URGENT ALERT: BAHRAIN – Medical Report Asserts Torture of Human Rights Activists

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Islamic Human Rights Commission
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22 April 2008

URGENT ALERT: BAHRAIN – Medical Report Asserts Torture of Human Rights Activists

1. Summary
2. Background
3. Action required
4. Sample letters

1. Summary
A medical committee, authorized by the high court judge to examine the 17-December-incident detainees for allegations of torture, submitted a medical report in court on 16 April 2008. The report concluded that the detainees – 15 of whom are well-known human rights activists – were tortured, thus confirming the fears of several human rights groups. The public prosecution, however, denied the findings of the medical report and considered them to be contradictory to the actual conditions of the detainees.

During the trial, the public prosecution attorneys presented a combination of ammunition, alleged to be possessed by the detainees. However, they did not present the missing weapon, alleged to be stolen by some of those detained, but only indicated that it had been found.

The defence attorneys called for some key witnesses to be presented before the court, those who had not been previously called or seen by the public prosecution. They also called for the immediate release of all the detainees, however, Judge Shaikh Mohamed Al-Khalifa refused and adjourned the trial session to 11 May 2008, in which witnesses are also scheduled to be heard.

Meanwhile detainees such as Mohamed Al-Singace (brother of Abduljalil Al-Singace from the HAQ Movement of Liberties and Democratic Bahrain), Abdulla Mohsen and Mahmood Saleh continue to suffer from various medical conditions and are reportedly receiving medical treatment.

Abdulla Mohsen suffers from high blood pressure and was hospitalized for over a week before being transported back to detention a few days before the trial session of 16 April 2008.

Mahmood Saleh is on medication for the pain that he suffers in his urinary tract. He was reportedly severely beaten on his genitals till he bled.

Mohammed Al-Singace is receiving psychiatric treatment. He suffers from pain in his back which was injured when he was reportedly tortured by security personnel. He is also receiving treatment for low haemoglobin which may be a sign of malnutrition.

For background information about this campaign and links to previous alerts, please visit: https://www.ihrc.org.uk/show.php?id=3282

IHRC requests all campaigners to send letters to the respective authorities mentioned below and urge them to immediately release these human rights activists.

2. Background
Several human rights activists and protestors were arrested in the wake of a demonstration held on 17 December 2007 to commemorate the killing of two protestors 13 years ago. One protestor Ali Jassim Meki was killed in clashes with security personnel on 17 December. Of the fifteen protestors still detained, some are well-known human rights activists, including

• Maytham Bader Jassim Al-Sheikh, Hassan Abdelnabi, Abdullah Mohsen Abdulah Saleh and Ahmad Jaffar Mohammed Ali, who are members of the Unemployment Committee,

• Naji Al-Fateel, member of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR),

• Mohammed Abdullah Al-Singace, Head of the Committee to Combat High Prices and brother of human rights activist Abduljalil Al-Singace, from the HAQ Movement of Liberties and Democratic Bahrain

• Ebrahim Mohamed Amin Al-Arab, founding member of the Martyrs and Victims Committee

All of the detainees, especially the above-mentioned notable activists, have been reportedly abused and subjected to torture at the hands of the security forces.

The detainees have been charged with rioting, possession of ammunition, theft of a weapon and setting fire to a police vehicle.

According to the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), this reported ill-treatment of human rights activists in Bahrain is aimed ‘at discouraging the Bahraini society…[from getting]…involved in human rights activities.’

For more details please refer to previous alerts: https://www.ihrc.org.uk/show.php?id=3282

3. 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 to ensure that these attacks on civil liberties are immediately halted.

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

4. 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: Medical report concludes that detained human rights activists in Bahrain were tortured

I am deeply concerned about the welfare of several detained human rights activists and protesters in Bahrain who are reportedly being tortured and ill-treated.

A team of doctors, authorized by the trial judge to examine the detainees for allegations of torture, submitted a medical report in court on 16 April 2008, which concluded that the detainees were subjected to torture. These findings have confirmed the fears of many human rights organizations. The detainees themselves testified in court in an earlier session, that they have been subjected to severe beatings, sexual abuse and psychological torture.

Several detainees are suffering from serious medical conditions owing to this torture and bad prison conditions and are thus receiving medical treatment.

These detainees were arrested in the wake of a demonstration held on 17 December 2007 to commemorate the killing of two protestors 13 years ago. They have been charged with what appears to be trumped up charges of rioting, possession of ammunition, theft of a weapon and setting fire to a police vehicle.

I am further concerned that the detainees’ lawyers are only allowed restricted access to their clients.

I urge you to raise these issues 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: Medical report concludes that detained human rights activists in Bahrain were tortured

I am deeply concerned about the welfare of several detained human rights activists and protesters in Bahrain who are reportedly being tortured and ill-treated.

A team of doctors, authorized by the trial judge to examine the detainees for allegations of torture, submitted a medical report in court on 16 April 2008, which concluded that the detainees were subjected to torture. These findings have confirmed the fears of many human rights organizations. The detainees themselves testified in court in an earlier session, that they have been subjected to severe beatings, sexual abuse and psychological torture.

Several detainees are suffering from serious medical conditions owing to this torture and bad prison conditions and are thus receiving medical treatment.

These detainees were arrested in the wake of a demonstration held on 17 December 2007 to commemorate the killing of two protestors 13 years ago. They have been charged with what appears to be trumped up charges of rioting, possession of ammunition, theft of a weapon and setting fire to a police vehicle.

I am further concerned that the detainees’ lawyers are only allowed restricted access to their clients.

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: Medical report concludes that detained human rights activists in Bahrain were tortured

I am deeply concerned about the welfare of several detained human rights activists and protesters in Bahrain who are reportedly being tortured and ill-treated.

A team of doctors, authorized by the trial judge to examine the detainees for allegations of torture, submitted a medical report in court on 16 April 2008, which concluded that the detainees were subjected to torture. These findings have confirmed the fears of many human rights organizations. The detainees themselves testified in court in an earlier session, that they have been subjected to severe beatings, sexual abuse and psychological torture.

Several detainees are suffering from serious medical conditions owing to this torture and bad prison conditions and are thus receiving medical treatment.

These detainees were arrested in the wake of a demonstration held on 17 December 2007 to commemorate the killing of two protestors 13 years ago. They have been charged with what appears to be trumped up charges of rioting, possession of ammunition, theft of a weapon and setting fire to a police vehicle.

I am further concerned that the detainees’ lawyers are only allowed restricted access to their clients.

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

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