Profiles in Persecution: Mohamed Ramadan & Husain Ali Moosa

Update: On 22 October 2018, the Court of Cassation overturned their verdict, on the basis of new medical reports which may exhibit signs of torture. They are currently awaiting re-trial. 

Mohamed Ramadan, a 36-year-old former security officer at the Bahrain International Airport, and Husain Ali Moosa, 32 years old, are two Bahraini citizens sentenced to death in a collective judgment in 2014. They were convicted for their alleged involvement in the Al-Dair bombing of 14 February 2014, where a group allegedly ambushed security personnel and detonated a homemade improvised explosive device, leading to the death of a security officer and injuring several others.

Officers from the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) arrested Mohamed without a warrant on 18 February 2014 at approximately 1:30 am at his workplace. At 2:30 am, Mohamed was reported missing and security forces raided his house without a warrant. Four days later, he informed his family that he was being interrogated at the CID. During this four-day period, the officers subjected him to torture. They verbally insulted him, handcuffed him, blindfolded him, beat him, placed him in a cold cell, and extracted a coerced confession. Mohamed later stated that the authorities admitted that they knew he was innocent but insisted that his participation against the government made him a traitor. Mohamed suffered injuries as a result of his torture, but his treatment was interrupted by officers under the pretext of the need for a second interrogation. He was denied legal counsel until his trial in December 2014.

Upon being presented for trial, Mohamed immediately informed both the investigating Public Prosecutor and Fourth Superior Criminal Court of his torture. Nevertheless, the court convicted Mohamed of premeditated murder, with the court relying almost solely on his coerced confession. The initial death sentence was upheld on appeal. On 16 November 2015, Bahrain’s Court of Cassation – the highest court – rejected Mohamed’s final appeal. He is currently awaiting imminent execution at Jau Prison. His mother died during his detention, on 14 December 2017, and Mohamed was not permitted any form of farewell or mourning.

Sentenced to death in the same trial, Husain received similar treatment as Mohamed. Officers arrested him on 21 March 2014 without a warrant in Samaheej. The CID officers used the same methods of torture to coerce him into confessing that he was involved in the bombing and that Mohamed was holding the explosive device during the events at Al-Dair. After he confessed, CID officers transferred him to the Office of Public Prosecution, where Husain withdrew his confession. The officers returned him to the CID, and continued to torture Husain for a further three months. The authorities also denied him legal counsel during the interrogations. Al Samaheej police officers escorted him to Al Qarya where he was told to act out their version of events on tape.

Bahrain’s actions against Mohamed Ramadan and Husain Ali violate international law, including the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment, The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Articles 7, 9, and 14), and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Article 12).

ADHRB calls upon Bahrain to uphold its human rights obligations by annulling Mohamed Ramadan and Husain Ali Moosa’s death sentences and ensuring that future trials are consistent with the right to a fair and independent trial, and to investigate claims of torture perpetrated by Bahraini authorities.