The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses grave concern about the reports on the continuation of torture of about 300 Bahraini citizens, who were arrested since the beginning of the government security crackdown, which started on the 13th of August. The detainees include opposition activists, human rights defenders and shia clerics, and amongst those detained and tortured are children between the ages of 12 and 16, there is also news of more injuries amongst the detainees. All this comes with the approval of the Public Prosecution which has denied that the detainees have been subjected to torture and made justifications for not allowing them to meet their lawyers until now.
The family of the former activist in the Unemployment Committee, Hassan AlHaddad, informed the BCHR, that when they visited their son they were shocked by his injuries and signs of torture on his body. His right leg was broken and in a caste, his toes and toe nails were swollen, and his eyes were very red. These signs were noticed despite the fact that the detainee (as was the case with the rest of the detainees) was wearing clothes that covered most of his body including his arms despite the hot weather. It is believed that these injuries are a result of the torture, that Hassan is still being subjected to, under the interrogation by National Security. During the short visit, which did not exceed 15 minutes and was in the presence of National Security, the detainee Hassan AlHaddad and his family were forbidden to speak about what caused his injuries, or any matter concerning his case or prison conditions. AlHaddad was admitted in the military hospital a few days after his arrest, and it is believed that this is related to the injuries he suffered under the torture he was subjected to.
Information was also received about Jaffar AlQayem being subjected to severe torture from the moment of his arrest on Friday the 24th of September, 2010 after the attack by Special Forces of the National Security Apparatus on a mosque in Nuwaidrat Village. Jaffar has physical and mental disabilities, but this did not prevent his arrest and torture. After his detention and torture, he now suffers from a broken rib and there are clear signs of injury to his head and body, amongst them a deep wound above his left eye and a clear injury to his right shoulder.
The family of AlQayem tried to convince the officer that their son suffers from several disabilities which makes it difficult for him to speak or even express himself, but their attempts went in vain. After a few days, AlQayem was taken to be seen in the psychiatric hospital by an order from the Public Prosecution to check if he is infact disabled, after which he was released. It should be noted that AlQayem represented Bahrain at several sporting events for the disabled and achieved advanced positions.
In a statement made by the lawyer Mohammed AlTajer, he announced that there are no less than 10 children in the ages of 12 to 16 who have been arrested in the security crackdown which started mid August with claims related to security issues including riots and burning of tires. AlTajer spoke of witnessing bruises and clear signs of torture on the children’s bodies, which horrified their families. AlTajer added that he has asked for the release of the children because they are minors, especially since some of them have already spent 2 months in prison, but the public prosecution insists on their continued detention.
The family of the blind detainee Ali Saad has informed the BCHR that their son has been subjected to torture during his interrogation in Jaw Central Prison. Saad told his family on their last visit that he has been subjected to severe torture with electric shocks and hanging and beating all over his body in order to force him confess to crimes he did not commit. His family noticed that he smelled very strongly because he had not been allowed to shower or clean himself and as a result of negligence he looked frightening because his hair and beard had grown out, and his artificial eyes were placed upside down. Ali Saad who has already been tried and sentenced to ten years imprisonment, was arrested last September without allowing his family to know his whereabouts or visit him until a few days ago. The prison administration has denied his detention at court on the hearing session of the appeal in his case, that's to prevent the submission to the coroner according to his lawyer's request to see his ability to stay in prison and to check if prison was a threat to his life.
The conspiracy of the Public Prosecution and National Security ApparatusThe Public Prosecution, as usual, has denied all allegations of torture. This came through the statement of the Attorney General Ali Fadl AlBuaynain, who heads this organization with the rank of minister. AlBuaynain previously served as an officer in the Department of Public Prosecution in the Ministry of Interior, and then as Vice President of the security committee which was formed during the 90’s and is accused of subjecting activists and detainees to torture, sometimes resulting in death or long term disabilities.
The BCHR had warned in previous reports about the dangerous role which the Public Prosecution plays in the cases related to public protesting and demanding of rights. In most of these cases the Public Prosecution does not take the role of the impartial and unbiased party, as it should. Instead it accepts all the result of the interrogations made by the National Security Apparatus, and sometimes even pressures the defendants to repeat the confessions that are believed to have been extracted from the them under torture. The BCHR has documented statements of many witnesses in different cases which confirms that the detainees have been subjected to torture inside the building of the public prosecution, and have been threatened by heads of prosecution that if they do not sign pre-written confessions they will be returned to centers of interrogation to be tortured again.
The BCHR is concerned and considers it a violation that the afore mentioned Public Prosecution is conspiring in their work with the Security Apparatus specifically the National Security, and that most of their staff have a security background from their previous experience working within security organizations, which dealt with similar cases of detainees during public uprisings in the past, in which they too were involved in human rights violations. The BCHR does not believe that the Public Prosecution, in light of these facts, could be expected to play the role of achieving justice, especially in the political cases. The Public Prosecution relies primarily on the confessions prepared by the security services while the defendant is detained, during which he is isolated and with almost no communication with the outside world. The Public Prosecution also assists the Security Services in the interrogation timings which usually commence at midnight until sunrise, and also by refuting all allegations of violations committed by them including complaints of ill treatment and torture, the signs of which can usually be seen on the defendants bodies.
The violations committed by the Public Prosecution is in complete conflict with the guidelines on the role of prosecutors which was adopted by the Eighth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, Article 3 of which states “Prosecutors, as essential agents of the administration of justice, shall at all times maintain the honor and dignity of their profession.” And Article 16 states that “When prosecutors come into possession of evidence against suspects that they know or believe on reasonable grounds was obtained through recourse to unlawful methods, which constitute a grave violation of the suspect's human rights, especially involving torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, or other abuses of human rights, they shall refuse to use such evidence against anyone other than those who used such methods, or inform the Court accordingly, and shall take all necessary steps to ensure that those responsible for using such methods are brought to justice.” It does not seem to be a coincidence that in all the cases related to popular protests, which includes the trials of many activists and human rights defenders, the prosecutors and heads of investigation had previously been employed in military or security positions. This reflects the nature of their treatment of the detainees and their cases, taking actions which violate the internationally recognized standards and values of the public prosecution.
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