Profiles in Persecution- Jawad Redha AlTarifi

Jawad Redha AlTarifi is a 27-year-old Bahraini citizen. Since his arbitrary arrest and detention in 2017, the Bahraini authorities have subjected him to torture, mistreated him on the basis of his religion, and convicted him in an unfair trial. He is currently in Jau Prison.

On 13 December 2017, officers wearing civilian clothing arrested Jawad at his workplace without a warrant or any stated reason for his arrest. That same day at approximately midnight, masked men believed to be linked to the National Security Agency (NSA) raided Jawad’s house without permission or a warrant. During their raid, they damaged Jawad’s furniture and other contents in the house. They remained at his home for five hours.

Following his arrest, the media plastered Jawad’s picture on the news while describing his alleged terrorist activities; however, at this time, Jawad was not aware of any charges against him. The Bahraini authorities disappeared Jawad for five weeks, during which they detained him at the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID). There, CID officers tortured him in order to coerce him into making a confession. They subjected Jawad to ill-treatment, beatings, and persistent verbal abuse, in addition to denigrating his religious beliefs. Additionally, the prison officers did not allow Jawad to communicate with his attorney until his first court hearing.

About two months after his arrest, complaints regarding the raid at Jawad’s home, his torture, vandalism in the house, and the confiscation of items in his home were sent to Bahrain’s Ministry of Interior (MoI) Ombudsman. As of July 2019, the Ombudsman has not answered. On 21 January 2019, the Bahraini officers transferred Jawad from the CID to Dry Dock Detention Center to wait for his trial.

On 16 April 2019, the Bahraini government convicted Jawad on four charges related to his alleged terrorist activity in the so-called “Bahraini Hezbollah” case, a mass trial of 169 defendants. The court admitted the coerced confessions, and sentenced Jawad to life imprisonment and stripped him of his nationality. His nationality was later re-instated by royal order on 20 April 2019, but his conviction was upheld on appeal on 30 June 2019. On 24 April 2019, Jawad was transferred from Dry Dock Detention Center to Jau Prison to carry out his sentence.

Bahrain’s actions against Jawad violate international law, including the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), both of which Bahrain is a party to. Jawad’s arrest and detention without a warrant infringe on his right to his liberty and security that is protected under Article 9 of the ICCPR. Similarly, Jawad’s conviction, in light of the coerced confession obtained through torture, created an unfair trial under Article 14 of the ICCPR and was in violation of Article 15 of CAT.  Lastly, Bahrain’s ill-treatment towards Jawad because of his religious beliefs violates Article 18 under the ICCPR which provides for the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) calls upon Bahrain to uphold its human rights obligations by annulling Jawad’s conviction in light of the forced confession and unfair trial, 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 prison officials, to hold those officials accountable, and to keep Jawad informed on the status of his complaints.