Profiles in Persecution: Mohamed Ebrahim Ali

Mohamed Ebrahim Ali is a Bahraini citizen who has been convicted in two separate unfair trials and repeatedly tortured by the authorities. At the time of his arrest in 2012, he was just 15 years old. Mohamed is currently being held in Jau Prison.

On 15 July 2012, masked men in civilian clothing surrounded Mohamed’s home with security vehicles and then entered the house, carrying weapons and a searchlight. They arrested Mohamed and disappeared him for 18 days, during which time they tortured him into confessing at the Dawwar 17 Police Station. The officers brought him to the Office of Public Prosecution and on to Dry Dock Detention Center pending his trial.

He was sentenced to six months in prison and a fine, without his parents’ knowledge and without representation by a lawyer, for the crime of assault and damaging the vehicle of a man from another religious sect. Mohamed appealed and was found innocent, but the authorities did not release him. They informed his parents that this was because he had confessed to other crimes, including attempted murder, burning a Jeep car and tires, throwing Molotov cocktails, and obstructing security personnel from performing their duties. Again, Mohamed was tortured at the police station to coerce a confession. Officers brought him before the Office of Public Prosecution, where Mohamed denied all charges. When the judge asked why he withdrew his confession, Mohamed informed the judge that he had only confessed after being tortured, and showed the marks on his body. He was brought back to the police station, and the station chief slapped him for his remarks before the judge. Officers transported Mohamed to Dry Dock while awaiting trial on these charges. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison on 21 March 2013, later reduced to 10 years on appeal.

The authorities have continued to torture Mohamed during his incarceration in Jau. He has been beaten on the head until he received a wound that required stitching four times. Guards also extinguished cigarettes in Mohamed’s mouth, held him underwater, slapped him, spat on him, and kicked him. On one occasion, six guards kicked him in the chest in view of the Southern Police Director-General, who said “hurt him but don’t kill him.” Mohamed lost consciousness for three hours, and guards stripped him and chained him to an iron bed in a cold cell. He has been subjected to forced nudity, sent to solitary confinement as punishment, and forced to walk barefoot to the building for visits. A guard assaulted him on camera, but no criminal charges have been brought against the guard. Mohamed has also stated that guards sexually assault prisoners, touching private areas while the prisoners are going to and from the prison yard; if anyone resists or reacts angrily they are beaten. He has also reported guards kicking inmates in the genitals.

Bahrain’s actions against Mohamed violate international law, including the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Articles 7 and 9), and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (Articles 37 and 40). Bahrain is a party to each of these treaties.

ADHRB calls upon Bahrain to uphold its human rights obligations by annulling Mohamed’s convictions because his confessions were obtained through torture, and ensuring that any subsequent trial is consistent with due process and fair trial rights. We additionally urge the authorities to investigate claims of torture by prison officials and to hold those officials accountable.