Profiles in Persecution: Ali Sayed Hashem 

Ali Sayed Hashem was a high school student before his arbitrary arrest and torture by Bahraini security forces in July 2017.  Subjected to an unfair trial, Ali is now serving a six-year sentence in New Dry Dock, the section of Jau Prison for individuals under the age of 21, where he has again been tortured and denied access to healthcare.

On 28 July 2017, while passing through the Bahraini border at the King Fahd Causeway on his way to Saudi Arabia, officers arrested Ali without a warrant and took him to the King Fahd Causeway police station. At approximately 1:00am, an unmarked car arrived with three officers in plain clothing who stated that they were from the Ministry of Interior (MoI)’s Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) and took Ali to the CID. Ali was detained there for a week, then was transferred to New Dry Dock for one month, during which time the authorities also brought him to the Office of Public Prosecution for interrogation. During these interrogations, officers subjected Ali to insults and threats as well as multiple forms of torture such as hitting, kicking, handcuffing, and blindfolding. They tortured him to extract a confession to the charges against him. He reported that the officers threw him to the ground of an extremely air-conditioned room where he was so cold that he “felt [his] teeth would fall out” because they were chattering so hard. Many detainees in CID custody have reported being subjected to this torture technique, which is often referred to colloquially as “The Fridge.”

Towards the end of September 2017, he was suddenly transferred to the CID building on new charges, where he was interrogated by CID and National Security Agency (NSA) officers on incidents that occurred during his detention at New Dry Dock. This time, he was detained at the CID for one month. Officers permitted him to make one phone call a week and say one phrase: “I am fine.” However, it was later discovered that during this month the CID and NSA officers subjected Ali to “the most severe torture and beatings” to force him to confess to the charges against him.

On 23 February 2018, Ali was sentenced to five years in prison on the charge of placing a fake explosive on Sheikh Khalifa Bin Salman Street. On 12 June 2018, Ali was sentenced to an additional year on the charge of placing a fake explosive in a small square in the village of Buri.

Ali has suffered injuries as a result of his torture in pretrial detention and he has made requests for healthcare. The prison authorities took him to the prison clinic, but no doctor treated him. As a result, he states that he remains in both physical and mental pain.

From 26 September 2018 until 3 October 2018, authorities also held Ali incommunicado. He was only allowed to make calls after this date because activists started raising attention to his disappearance and mistreatment on social media outlets such as Instagram and Twitter.

Bahrain’s abuse of Ali is in violation of his fundamental human rights and Bahrain’s international and domestic obligations. The detaining forces never offered a warrant to arrest him, in violation of the Bahraini constitution.  Authorities tortured him to unlawfully extract a confession that was then accepted by the court.  In this case, as in others, the Bahraini  government  did  not  fulfill  its  obligations  under  the  international  treaties  prohibiting  torture  and  arbitrary  detention  to  which  it  is  party, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.  In light of this record,  ADHRB  calls  for  Ali’s  release  with  redress  for  past  suffering  and,  if  serious  criminal  charges  can  be  sustained  against  him,  for  a  fair  trial  conducted  under  universally  agreed  juridical  standards  open  to  international  monitoring  and  evaluation.