Profiles in Persecution: Mohamed Ramadan & Husain Moosa

Updated: Mohamed Ramadan, a 40-year-old former security officer at the Bahrain International Airport, and Husain Ali Moosa, 37 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. The two men have exhausted all legal measures and are threatened with the danger of execution at any moment upon the king’s signature.

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 during a short call that he was being interrogated at the CID. During this four-day period, the officers subjected him to various forms of 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. When Mohamed tried to clarify that he was forced to sign a false confession in front of the judge, the court returned him to the Riffa Police Station for 13 days, where it was reported that he was blindfolded, bound with straps, and subjected to torture once again. Mohamed is still suffering from 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. His mother died during his detention, on 14 December 2017, and Mohamed was not permitted any form of farewell or mourning.

Officers arrested Husain Moosa 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. He was suspended from the ceiling for three days while being beaten with batons, and he was threatened with harming his relatives and exposing his sisters to harm. After he confessed, CID officers transferred him to the Office of Public Prosecution, where Husain withdrew his confession. After that 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.

The criminal court sentenced the two men to death on 29 December 2014, and the Court of Cassation confirmed the death sentences in November 2015. However, they were overturned in October 2018 after an undisclosed medical report was released which confirmed Moosa’s torture. Nevertheless, without further investigation and based on the same evidence, the High Criminal Court reinstated the convictions and death sentences against Moosa and Ramadan on 8 January 2020. The Court of Cassation affirmed these judgments on 13 July 2020.

On 29 July 2020, a group of experts from the United Nations Special Procedure offices, including the Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, and the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, sent a letter to Bahrain expressing their concern about the arbitrary detention of Mohamed Ramadan and Husain Moosa, as well as the extraction of confessions under torture and the denial of basic guarantees such as fair trial. They emphasized the necessity of granting all individuals their due legal procedures, including confidentiality and access to legal representation, especially since the victims denied any involvement in terrorist attacks in Bahrain.

In their report submitted to the 51st session of the Human Rights Council, which began on September 12, 2022, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention presented four opinions adopted regarding Bahraini prisoners, including Mohamed Ramadan and Husain Moosa.

On May 14, 2023, a number of political prisoners sentenced to death were subjected to physical assault, including Mohamed Ramadan and Husain Moosa, who were present in the same building where the attack occurred. This resulted in injuries and burns, according to testimonies from prisoners. Mohammed was then taken, along with another prisoner, to an unknown location outside the building. This incident occurred after prison guards raided the building under the pretext of a search and proceeded to vandalize the prisoners’ belongings. When some objected to the destruction of their possessions, the guards responded with violent beatings. Since this recent assault, there has been no news of Mohamed Ramadan, and contact with his family has been cut off. His family is now worried about his unknown fate and attempted to contact the prison administration but received no response. Following this, the family engaged in protest actions, including one in front of the Crown Prince’s office, attempting to deliver a message, but their pleas were ignored. On 24 May, while his wife was at the Hura Police Station, she received a call from him informing her about the various violations he experienced during the recent assault that occurred on May 14. These violations included being restrained in a crucifixion-like position for approximately three hours, pepper spraying him and other prisoners, physical beatings, being taken to solitary confinement with his hands and feet shackled for two or three days, and being placed in an extremely cold room.

Bahrain’s actions against Mohamed Ramadan and Husain Ali Moosa 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 Bahraini authorities 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 to end the policy of impunity. We also call on Bahrain to immediately and unconditionally release the two men.