URGENT APPEAL – THE OBSERVATORY
BHR 001 / 0208 / OBS 017
Arbitrary detention / Ill-treatments / Torture
February 13, 2008
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Bahrain.
The Observatory has been informed by the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) about the ongoing arbitrary detention of Messrs. Maytham Bader Jassim Al-Sheikh, Hassan Abdelnabi, Abdullah Mohsen Abdulah Saleh and Ahmad Jaffar Mohammed Ali, members of the Unemployment Committee, Naji Al-Fateel, member of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR), Mohammed Abdullah Al-Sengais, Head of the Committee to Combat High Prices, and Ebrahim Mohamed Amin Al-Arab, founding member of the Martyrs and Victims Committee and acts of torture and ill-treatments.
According to the information received, on February 3, 2008, the trial of Messrs. Maytham Bader Jassim Al-Sheikh, Hassan Abdelnabi, Abdullah Mohsen Abdulah Saleh, Ahmad Jaffar Mohammed Ali, Naji Al Fateel, Mohammed Abdullah Al Sengais and Ebrahim Mohamed Amin Al-Arab was scheduled to start before the High Criminal Court. Nevertheless, on the morning of that day, while the defendants were not present, the presiding judge informed their lawyers that the session would be postponed to the afternoon. At 3 p.m., without the presence of the defendants’ lawyers, the session was adjourned to February 24, 2008. The judge also indicated that the trial could be held any time. They had been charged of “illegal gathering” as well as “theft of a weapon and ammunition and possession of weapon and ammunition without permission”, after a demonstration held on December 17, 2007, at the occasion of the Martyrs’ Day.
On February 3, after the Court session, the prisoners were allowed to talk to their families for a few minutes. Some of them, including Mr. Maytham Bader Jassim Al-Sheikh, informed them that they had been victims of sexual assaults by investigators of the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB), where they were being detained.
On February 6, 2008, Mr. Al-Sheikh was taken from the CIB to the Dry Dock Detention Centre (DDDC), where the legal general attorney doctor visited him and confirmed that he showed clear signs of sexual assault. However, the general attorney office later denied in a press statement that abuses had been observed on the detainees.
As of February 13, 2008, Mr. Al-Sheikh was still detained at the DDDC, while Messrs. Mohammed Al Sengais, Naji Al Fateel, Hasan Abdelnabi and Ahmad Jaffar Mohammed Ali remained detained in the premises of the CIB. Messrs. Al Sengais, Abdelnabi and Ali are presently held in solitary confinement, in a 1×2 meter filthy dark cells filled with insects with their eyes-blinded and hands-cuffed. No further information could be obtained regarding the place of detention of Messrs. Abdullah Mohsen Abdulah Saleh et Ebrahim Mohamed Amin Al-Arab.
On February 11, 2008, the relatives of Messrs. Al-Sengais, Al-Fateel and Abdelnabi were able to visit them. Mr. Al Sengais’ relatives reported that he was bearing signs of a scar on the head and that he was complaining of strong headache. They further asserted that on February 10, Mr. Al-Sengais had been dragged, handcuffed behind his back, to the outside of his cell, beaten in the yard by a metallic piece and further tortured by two men. On February 7, 2008, he had been taken to Bahrain Defence Force Hospital for treatment, where the physician had recommended that he be taken to psychiatric hospital for treatment due to the abuse he was enduring. An appointment was set with the psychiatrist for February 24, but later postponed to February 28 because of the adjourned court session.