Profiles in Persecution: Husain Ali Muhana

Husain Ali Muhana is a 23-year-old Bahraini student who was arrested without a warrant from his friend’s house by officers from Bahrain’s Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) and other Ministry of Interior (MOI) officers in 2017. He was subsequently tortured and convicted in an unfair mass trial, and is currently in Jau Prison.

Husain has been targeted by Bahraini officials since 2016. While he was out of the country undergoing eye surgery, officers from the CID raided his family’s house and searched his computers. Four months after Husain returned to Bahrain officers again raided the house, but Husain was not present at the time. The officers did not present a warrant or provide an explanation for the raid, but told Husain’s parents that Husain had to turn himself in. After learning of this, Husain went into hiding for a year, during which period the homes of family members were raided and Husain was shot by authorities but avoided arrest.

On 14 December 2017, officers and helicopters belonging to the Special Security Force Command (SSFC) of the MOI, along with officers from the CID surrounded and fortified the town of Bilad Al Qadeem, chased Husain, and arrested him from his friend’s house. The officers did not present a warrant, nor did they give a reason for the arrest.

Officers transferred Husain to the CID, where they held him for 40 days. While at the CID, officers insulted, beat, and tortured Husain, and coerced him to confess to crimes he did not commit. His lawyer was not allowed to attend during interrogations. 

The Bahraini authorities charged Husain with incitement to murder, in addition to multiple other offenses,  and evading arrest. He was sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment and revocation of his Bahraini citizenship on the incitement charge, reduced to five years on appeal. Husain was transferred to Jau Prison on 22 January 2018. Husain also suffered from several injuries from Schuetzen rifle bullets in his feet and knees, and was denied to see a doctor although he asked for it when he was transferred to Jau Prison, one month after his arrest. On 26 September 2018, the court sentenced him to one year in prison for evading arrest. Both trials were based on the confessions he made under duress without any evidence.

On 16 April 2019, Husain was sentenced to life imprisonment, revocation of his Bahraini citizenship, and a fine of 100,000 dinars in a mass trial along with 168 other defendants in the “Bahraini Hezbollah” case. He was one of 69 individuals sentenced to life in prison. Husain’s sentence was upheld on 30 June 2019, but his nationality was reinstated on 20 April 2019 by Royal Order.

The Government of Bahrain’s treatment of Husain is in violation of Bahrain’s international human rights obligations, including under 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 Husain’s confession, coerced through torture, is additionally in violation of Article 15 of the CAT. Furthermore, Article 14 of the ICCPR provides that all individuals are entitled to a fair trial, yet the Bahraini authorities convicted Husain in an unfair mass trial based on a forced confession.

Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) calls upon Bahrain to uphold its human rights obligations by annulling Husain’s conviction in light of the forced confession and subsequent unfair trial. We further call on the Bahraini authorities to investigate Husain’s allegations of ill-treatment and torture at the CID, with a view towards holding the perpetrators accountable, as well as to ensure appropriate medical care is provided for all prisoners.