that a new case has been brought against them and they will not be released.

The BCHR believes that this continued targeting of specific youth who, like Mansoor AlJamri, are bloggers, participate in protests and/or assist with documentation for local NGO's, is a practice to punish them for practicing their basic rights. Creating new charges against detainees to prevent them from being released is a clear result of the culture of impunity that is implemented by the highest levels of government. The BCHR has documented numerous cases in which police officers tell victims that there is no law, and they will make sure the victims do not get out of prison. The implication of the Public Prosecution in human rights violations is especially concerning; showing the continued cooperation between the police and the Public Prosecution in the violations committed.

Based on the information provided above, the BCHR calls on the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Nations and all other close allies and relevant international institutions to pressure the Government of Bahrain to:

1. Immediately and unconditionally release Mansoor AlJamri and all other political prisoners in Bahrain, and drop all charges against them.

2. Immediately start a process of reforming the Judiciary.

3. Hold to account any and all officials, especially those in senior positions, who have participated in, ordered and/or overseen the practice of human rights violations.

4. Immediately start providing rehabilitation and reparations for all victims of torture.

Bahrain: A System of Injustice

مقابلة مع رئيس مركز البحرين لحقوق الانسان نبيل رجب بعد مع قناة RT May 26, 2014 14:29