Press Release: Bahrain – Detained Human Rights Activists in Court Session

Islamic Human Rights Commission

22 February 2008

Press Release: Bahrain – Detained Human Rights Activists in Court Session

IHRC expresses deep concern for detained human rights activists who face a second court session on 24 February 2007.

Their case was scheduled for a hearing on 3 February 2008 but was postponed to 24 February 2008 because the defence lawyers decided to boycott the session in protest, when the judge decided to hold the session outside the official governmental timings. The detainees have been charged with rioting, possession and theft of weapons and setting fire to a police vehicle. If they are found guilty, they can face up to 32 years in prison.

The fifteen detained protestors were arrested with several others in the wake of the demonstration held on 17 December 2007 to commemorate the killing of two protesters 13 years ago. They include several noteworthy human rights activists who are members of popular NGOs in Bahrain, such as Hassan Abdelnabi, Naji Al-Fateel and Mohammed Abdullah Al-Sengais. Mr Mohammed Al-Sengais is also brother of human rights activist Abduljalil Al-Sengais, from the HAQ Movement of Liberties and Democratic Bahrain.

According to reports by the detainees’ families and the accounts of those released, the detainees have been subjected to torture and ill-treatment. At least one of them has been sexually abused as well. The three notable detainees mentioned above have been subjected to solitary confinement and are kept handcuffed and blindfolded.

Human rights groups have urged the Bahraini authorities to permit independent physicians to examine the detainees to investigate allegations of torture; however, the authorities have refused. According to Human Rights Watch (HRW) report, a senior ministry official has stated that no evidence of mistreatment was found by the physician who examined those alleging abuse. Further HRW report also states that the lawyers have received no response for requests to medical examination for their clients. The lawyers are permitted restricted access to the detainees and have to wait a long time to gain access to their clients.

IHRC calls on the Bahraini government to immediately and unconditionally release all the detainees and to ensure that they have full access to their lawyers and family members. IHRC further calls on the authorities to investigate the allegations of torture and ill-treatment and to ensure that the detainees’ human rights are respected.

For more information, please refer to and

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

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

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
United Kingdom

Telephone (+44) 20 8904 4222
Fax (+44) 20 8904 5183

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