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Bahrain: religious persecution continues, calls to investigate torture

In a flagrant attack on religious freedom, the Alkhalifa regime has summoned the heads[1]of three Hussaini Oration Centres to attend the prosecution centre where many others had been tortured before. The heads of Bin Khamis and Sanabis mourning halls have been asked to attend the prosecutor’s office, which has become one of the main abusers of human rights in Bahrain. This follows the strong public participation in the mourning processions in the past few days to mark the Arba’een (Fourtieth Day after Imam Hussain’s martyrdom). Some anti-regime sentiments were expressed in those processions as people remembered their own dead, wounded and imprisoned by the Alkhalifa enemy.

Meanwhile the attacks on native Bahrainis have continued. In the early hours of this morning at least five[2] people were arrested; Sayed Mohammad Sayed Aqeel Al Mousawi, Salman Al Mawt, Baqir Ibrahim Khamis, Ali Hassan Al Tabbal and Hussain Ra’id from Sanabis.

The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights has issued a special report on the abuse of children[3] by the ruling Alkhalifa clan. It mentioned two boys aged thirteen years; Sayed Hashim Alawi and Sayed Tamim Majid. On 7th December they were arrested for taking part in anti-regime protests, but their detention has been repeatedly renewed and are still behind bars. They were accused of planning to overthrow the Alkhalifa regime by force. On 20th December Amnesty International issued an Urgent Action[4] about the two boys. It said: “Cousins Sayed Tameem Majed Ahmad Majed and Sayed Hashim Alwai Ahmad Majed  were arrested on 7 December in the north-western village of Bani Jamra, and taken to the police station in al-Budaya, Manama, in two separate incidents. Sayed Tameem, who turned 13 on 19 December, was arrested at about 3.10pm in front of his grandparents’ house about 15 minutes after he had arrived with his family, for a visit, and while he was playing with a young er cousin. He had run away after seeing a police patrol car approaching, but his family did not see him being arrested. They were later told by eyewitnesses that he had been taken away by a police patrol. Sayed Hashim, aged 13, was arrested at about 3.45pm near his grandparents’ house while on his way to a nearby shop”. It also called for protecting the two children from torture and forming an independent commission to examine torture claims.

At another level, seven[5] human rights bodies have written a letter to Juan Mendez, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Mr Frank La Rue, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion. It said: The Media Legal Defence Initiative, Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain, Bahrain Center for Human Rights, Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights, FIDH - International Federation for Human Rights, Gulf Centre for Human Rights and Reporters Without Borders (“the signatory organisations”) respectfully request that you consider investigating the claims set out in this letter of allegation in relation to the arrest, detention and torture of Mr Hassan, Mr Hubail, and Mr Zain Aldeen. The arrest and detention of all three men was also the subject of an urgent appeal made by the Media Legal Defence Initiative, English PEN and Article 19 to the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression dated 6 August 2013, which was copied to the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

All three men face trial on charges relating to their activities reporting on recent protests against the government of Bahrain and were arrested within a few days of each other. All three have reported that they were subject to torture while detained in the Criminal Investigation Directorate (CID), which has been the subject of numerous other allegations of torture and illtreatment. Mr Hubail and Mr Zain Aldeen remain in detention. Mr Hassan was released on bail at the beginning of October 2013.

Bahrain Freedom Movement
25th December 2013



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