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Back Activities Alerts Action Alert: Bahrain – Mohamed Al-Buflasa began a hunger strike in protest at his continued detention without charge

Action Alert: Bahrain – Mohamed Al-Buflasa began a hunger strike in protest at his continued detention without charge

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Al-Buflasa

Write to pressure the Bahraini government to release Al-Buflasa immediately.

Contents
1. Summary
2. Background
3. Action required
4. Sample letter


1. Summary

The well known Bahraini poet Mohamed Al-Buflasa was issued an arrest warrant on the day of his scheduled release from prison. Al-Buflasa has now finished his 45 days of detention pending investigations on unknown charges, while his detention continues. Al-Buflasa does not have access to a lawyer and has been denied any communication or visitation from his family. The date of his scheduled release for the second time, 1st June 2011, has passed.  He has now begun a hunger strike in objection to his unfair detention and the ill-treatment he receives.

IHRC urges campaigners to write letters to the UAE Ministry of Interior, which has its army present in Bahrain, to investigate the whereabouts of Al-Buflasa and pressure the Bahraini government to release him.


2. Background

Mohamed Al-Buflasa, a Bahraini sunni citizen, who gave a speech calling for political activism at Pearl Square at the beginning of the revolution was arrested by the military and sentenced to two months imprisonment by a military court has been re-arrested for the second time on unknown charges. 

On the day of his release, 15th April 2011, he was issued an arrest warrant for 45 days pending investigations.
 Al-Buflasa was not given the option of defending himself in courts or appointing a lawyer during the first court hearing. He is now going through the same outrageous experience and his detention continues despite finishing his detention period for the second time.

His place of detention has changed many times since he was imprisoned for the first time. He is only allowed two minutes to call his family once every month and sometimes he is not allowed to call them at all. During this last and very short conversation with his family, Al-Buflasa complained of ill-treatment and humiliation. He also complained about the prison conditions, lack of ventilation and detainees there cannot even see the day light. Al-Buflasa suffers from depression and has requested to be seen by doctors; however, the prison administration has refused. He began a hunger strike in objection to his unfair detention and ill-treatment. Al-Buflasa’s life is at risk due to his deteriorating health condition.

Al-Buflasa has called on IHRC and all campaigners to work hard for his release, inform the international community of his case and ensure his safe and immediate release.


3. Action required

Write to the following authorities to investigate the whereabouts of Al-Buflasa and pressure the Bahraini government to release him immediately:

a) UAE Ministry of Interior which has its army present in Bahrain, to investigate the whereabouts of Al-Buflasa and pressure the Bahraini government to release him immediately.
b) UN Special Rapporteur on Arbitrary Detention calling them to urge the Bahraini government to release Al-Buflasa.
c) Alistair Burt MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office

4. Sample letter
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A sample letter is given below for your convenience. Please note that model letters can be sent directly or adjusted as necessary to include further details. If you receive a reply to the letter you send, we request you to send a copy of the letter you sent and the reply you received to IHRC. This is very important as it helps IHRC to monitor the situation with regards to our campaigns and to improve upon the current model letters. It is preferable that letters be sent via post, or otherwise by fax and/or email.

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a) UAE Minister of Interior, Lt-General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al-Nahyan

[Your name]
[Your address]

[Date]

Minister of Interior
Lt-General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al-
Nahyan
Minister of Interior
Human Rights Directorate
POB: 398, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Fax: +971 4 3981119


Your Excellency, Lt-General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al-ahyan

Re: Call for the release of Mohamed Al-Buflasa from Bahraini prison


I am writing to you in your capacity as a Minister of Interior in UAE who have their army present in Bahrain to intervene in this case and ensure the release of a detained sunni citizen, who has been arrested since the beginning of the demonstrations until now, despite finishing his detention period.

Mohamed Al-Buflasa, a 36 year old poet, writer and former independent candidate for the Parliamentary elections was arrested for calling for political reform and the improvement of living standards for all Bahrainis in Pearl Square.

He was arrested on 15 February 2011 and sentenced to two months imprisonment without the announcement of charges against him without being given the option of defending himself or appointing a lawyer.

Al-Buflasa was not released for the second time on the day of his scheduled release 1 June 2011 after spending another 45 days detention pending investigation on unknown charges. He began a hunger strike on 1 June 2011, in objection to his unlawful continued detention. The charges against Al-Buflasa remain unknown until this day.

