A Brief Look at Human Rights Violations: (part 12) Bahrain
A Brief Look at Human Rights Violations: (part...
There have been systematic and gross violations on political prisoners, human rights activists and defenders in Bahrain lately. At every stage - arrest, interrogation, trial, and imprisonment - the Bahraini authorities have flouted both Bahraini domestic provisions, as well as their international obligations. In this report we take a look at some human rights violations in Bahrain from mid-September to October 2019.
1- Women political prisoners in Bahrain have been subjected to abuse at every stage of the criminal procedure, including illegal arrests, physical, sexual and psychological torture to extract confessions, sham trials and inhuman prison conditions, the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) and Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) revealed in their new report. These abuses continue uninvestigated as oversight bodies trained with funding from the UK and the US governments are complicit and fail to hold perpetrators accountable.
According to a 135-page report, “Breaking the Silence: Bahraini Women Political Prisoners Expose Systemic Abuses” , there is a sinister increase in the political targeting of female activists and human rights defenders since 2017 as part of a wider crackdown on free speech and peaceful opposition. Two of the women featured in this report suffered the most severe abuse at the hand of National Security Agency (NSA) officers, including allegations of torture, sexual assault and rape.
Since early 2017, BIRD and ADHRB have been conducting interviews with nine women or their relatives. These women have been targeted for their political views or those of their family members. While all the women said that throughout the process officials threatened them with rape or death and that of their families, half of them said they were physicially assaulted with beatings, kicks and punches. Other forms of ill-treatment reported include prolonged solitary confinement, forced standing, and being held in cold or dark rooms in painful positions for several hours. The nine women denounced appalling prison conditions, including deliberate denial of medical care, restrictions on family visits and time outside the cell, threats and “humiliating” searches.
2- According to Amnesty International, the Bahraini authorities’ inhuman denial of medical care for seriously ill imprisoned activist is a denial of his right to health and an act of intentional cruelty . Abdel-Jalil al-Singace was amongst 13 opposition activists arrested between 17 March and 9 April 2011 and he has several chronic illnesses and desperately needs medical treatment. The denial of medical treatment is shockingly cruel and puts his life in danger.
“Abdel-Jalil al-Singace and indeed the other prisoners of conscience, including Abdulhadi al-Khawaja and Hassan Mshaima, who were convicted solely for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly must be immediately and unconditionally released.” Said Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
3- The Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR) said that it monitored the arbitrary arrest of 30 children between January and May 2019. Six cases of enforced disappearance were recorded among these children for a period not less than 2 days and 33 violations were documented against 17 detained children during the period between January and May 2019.
4- Bahrain’s High Appeals Court refused to grant a non-custodial sentence to the country’s most prominent human rights defender, Nabeel Rajab, who is currently serving a five-year prison term for his critical comments on social media. Rajab’s lawyer confirmed the decision on Twitter.
Rajab was originally sentenced to five years in prison on 21 February 2018 for tweeting his condemnation of airstrikes in Yemen mounted by the Saudi-led coalition and exposing the widespread torture occuring in Bahrain’s notorious Jau Prison. Bahrain’s Court of Cassation upheld his sentence on 31 December 2018. Since his arrest in June 2016, Rajab was sentenced to seven years imprisonment as a result of two separate trials, both of which violate Rajab’s right to free and peaceful expression. Rajab has exhausted all legal remedies and remains in prison, in what the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention described as “arbitrary detention.” Rejection after rejection for a man who is in jail for a tweet is a manifestation of the state of injustice Rajab is subjected to.
5- Hundreds of political prisoners in the Jau Prison have been on hunger strike since August 15. Among the number includes Ali al-Hajee, who wrote to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and British ambassador to Bahrain Roderick Drummond to expose the inhumane conditions they face. He is one of thousands of political prisoners who suffer from severe physical and psychological abuse. He also suffers from the effects of medical negligence and a policy of collective punishment implemented by the prison administration.
Mr Hajee wrote: “The UK government’s unconditional political support and training only embolden the Bahraini authorities to continue abusing its citizens without fear of repercussion. The UK cannot become complicit in these abuses or accept to be used as a political tool by dictators.”