HRC37 Intervention on Torture of HRDs and Political Activists in Bahrain

On 9 March 2018 at the 37th session of the Human Rights Council, Michael Payne, ADHRB’s Director of Advocacy, delivered an oral intervention during the Item 3 General Debate on torture and ill-treatment against political activists and human rights defenders in Bahrain. In his intervention, Payne raised the cases of rights defenders Nabeel Rajab, Dr. Abduljalil al-Singace, and Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, and political activists and leaders Abdulwahab Hussain and Hasan Mushaima, all of whom have been denied necessary medical care. Click here for a PDF of the intervention.

Mr. President,

We welcomed the report of the special rapporteurs on torture and on human rights defenders, and we continue to be deeply concerned by torture and ill-treatment against human rights defenders, particularly while serving arbitrary prison sentences.

For example, the Bahraini government recently sentenced human rights defender Nabeel Rajab to seven years for tweets and comments to foreign media. In prison, Rajab has been subject to prolonged isolation and denied proper medical care. Other prisoners of conscience face similar treatment while in detention. Dr. Abduljalil Singace and Abdulhadi al-Khawaja have been repeatedly denied proper medical care for their torture and for longstanding health issues. Additionally, they have had all personal items confiscated and family visits restricted.

Similar measures are used against political activists. Opposition parties have been dissolved, with leading members targeted by authorities. Political figures like Abdulwahab Hussain and Hasan Mushaima, have been denied proper medical care since 2011, including required cancer screening for Mr. Mushaima. Sheikh Ali Salman—arbitrarily detained since 2014—had new charges brought in 2017 now accusing him of spying for Qatar. This trial has been routinely postponed since it began in November 2017.

We therefore call on all States, including Bahrain, to end all acts of torture and ill-treatment, particularly against human rights defenders and other political prisoners of conscience, and to release these individuals immediately.

Thank you

Photo credit to Moosa Mohammed