ALERT: BAHRAIN – Youths referred to court after being subjected to torture

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Islamic Human Rights Commission
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8 May 2008

URGENT ALERT: BAHRAIN – Youths referred to court after being subjected to torture

Contents
1. Background
2. Action required
3. Sample letters

1. Background
Eight individuals, including some school-going youths, were arrested on 16 April 2008, following a peaceful demonstration in Saar village. The demonstration was held to protest against the targeting and trial of the detainees’ relative, Sayed Aqeel Al-Saary, by the Bahraini security forces.

The demonstration was violently dispersed by the security personnel who blocked the main entrance of the village and employed the use of excessive force, rubber bullets and tear gas against the protestors.

It is alleged that the arrested individuals were subjected to sever beatings and torture by members of the Criminal Investigation Bureau, after they had been summoned to the detention centre in Budaya’a.

On 30 April 2008, the detainees were brought to Lower Criminal Court and were charged with participating in an unauthorized gathering and rioting. However, they denied all charges. According to reports, all the detainees appeared fatigued and tired. Some of them also appeared to have bruises on their bodies, especially sixteen-year-old Zuhair Makki Khalaf. Two defence lawyers pleaded in court on behalf of the detainees for the following:

– To release them as they are Bahraini nationals and there is no fear of them escaping or not attending the following court sessions
– To allow a medical team to examine them and determine whether they were tortured or not
– To arrange with the prosecutor to allow them to take school examinations
– To permit the lawyers to take a copy of the case file

The judge, however, ruled out any possibilities of release and postponed the case till the next hearing on 14 May 2008. He further ruled for the detainees to be brought before a coroner to report on their wounds and injuries from the alleged torture. The judge also allowed for the lawyers to take a copy of the lawsuit file.

For details about this incident, please visit following link to HAQ: Movement of Liberties and Democracy press release: https://www.ihrc.org.uk/show.php?id=3358

2. Action required
a) Write to the Minister of Foreign Affairs in your country, urging him/her to raise this issue with his/her Bahraini counterpart.

UK campaigners can write to:

Rt. Hon. David Miliband MP
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
London
SW1A 2AH

Fax: +44 20 7839 2417
Email private.office@fco.gov.uk

b) Write to the Bahraini Ambassador in your country

UK campaigners can write to:

HE Shaikh Khalifa bin Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Khalifa
30 Belgrave Square
London, SW1X 8QB

Fax: +44 020 7201 9183
Email: enquiries@bahrainembassy.co.uk

c) Write to the Bahraini Minister of Interior.

Rashid bin Abdallah bin Ahmad al-Khalifa
Ministry of Interior
P.O. Box 13
Manama, Bahrain

Fax: (973) 2262169

3. Sample letters
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Sample letters are 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 extremely important as it helps IHRC to monitor the situation with regards to our campaigns and to improve upon the current model letters.

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Sample letter to Minister for Foreign Affairs in your country (UK campaigners can use the address supplied)

[Your Name]
[Your Address]

[Date]

Rt. Hon. David Miliband MP
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
London
SW1A 2AH

Dear Mr. Miliband,

Re: Bahraini Youths Arrested and Allegedly Tortured

I am deeply concerned about the welfare of eight detained individuals, including some school-going youths, who were arrested on 16 April 2008, following a peaceful demonstration in the village of Saar. They were protesting against the targeting and trial of one of their relatives by the Bahraini authorities. The demonstration was violently dispersed by security personnel who used excessive force, rubber bullets and tear gas against the protestors.

It is alleged that the arrested individuals were subjected to sever beatings and torture by members of the Criminal Investigation Bureau.

The detainees had their first hearing in court on 30 April 2008 and were charged with participating in an unauthorized gathering and rioting. However, they denied all charges. All the detainees reportedly appeared fatigued and tired in court. Some of them also appeared to have bruises on their bodies, especially sixteen-year-old Zuhair Makki Khalaf.

The defence lawyers pleaded for them to be released, to be allowed to take their school examinations and to have a medical team investigate whether they have been tortured. However, the judge refused to release them and ordered their case to be postponed till 14 May 2008.

