Bahrain: Released human rights defender Jaafar Kadhim was severally beaten
10 May, 2009
The Bahrain Centre for human rights (BCHR) and the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) are gravely concerned upon hearing that human rights defender Mr. Jaafar Kadhim was severely beaten after being abducted by 5-6 men in plain clothes.
Jaafar Kadhim is currently at Salmania Public Hospital where he is being treated for severe injuries in the head, face and back (see photos). He told representatives of BCHR and BYSHR that on May 7, 2009at 20:45, while he was driving close to Jidhafs Medical Centre west of the capital Manama, his car was stopped by two cars, a red Tida and a gray Lancer and before he knew what was happening he was pulled from his car, his eyes were blind folded and he was taken for a 10-15 minutes drive to an unknown area where he was severely beaten until he lost conciseness. He regained conciseness only to find himself back in his car covered in blood. He managed to find his way to the nearby house of Hassan Mushaima where he was transferred to the hospital by ambulance. He was visited the next day by the police and Public Prosecutors Office. The next day the government controlled newspapers reported the event as a robbery!
Jaafar Kadhim has worked for the Committee of Activists and Prisoners of Conscience since December 2007 and has helped to organizing peaceful marches and protests for the rights of detainees. During 2007-2008 he hosted, at his house meetings for relatives of detainees with many visiting foreign journalist and international Human rights organization including an Amnesty international delegation. As a result he was detained from February 4, 2009 (Refer to Front Line releases on March 2, 2009 at http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/en/node/1817) and was released.
Since his release, Jaafar Kadhim has been helping the BCHR and BYSHR in documenting recent cases of torture and assisting families of 19 detainees who remain in prison despite the royal pardon on April 12th, 2009 which witnessed the release of 178 activists and human rights defenders.
There have been numerous and inclining numbers of documented cases of physical assault against activists and human rights defenders in the past 7 years. The cases which involve abduction though are few in number but reflect a pattern of a possible policy to harass activists, these cases include: the abduction and physical assault of Jassim Ahmed Salman on June 2002 as after his participation in a demonstration against the America embassy, the abduction and physical assault of Hassan Abdulnabi in May 2005 and abduction, physical assault and sexual abuse of Moussa Abdali in December 2005. Both messieurs Moosa and Hassan were leading members of the Committee of the Unemployed and Underpaid. Another relevant case is the alleged assault against Ali Jassim Mohammed which took place after his participation in a demonstration to support victims of torture, which lead to his death on December 17th, 2007. All these cases were documented and attracted wide attention however no serious investigation has taken place.
The Bahrain Centre for human rights (BCHR) and the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) believe that Mr. Jaafar Kadhim was subjected to this atrocious act because of his continued work in defense of human rights, specially the rights of detainees and the documentation of torture cases. Hence BCHR and BYSHR call upon all those who are concerned to appeal to the Bahrain Authorities to:
• Conduct prompt, impartial and thorough investigation in the abduction and assault against human rights defender Mr. Jaafar Kadhim, and to the findings public and bring those responsible to trial,
• Investigate previous similar cases in order to examine the existence of a pattern of assault against activists and human rights defenders, in order to reform security institutions and that must include the dismantling of the National Security Apparatus which is accused of such abuses
• Take all necessary steps to provide protection and adequate environment for human rights defenders to conduct their peaceful and legitimate work in accordance to international standards and obligations.