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Press Release: Bahrain – Human Rights Activists Detained and Ill-treated

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Detained human rights activists in Bahrain can face up to 32 years in prison

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Islamic Human Rights Commission
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1 February 2008

Press Release: Bahrain – Human Rights Activists Detained and Ill-treated

IHRC is very concerned about the welfare of fifteen human rights activists who are reportedly being ill-treated and tortured in detention by the Bahraini authorities. They were arrested in the days following demonstrations held on 17 December 2007 to mark the anniversary of the killing of two protestors thirteen years ago. One protestor was also killed during the latest demonstrations during clashes with the security forces.

Amongst those detained are five well known activists: Mohammed Abdulla Yusuf Al-Singace, Naji Fateel, Ahmed Jaffar, Hasan Abdulnabi, and Ebrahim Al-Arab. All of them are actively involved in the fields of human rights and social justice in Bahrain. The detainees have been charged with rioting, possession and theft of weapons and setting fire to a police vehicle. Their case is scheduled for a hearing on 3 February 2008. If they are found guilty, they can face up to 32 years in prison.

IHRC is deeply concerned that the detainees were reportedly unaware of these charges or the fact that they are due to appear in court on the above-mentioned date. Further, IHRC is concerned by reports that:

• none of the detainees had access to legal representation during the initial days of their detention and many have suffered severe beatings at the hands of special forces;
• they are reportedly held incommunicado and deprived from sleep as well as from using the toilet for long periods;
• they are left naked, handcuffed and blindfolded, even during interrogations;
• they are subjected to electrocution and painful torture techniques including Falaqah;
• at least one of the detainees has been reportedly sexually assaulted as well.

One of the prominent activists detained, Mr Mohamed Al-Singace (locally known as Abdali) who heads the Committee Against Inflation was admitted to the Bahrain Defense Force (BDF) Hospital due to deterioration of his health. Reports suggest he has been subjected to severe torture whilst being interrogated at the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB). Al-Singace is the brother of human rights activist Abduljalil Al-Singace, from the HAQ Movement of Liberties and Democratic Bahrain. According to reports by Mr Mohammed Al-Singace's family, he is beaten and kicked by interrogation officers especially because of his relationship with Mr Abduljalil Al-Singace. According to reports the interrogations are not based on the charge against these detainees but rather on the functionality of their committees and some well known popular members of HAQ movement.

The detainees began a hunger strike as a protest against their unjust detention and ill-treatment.

IHRC believes that this brutal crackdown of the protestors is a deliberate attempt of the government to stamp down upon the opposition and throttle public opinion.

IHRC calls on the Bahraini government to immediately release all detainees and ensure that their right to freedom of expression and association is fully respected.

For more information please contact the Press Office on (+44) 20 8904 4222 or (+44) 7958 607 475 email info@ihrc.org.[ENDS]

Note to Editors:
Dr Abduljalil Alsingace is the Director of Media and International Relations, HAQ Movement. He can be contacted by email: asingace@gmail.com, asingace@hotmail.com

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The Islamic Human Rights Commission is an NGO in special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
Wembley
HA9 7XH
United Kingdom

Telephone (+44) 20 8904 4222
Fax (+44) 20 8904 5183
Email: info@ihrc.org
Web: www.ihrc.org

IHRC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations


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