Profiles in Persecution: Nooh Abdulla Al Amroom

Nooh Abdulla Al Amroom was a 17-year-old student at the time of his initial arrest in Bahrain in 2015. He was released pending trial, but re-arrested a year later on separate charges. Since then, the Bahraini authorities have subjected him to torture and failed to provide him with adequate medical treatment for his teeth and body pain. He currently remains in Jau Prison.

In mid-September of 2015, officers arrested Nooh from his house in the early hours of the morning on charges of illegal assembly and rioting. He was detained for four months in pre-trial detention at New Dry Dock and was later released in January 2016 pending trial.

On 11 September 2016, officers from the National Security Agency (NSA) arrested Nooh at the airport upon his return from a family trip to Iran. The authorities did not show a warrant, nor did they mention the reason for his arrest, though Nooh was later informed by his lawyer that he was suspected of placing a fake bomb shaped like a suitcase on Zayed Street.

Following his arrest, the Bahraini officers allowed Nooh one phone call before disappearing him for two or three days. They held him at the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) where officers tortured him by beating him on the face and head, verbally abused him, constantly threatened him, and denied him showers or clean clothes. He remained blindfolded the entire time he was at the CID. On account of these conditions, Nooh confessed to the alleged crimes. Two weeks after his arrest, the officers brought him before the Office of Public Prosecution (OPP) without his lawyer’s knowledge and transferred him to New Dry Dock awaiting trial.

Bahraini authorities denied Nooh access to his attorney during his interrogation and ahead of his court date. On 29 March 2018, the court convicted Nooh of illegal assembly, rioting, and planting a fake explosive. The judge sentenced him to 11 years in prison, reduced to nine years on appeal. On the same day, the judge sentenced him to three months in prison for the illegal assembly and rioting charge from September 2015.

After his sentencing, Nooh’s living conditions and health worsened. Nooh alleges that prison officers constantly harass him by mocking him and other inmates for their religion, cutting off the water supply, not allowing them to bathe, and instigating trouble to justify the use of solitary confinement. He states that the guards confiscated his clothes, books, and pens, and that they beat him on his head and stomach to the point that he was unable to move.

Nooh is suffering from eye redness, knee pain, and damaged teeth from the officers’ torture. He also has trouble sleeping because of the lack of hygiene in the prison cell and constant body pain. Nooh is regularly denied medical care, and if he is able to attend the clinic, he is only prescribed pain killers. Nooh’s family informed the Ministry of Interior (MoI) Ombudsman of Nooh’s lack of treatment for his teeth, lack of clean water, and overcrowded cells, however, no action has been taken to resolve the situation.

Bahrain’s actions against Nooh Abdulla Al Amroom violate international law. Nooh’s arrest and detention without a warrant infringe on his right to his liberty and security under Article 9 of the International Covenant and Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Bahrain is a party. Additionally, Nooh’s conviction, in light of the coerced confession obtained through torture, created an unfair trial in violation of Article 14 of the ICCPR. The torture endured by Nooh is also in violation of the Convention against Torture and other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading treatment or Punishment (CAT), to which Bahrain is a party. Subsequently, under the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), each person has a right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health under Article 12.  Bahraini officers violated this Covenant by depriving Nooh the medical procedures needed for his knee pain and damaged teeth.

Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) calls upon Bahrain to uphold its human rights obligations by annulling Nooh’s conviction in light of his unfair trial, conducting any future trial against him in accordance with international law and standards, and investigating claims of torture and ill-treatment by prison officials with a view to hold those officials accountable, and to keep Nooh’s family informed on the status of their complaints.