Sheikh Mohammed Habib al-Miqdad: July’s Champion for Justice

Champions for Justice

Sheikh Mohammed Habib al-Miqdad

Sheikh Mohammed Habib al-Miqdad (al-Moqdad, al-Muqdad, al-Mekdad, Alsafaf), a prominent Bahraini-Swedish religious leader, scholar, social activist and president of Al-Zahra Charity Institution for Orphans, was born in the Bilad Al Qadeem region of Bahrain. He is well-known for speaking out against injustices related to corruption, discrimination, arbitrary detention and torture.

In August 2010, al-Miqdad was detained and effectively disappeared, unable to contact his family or lawyer, for charges of “oppositional activity.” He was subsequently tortured and kept in solitary confinement for two months. He was initially released in late February 2011, but was arrested again in April “by a group of 50-60 people wearing civilian clothes and masks” at home.

During this detention period, al-Miqdad claims he was blindfolded, handcuffed, and repeatedly tortured by the son of the Bahraini King, Nasser Bin Hamad. Before his trial, al-Miqdad tried to inform the presiding judge about the various acts of torture and sexual harassment that he and other prisoners were subjected to. He showed the judge more than 50 instances of electric shock on his body, and the wound left by a drill piercing his leg.

Last year, al-Miqdad began experiencing difficulty ingesting food. Bahraini authorities refused to grant him access to proper medical treatment, in direct contravention of human rights conventions on the treatment of prisoners. When the Interior Ministry finally allowed al-Miqdad to seek medical treatment, doctors confirmed that his difficulty ingesting food was a direct result of severe torture and injury to the abdomen.

On June 22, 2011 al-Miqdad was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of inciting attacks on policemen during sermons given in the Pearl Roundabout. Other charges include plotting to overthrow the Bahraini monarchical government and “establishing a terrorist organization abroad.”

The Swedish government has made repeated attempts to see Mohamed Habib al-Miqdad, but was denied access by the Bahraini government which does not recognize his dual citizenship.

Take Action

During the month of July, ADHRB is asking all defenders of human rights to take part in highlighting Champion for Justice Mohammed Habib al-Miqdad by using our template to write a letter to your Member of Congress expressing your concern. Please use the following websites to find the contact information for your Representative and Senator.