Profiles in Persecution: Hasan Ali Fateel

Hasan Ali Fateel is a 20-year-old Bahraini student who was arbitrarily detained after his warrantless arrest in 2018.Since Hasan’s arrest, Bahraini officials have tortured him, disappeared him for over a month, and subjected him to an unfair trial. Hasan is currently imprisoned in New Dry Dock, the section of Jau Prison reserved for inmates under 21 years of age.

On 6 February 2018, officers from the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID), the Ministry of Interior (MoI), the National Security Agency (NSA), and officers in plain clothing raided Hasan’s home while he was gone. When Hasan arrived home, the officers arrested him without a warrant, forced him into an unmarked car, and started to beat him while they drove away. Hasan’s mother later asked the police why they arrested Hasan and the officers mockingly replied that it was because he smoked – not disclosing the actual reason for his arrest.

Hasan was disappeared for over a month following his arrest. The officers allowed him to call his parents only once, several nights after his arrest, to tell them that he was fine before the officers abruptly cut off the call. The officers held Hasan at the CID building, where they tortured him to illicit a confession, which was later used in the trial against him. Hasan was denied access to his attorney while he was detained at the CID.

The officers had previously informed Hasan that he was only charged with joining a terrorist group called the “Bahraini Hezbollah.” However, when he was brought before the Office of Public Prosecution (OPP), he learned for the first time that he was additionally charged with five or six other crimes, including supplying funding and providing training for the group. After six weeks, the officers transferred Hasan to New Dry Dock, where he was finally allowed to communicate with his parents and his attorney.

On 16 April 2019, the Fourth High Criminal Court sentenced Hasan to life imprisonment, revoked his Bahraini citizenship, and fined him for 100,000 Bahraini dinars. His citizenship was later restored by royal order on 20 April 2019. His conviction was upheld on appeal on 30 June 2019.

The Government of Bahrain’s treatment of Hasan is in violation of Bahrain’s international human rights obligations, including the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment (CAT) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Articles 2 and 11 of the CAT prohibit torture and ill treatment and require State Parties to prevent torture as well as to investigate and punish its perpetrators. The use of Hasan’s confession, coerced through torture, is also in violation of Article 15 of the CAT, and contributed to the unfair nature of his trial under the ICCPR. Article 14 of the ICCPR provides that all individuals are entitled to a fair trial, yet the Bahraini authorities convicted Hasan in a trial, which was in flagrant violation of these provisions.

Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) calls for the immediate release of Hasan Ali Fateel. We also call for the Government of Bahrain to conduct an investigation into all allegations of torture and ill-treatment and to hold all perpetrators accountable. We further call for the authorities to provide Hasan with compensation for his arbitrary detention and suffering.