BAHRAIN ACTIVISTS: Human rights group appeals for release of detained brothers

Manama – VIJAY SHAH

As the government of Bahrain is being slammed for widespread human rights violations against protesters calling for greater transparency and democratic rights, a U.S. based charity is calling for the release of two young brothers detained by authorities in the Middle Eastern ‘oil state’ for activism and pro-democracy demands.

 

Activist group Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) has recently released a statement calling for Bahrain to release siblings Ahmed AlArab, aged 27, and Ali AlArab, 25 years who are facing life imprisonment as well as possible death sentences. According to the charity, the AlArab brothers were arrested and tortured by authorities in connection with a prison escape from the Jau correctional centre near the capital Manama, in January 2017. According to Al Jazeera news network, armed men attacked the prison where several anti-government protesters were detained, killing one security guard and setting free an unknown number of the jailed.

Ahmed AlArab, a former nursing student, has been repeatedly put in jail over his political activism, calling for greater rights and freedoms for Bahraini citizens and was said to have been regularly harassed by security forces before his latest arrest. He was said to have been tortured for 21 consecutive days at the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) and forced to confess to criminal activity, according to ADHRB. His right to a fair trial was violated and was even stripped of his citizenship, despite being a native Bahraini.

Ahmed’s brother Ali was himself arrested on 9th of February, 2018 by security agents of the Ministry of Interior while visiting a friend. He was also taken to Criminal Investigations Directorate headquarters where, it is alleged, he was forced to sign a confession while blindfolded. He was then transferred to another detention facility, named the Dry Dock, where he underwent torture, and was beaten by guards there for refusing to bow down and kiss a guard’s boot. It is also claimed Ali’s toenails were ripped off, and his injuries were bad enough to prevent him from walking or praying, necessitating a visit to the prison clinic.

In a mass trial held at the end of January, Ali was sentenced to death for the killing of the security guard at Jau prison a year previously and was also stripped of his passport. His trial was not held under fair legal rulings, with lawyers warned off taking on Ali’s case and Ali himself not allowed to receive legal counsel.

ADHRB condemned the actions of Bahrain’s government, citing that the Gulf emirate is a signatory of many international legal frameworks, including the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Both of these treaties are said to have been violated in the case of the treatment and detention without proper trial of the activist brothers.

ADHRB ended their statement by calling on Bahrain to cancel the AlArabs’ convictions as they did not receive a fair trial and retry them under international treaty requirements. It also appealed for the AlArabs’ citizenship to be restored and for allegations of torture and maltreatment to be fully investigated, and the torturers to be brought to book.

SOURCES:

HEM Journalism Portal, HEM News Agency, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind/lists/hem-journalism-portal

IFEX, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/IFEX

“Profiles in Persecution: Ahmed and Ali AlArab” – Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (16 February 2018) http://www.adhrb.org/2018/02/profiles-in-persecution-ahmed-and-ali-alarab/

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