ADHRB Calls Attention to the Plight of Unknown Prisoners in Bahrain

On Wednesday 27 June, during the Item 4 General Debate at the 38th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, ADHRB’s Legal Fellow Bridget Quitter delivered an oral intervention calling the world’s attention to the plight of thousands of unknown and average citizens in prison in Bahrain. Quitter highlighted that hundreds of Bahrainis are arbitrarily arrested and forcibly disappeared for months on end without being charged, before being sent to Isa Town Women’s Prison or the notorious Jau Prison. Click here to read a PDF of her intervention, of continue reading for the full text of her remarks.

Mr. President,

ADHRB would like to draw the attention of the Council to the plight of average Bahrainis who have been subjected to system human rights abuses. We would like to dedicate this speech to these thousands of unknown individuals.

Based on our documentation of hundreds of cases, average Bahrainis like Sayed Kathem Ali, Sayed Ahmed al-Abbar, Fatima Dawood and Zakeya al-Barboori, begin with a warrantless arrest, followed by a disappearance ranging from a few days to several months, without formal charges against them. Bahraini officials subject them to torture to coerce a confession that is used in the trial against them; subject them to an unfair trial in which the detainee may not have access to legal counsel; sentence them, including up to life imprisonment and the death penalty, and strip their nationality. They are either sent to the Women’s Prison at Isa Town or Jau Prison, where the administration denies them access to healthcare and medication.

These abuses are not reserved for violent criminals – rather, they occur on a widespread and systematic basis. Bahrain continues to hide behind the guise of counter-terrorism to violate the basic human rights of its citizens, and to take the silence of the international community as tacit approval for their actions. We call on the Human Rights Council and its members to hold the Bahraini government accountable for these widespread and systematic human rights abuses, and to end the culture of impunity in Bahrain.

Thank you.