UPDATE: 17-Year-Old U.S. Citizen Abdulla Jaffar Released from Bahraini Prison

On June 23, Abdulla Jaffar, a Bahraini-American and Virginia native was released on bail pending trial. Abdulla had been held in prison for over three months as his trial was repeatedly postponed due to lack of witnesses or evidence. During his imprisonment, he was denied medical care though he was suffering from wounds sustained during his arrest and a throat infection that he developed while in prison. Abdulla is a high school student who, as a result of his prolonged detention, was forced to miss his final exams and will be required to repeat an entire year of his schooling.

Abdulla was detained on March 10, 2014 by Bahraini security forces while grocery shopping a block away from his grandfather’s home. According to his family, the police accused him of attending an illegal protest and beat him repeatedly before taking him into their police vehicle.

On May 23rd, 14 NGOs and individuals sent a letter to the Government of Bahrain calling for the release of Abdulla Jaffar from prison and the dismissal of all charges based on the lack of evidence or witnesses to any wrongdoing. The letter also called for an investigation into allegations of torture and ill-treatment of Abdulla, including the use of force and coercion to obtain a confession.

The family is relieved and happy to be reunited with their teenage son, but expressed concern about the spurious charges against him which are still pending. Abdulla’s next hearing is scheduled for September 29, 2014.