Profiles in Persecution: Husain Mohsen Al-Meftah

Husain Mohsen Al-Meftah is a 32-year-old Bahraini citizen who worked as a guard at the Al-Arian factory prior to his arrest. He was arbitrarily arrested by police officers, forcibly disappeared for over 20 days, and tortured into confessing to the charges against him. Husain currently awaits his appeal in Jau Prison.

On 8 November 2015, officers in plain clothing raided Husain’s home during the night and arrested him, without a warrant for either action. Following his arrest, security forces disappeared Husain for 24 days, during which he was able to call his family twice and inform them that he was being held in the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID). However, it was later revealed that Husain was actually being held at Jau Prison during this time.

During his disappearance, officers from the CID and Jau Prison subjected Husain to torture and ill treatment, including physical beatings, threats of rape, forced standing while blindfolded, and electric shocks. The authorities tortured Husain in order to extract a confession to the charges against him and to provide information on his co-defendant Ali Al-Tajer, who had been arrested one week prior. Husain denied the charges against them both, but eventually signed a confession under torture. On 29 November 2015, he was brought before the Office of Public Prosecution (OPP) and was forced to confess again to the charges against him.

On 15 May 2018, Husain was sentenced in absentia to life in prison and denaturalized in a mass trial of 138 defendants. During his detention and interrogation, Husain was not allowed to consult with legal counsel, was not provided with adequate facilities or time to prepare a defense, and was not brought before a judge within a reasonable period following his arrest, as he was only brought to the OPP after 21 days in detention. On 25 June 2018, Husain was transferred to Jau Prison where he currently awaits his appeal, scheduled for 12 September 2018.

Bahrain’s actions against Husain violate its obligations under international law. The torture he was subjected to during the interrogations in order to obtain a confession violate Article 2 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), and Articles 7 and 10 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Further, the use of statements obtained through torture in criminal proceedings against Husain is similarly in violation of Article 15 of the CAT. By denying Husain consultation with counsel and the right to prepare his defense prior to his trial, Bahrain also violated his right to a fair trial guaranteed by Article 14(3) of the ICCPR, and his detention is arbitrary in violation of Article 9 of the same. Bahrain is a party to both of these treaties.

ADHRB calls upon Bahrain to uphold its human rights obligations by annulling Husain’s conviction and ensuring that any subsequent trial is consistent with due process and fair trial rights. We further urge the authorities to investigate all allegations of torture and abuse, and to prosecute the perpetrators. We lastly call on the authorities to immediately cease all use of torture and to ensure that any testimony thereby obtained is barred from trial.