WASHINGTON, DC – September 26, 2013 – On September 24, ADHRB learned that Taqi al-Maidan, a 25-year-old United States citizen who has lived in Bahrain for the last eleven years, has been convicted and sentenced to 10 years in a Bahrain prison under charges of attempted murder of a police officer. Al-Maidan was imprisoned and accused of attempting to murder a police officer during a protest on October 5th. Al-Maidan, who insists he was not present at the protest, maintains his innocence. ADHRB is profoundly concerned about allegations that al-Maidan was mistreatment during his detention and condemns the gross miscarriage of justice executive by the Bahraini courts. ADHRB demands that the government of Bahrain fulfill its international obligations by immediately investigating allegations of torture.
Taqi Abdallah al-Maidan, a 25-year old American citizen born in Connecticut, has lived in Bahrain for the last eleven years. On 7 October 2012, masked men in civilian clothing forcibly entered his family’s apartment and arrested al-Maidan without presenting a warrant. Al-Maidan, speaking through his mother, accused Bahraini law enforcement officers of torture, abuse, and other forms of severe mistreatment, including physical assault, denied access to the restroom, and threats of raping his mother if he did not confess his guilt. They also subjected him to prolonged standing in stress positions, causing him further pain due to a spinal disorder. In this manner, Bahraini law enforcement officers elicited the confession used to convict him.
“The mistreatment of Taqi al-Maidan, which directly led to the coerced confession used in his conviction, exemplifies the types of human rights abuses the Bahrain government is willing to deploy in order to convict ordinary Bahrainis,” ADHRB Executive Director, Husain Abdulla, said. “While the Bahrain government claims to be implementing recommendations of reform and supporting respect for human rights, their behavior sends a very clear message that the situation has not improved,” Abdulla said.
According to the Convention Against Torture (CAT), signed and ratified by Bahrain on 6 March 1998, “… any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him… a confession… by a public official,” constitutes torture, and that person who commits an act of torture must be subject to criminal penalty. Additionally, the CAT mandates that, “each State Party shall ensure that any statement… made as a result of torture shall not be invoked as evidence in any proceedings…”
“The treatment of prisoners like al-Maidan by the Government of Bahrain is a clear violation of international law and human rights standards,” Abdulla said. “ADHRB demands that the government of Bahrain honor its human rights commitments and investigate allegations of torture made by prisoners in Bahrain, including al-Maidan. Should allegations of torture turn out to be true, the Bahrain government must immediately hold accountable any law enforcement officials who committed such acts and vacate all convictions made as a result of a forced confession,” Abdulla said.
“Additionally, while we are pleased that the American consulate in Bahrain has been monitoring al-Maidan’s case, we call upon the government of the United States, including the U.S. Department of State, to demand that the Bahrain government investigate the allegations of torture,” Abdulla said. “We will continue to closely monitor al-Maidan’s situation and insist that the government respect the rights of all in Bahrain.”
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