I urge you to raise this case with your Bahraini counterparts to ensure that the detainees are treated in accordance with international human rights standards and an investigation is launched into the allegations of torture. Those officers found guilty of using force against the detainees should be brought to justice and duly penalized. Further, please ensure that those detained for political reasons are released immediately and that these attacks on civil liberties are immediately halted.

I look forward to your response on these matters.

Yours sincerely,

[Your Signature]
[Your Name]

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Sample letter to Bahraini Ambassador in your country (UK campaigners can use the address supplied)

[Your Name]
[Your Address]

[Date]

HE Shaikh Khalifa bin Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Khalifa
30 Belgrave Square
London, SW1X 8QB

Your Excellency,

Re: Bahraini Youths Arrested and Allegedly Tortured

I am deeply concerned about the welfare of eight detained individuals, including some school-going youths, who were arrested on 16 April 2008, following a peaceful demonstration in the village of Saar. They were protesting against the targeting and trial of one of their relatives by the Bahraini authorities. The demonstration was violently dispersed by security personnel who used excessive force, rubber bullets and tear gas against the protestors.

It is alleged that the arrested individuals were subjected to sever beatings and torture by members of the Criminal Investigation Bureau.

The detainees had their first hearing in court on 30 April 2008 and were charged with participating in an unauthorized gathering and rioting. However, they denied all charges. All the detainees reportedly appeared fatigued and tired in court. Some of them also appeared to have bruises on their bodies, especially sixteen-year-old Zuhair Makki Khalaf.

The defence lawyers pleaded for them to be released, to be allowed to take their school examinations and to have a medical team investigate whether they have been tortured. However, the judge refused to release them and ordered their case to be postponed till 14 May 2008.

I urge you to ensure that the detainees are treated in accordance with international human rights standards and an investigation is launched into the allegations of torture. Those officers found guilty of using force against the detainees should be brought to justice and duly penalized. Further, I urge you to immediately take action to release those detained and to ensure that these attacks on civil liberties are immediately halted. As Bahrain has committed itself in the last decade to better governance, these actions blacken Bahrain’s reputation.

I look forward to your response on these matters.

Yours sincerely,

[Your Signature]
[Your Name]

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Sample letter to the Bahraini Minister of Interior

Your Name]
[Your Address]

[Date]

Rashid bin Abdallah bin Ahmad al-Khalifa
Ministry of Interior
P.O. Box 13
Manama, Bahrain

Your Excellency,

Re: Bahraini Youths Arrested and Allegedly Tortured

I am deeply concerned about the welfare of eight detained individuals, including some school-going youths, who were arrested on 16 April 2008, following a peaceful demonstration in the village of Saar. They were protesting against the targeting and trial of one of their relatives by the Bahraini authorities. The demonstration was violently dispersed by security personnel who used excessive force, rubber bullets and tear gas against the protestors.

It is alleged that the arrested individuals were subjected to sever beatings and torture by members of the Criminal Investigation Bureau.

The detainees had their first hearing in court on 30 April 2008 and were charged with participating in an unauthorized gathering and rioting. However, they denied all charges. All the detainees reportedly appeared fatigued and tired in court. Some of them also appeared to have bruises on their bodies, especially sixteen-year-old Zuhair Makki Khalaf.

The defence lawyers pleaded for them to be released, to be allowed to take their school examinations and to have a medical team investigate whether they have been tortured. However, the judge refused to release them and ordered their case to be postponed till 14 May 2008.

I urge you to ensure that the detainees are treated in accordance with international human rights standards and an investigation is launched into the allegations of torture. Those officers found guilty of using force against the detainees should be brought to justice and duly penalized. Further, I urge you to immediately take action to release those detained and to ensure that these attacks on civil liberties are immediately halted. As Bahrain has committed itself in the last decade to better governance, these actions blacken Bahrain’s reputation.

I look forward to your response on these matters.

Yours sincerely,

[Your Signature]
[Your Name]

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