11 September 2015 – Bahrain was prominently featured in a report issued by the Special Procedures concerning communications made on behalf of individuals who allege human rights abuses at the hands of government actors. Two significant complaints concerned Bahrain. The first complaint concerned the arrest and detention of Mr. Nabeel Rajab. The second concerned the arbitrary persecution of 39 minors in Bahrain, as well as allegations that 35 of these minors were subjected to due process violations. This Joint Communication Report comes on the heels of a July decision of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) declaring the detention of eight Bahrainis to be arbitrary.

Find below brief summaries of the complaints concerning Bahrain in the latest report.

In complaint BHR 2/2015, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) raised concerns regarding the treatment of Mr. Nabeel Rajab, the President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. Mr. Rajab was arrested on 2 April 2015 for tweets regarding the torture and ill treatment of prisoners at Jau Prison. Authorities charged him with insulting a statutory body and spreading rumors during wartime; since released, he still faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted. The Special Procedures advised the Bahraini government to ensure Mr. Rajab’s right not to be deprived arbitrarily of his liberty and to fair proceedings before an independent and impartial trial, and to ensure that Bahraini citizens have the right to freedom of expression and association.

In complaint BHR 3/2015, the Special Procedures raised concerns over the alleged arbitrary arrest, detention, torture, and sentencing of 39 minors in Bahrain. The minors are boys between the ages of 10 and 17. The Special Procedures expressed concern over the physical and mental integrity of 35 of the 39 who were held in solitary confinement, and that the minors serving prison sentences ranging from six months to 43 years were convicted as a result of forced confessions and unfair trials.

This latest Joint Communications report follows a strong series of decisions rendered by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in late July 2015, which declared an additional 8 Bahraini prisoners of conscience to be arbitrarily detained.  Prominent among these was the case of Mr. Mohammed Hassan Sedif and his lawyer Mr. Abdul Aziz Moussa. Human rights defender and blogger Mr. Mohammed Hassan Sedif was arrested and held without legal representation for more than a week.  Subsequently, Mr. Sedif’s lawyer, Mr. Abdul Aziz Moussa was detained after he reported on Twitter the visible signs of torture he had seen on Mr. Sedif. Although the Bahraini government has released Mr. Sedif, Mr. Moussa and six others remains in detention. The WGAD held that the Bahraini government should release the detainees and provide a means for seeking compensation, in addition to referring the cases to the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.

An anonymized list of children facing prosecution and imprisonment at the hands of Saudi authorities can be found below:

  1. ……….……, 15 years old at the time of arrest. Remains in detention awaiting trial.
  2. ……….……, 16 years old at the time of arrest, sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. Decision upheld on appeal. Remains in detention.
  3. ……………, 17 years old at the time of arrest, sentenced to 3 years and 6 months imprisonment. Additional charges pending. Remains in detention.
  4. ………….…, 14 years old. Remains in detention awaiting trial.
  5. ……………, 14 years old at the time of arrest. Released on 30 December 2014.
  6. ……………, 16 years old at the time of arrest. Remains in detention awaiting trial.
  7. ……………, 15 years old at the time of arrest, sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. Sentence upheld on appeal. Remains in detention.
  8. ……………, 15 years old at the time of arrest, sentenced to 15 years imprisonment and 6,000 Bahraini Dinars (approximately 1,600 US Dollars). Sentences upheld on appeal. Remains in detention.
  9. ……………, 16 years old at the time of arrest. Remains in detention awaiting trial.
  10. ……………, 10 years old at the time of arrest. Released and pardoned in late 2014.
  11. ……………, 16 years old at the time of arrest, sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. Remains in detention.
  12. ……………, 15 years old at the time of arrest. Remains in detention awaiting trial.
  13. ……………, 17 years old at the time of arrest, sentenced to 51years imprisonment. Sentenced reduced to 40 years imprisonment on appeal. Remains in detention.
  14. ……………, 15 years old at the time of arrest, sentenced to 3 years imprisonment. Remains in detention.
  15. ……………, 15 years old at the time of arrest, sentenced to 6 months imprisonment. Remains in detention.
  16. ……………, 17 years old at the time of arrest, sentenced to life imprisonment. Sentence reduced to 15 years imprisonment on appeal. Remains in detention.
  17. ……………, 15 years old at the time of arrest, sentenced to life imprisonment. Sentence reduced to 15 years imprisonment on appeal. Remains in detention.
  18. ……………, 16 years old at the time of arrest. Remains in detention awaiting trial.
  19. ……………, 15 years old at the time of arrest. Remains in detention awaiting trial.
  20. ……………, 15 years old at the time of arrest, sentenced to 1 year under observation. Remains in detention.
  21. ……………, 16 years old at the time of arrest. Remains in detention awaiting trial.
  22. ……………, 17 years old at the time of arrest. Remains in detention awaiting trial.
  23. ……………, 16 years old at the time of arrest. Remains in detention awaiting trial. He suffers from Marfan syndrome and a heart condition.
  24. ……………, 16 years old, sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. Remains in detention.
  25. ……………, 15 years old at the time of arrest, sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. Remains in detention.
  26. ……………, 17 years old at the time of arrest, sentenced to 6 years imprisonment. Remains in detention.
  27. ……………, 16 years old at the time of arrest. Remains in detention awaiting trial. He has severe hearing impediments in both ears and severe speech impediments.
  28. ……………, 16 years old at the time of arrest. Remains in detention awaiting trial. He suffers from a deformity in his leg that makes it difficult for him to walk.
  29. ……………, 17 years old at the time of arrest. Remains in detention awaiting trial.
  30. ……………, 15 years old at the time of charging. Remains in detention awaiting trial.
  31. ……………, 17 years old at time of charging. Remains in detention awaiting trial.
  32. ……………, 17 years old at the time of charging. Remains in detention awaiting trial.
  33. ……………, 15 years old at the time of arrest. Remains in detention awaiting trial.
  34. ……………, 16 years old at the time of charging. Sentenced in abstentia and remains in hiding.
  35. ……………, 15 years old at the time of charging. Remains in hiding.
  36. ……………, 17 years old at the time of charging. Remains in hiding.
  37. ……………, 17 years old at the time of charging. Remains in detention awaiting trial.
  38. ……………, 17 years old at the time of charging. Remains in detention awaiting trial.
  39. ……………, 17 years old, sentenced for unknown period of time. Remains in detention.