Profiles in Persecution: Jaafar Mohamed Shughul

Jaafar is a 24-year-old University of Bahrain student currently held in Jau Prison on charges of burning tires, insulting a former Member of Parliament, and kidnapping. He was sentenced to a total of 19 years in prison. Jaafar was sentenced in absentia for the charges of burning tires and insulting a former MP because he was not in police custody at the time, and was being pursued by authorities.

On 12 February 2015, Jaafar was arrested by riot police at his friend’s home. Before his arrest, riot police forces entered into Jaafar’s family home several times, with a warrant, informing his family that he was wanted at the Ministry of Interior’s Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID).

Upon arrest, authorities transported Jaafar to the CID, where he was interrogated and tortured for four days relating to the charge of kidnapping. The torture consisted of CID officers severely beating Jaafar in the face and head as punishment for his alleged crimes. Jaafar was convicted on this third charge as well, bringing his total prison sentence to 19 years.

Authorities have continued to abuse Jaafar during his time in Jau Prison. For example, Jaafar was tortured by Jordanian police officers that are affiliated with Jau Prison authorities during the collective punishment of inmates following the March 2015 unrest at the facility. He was subjected to severe beatings, which were evident by markings and scars on his face that his family witnessed upon visitations.

On one occasion, Jaafar was forced to go to the prison barber, but in order to get there he had to walk down a hallway in the prison surrounded by guards. Prison officers were posted on both sides of the hallway and they kicked and beat Jaafar with a stick until he was forced to crawl. On the way back from the barber the same beating occurred, but this time Jaafar was hit so hard in the head that he lost consciousness. The officers threw cold water on him in order to wake him up and continue the torture. The only medical attention that Jaafar received was intravenous medication. On occasions when the weather was cold, Jaafar was put under cold water as a form of torture. This torture lasted from March 2015 to May 2015.

Bahrain’s actions against Jaafar 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, 9, and 14), and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (Article 12). Bahrain is a party to each of these treaties.

ADHRB calls upon Bahrain to uphold its human rights obligations by annulling Jaafar’s convictions 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 and ill treatment by officials and to hold them accountable for their actions.