Al-Buflasa does not belong to any political party and was speaking out of patriotism. I urge you to use your capacity and urge your army to pressure the Bahraini government to reveal the whereabouts of Al-Buflasa and call for his immediate release.

I look forward to hearing back from you regarding this urgent matter.

Yours sincerely,

[Your signature]
[Your name]

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b) UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention


[Your name]
[Your address]

[Date]

e-mail: wgad@ohchr.org


Dear Mr Sow, Chair Rapporteur of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Arrest

Re: Call for the release of Mohamed Al-Buflasa from Bahraini prison

I am deeply concerned about the continued detention of Mohamed Al-Buflasa, a 36 year old poet, writer and former independent candidate for the Parliamentary elections. Al-Buflasa was arrested for calling for political reform and the improvement of living standards for all Bahrainis in Pearl Square.

He was arrested on 15 February 2011 and sentenced to two months imprisonment without the announcement of charges against him. He was not given the option of defending himself in courts or appointing a lawyer, so his trial lacked standards of a fair trial.

On the day of his scheduled release an arrest warrant was issued against him for 45 days pending investigations. Al-Buflasa has finished his second detention period on 1 June 2011, however, he has not been released and his detention continues. On 1 June 2011 he began a hunger strike in objection to his unlawful continued detention. His life is at risk as the hunger strike is severely affecting his health.

Al-Buflasa does not belong to any political party and was speaking out of patriotism. I urge you to use your authority to confirm the whereabouts of Mohamed Al-Buflasa, and order his immediate release.

Al-Buflasa complains of being ill-treated and humiliated by the prison guards and officers during a 2 minute conversation to his family.

Al-Buflasa is only a case between hundreds of people detained arbitrarily. I urge you to investigate his case, find his whereabouts and call for his immediate release. Al-Buflasa has the right to appoint a lawyer to defend him and be allowed visitations from his family and lawyer.

I look forward to hearing back from you regarding this urgent matter.

Yours sincerely,

[Your signature]
[Your name]

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c) Alistair Burt MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.


[Your name]
[Your address]

burta@parliament.uk

Dear Mr Burt, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Re: Call for the release of Mohamed Al-Buflasa from Bahraini prison

I am writing to you in your capacity as a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office on the situation of a Bahraini sunni citizen that has been detained since 15 February 2011 until now. I have decided to write to you after I read your statement issued on 1 June 2011 in which you strongly urged the Government of Bahrain to meet all its human rights obligations and uphold political freedoms, equal access to justice and the rule of law.

I am deeply concerned about the continued detention of Mohamed Al-Buflasa, a 36 year old poet, writer and former independent candidate for the Parliamentary elections. Al-Buflasa was arrested for calling for political reform and the improvement of living standards for all Bahrainis in Pearl Square.

He was arrested on 15 February 2011 and sentenced to two months imprisonment without the announcement of charges against him. He was not given the option of defending himself in courts or appointing a lawyer, so his trial lacked standards of a fair trial.

On the day of his scheduled release an arrest warrant was issued against him for 45 days pending investigations. Al-Buflasa has finished his second detention period on 1 June 2011, however, he has not been released and his detention continues. On 1 June 2011 he began a hunger strike in objection to his unlawful continued detention. His life is at risk as the hunger strike is severely affecting his health.

Al-Buflasa does not belong to any political party and was speaking out of patriotism. The case of Al-Buflasa is a case of hundreds of people detained unjustly. The case of Al-Buflasa is neither a case of Sunni nor Shia as your government would have everyone believe. I urge you to use your relations with the Bahraini government to confirm the whereabouts of Mohamed Al-Buflasa, and order his immediate release.

Al-Buflasa complains of being ill-treated and humiliated by the prison guards and officers during a 2 minute conversation to his family.

Al-Buflasa is only one case amongst hundreds of people detained arbitrarily. I urge you to investigate his case, find his whereabouts and call for his immediate release. Al-Buflasa has the right to appoint a lawyer to defend him and be allowed visitations from his family and lawyer.

Why are you not doing anything about this case?

Yours sincerely,

[Your signature]
[Your name]

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For more information, please contact the office on the numbers or email below

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Holy Qur'an: Chapter 4, Verse 75

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