Profiles in Persecution: Hasan Moosa Ali

Hasan Moosa Ali is a Bahraini student with learning disabilities who was arrested multiple times, tortured, and sentenced to a total of 23 years’ imprisonment in a series of unfair trials. Hasan is currently imprisoned at Jau Prison.

On 5 September 2012, officials raided Hasan’s family home in an attempt to arrest him, but he was not home at the time. Hasan’s mother asked the officers to see the arrest warrant, but they only said Hasan’s name was on a list of wanted fugitives and would not provide her with a warrant.

After being chased by the authorities for over a year, Hasan was arrested for the first time on 23 September 2013 while he was in a car with his cousin. The officers provided no arrest warrant or reason for the arrest.  The officers took Hasan to Samaheej police station, where officials tortured him by burning the soles of his feet and thighs and by beating him on his head, abdomen, and “sensitive areas.” Two days after his arrest, officials transferred him to the AlHadd police station, where Hasan was interrogated for a week. Officials then allowed him to contact his family for the first time.

On an unknown date, Hasan was charged with illegal assembly and arson. The Bahraini court sentenced him to a total of nine and a half years in prison and a fine of 200 Bahraini dinars. Hasan was denied access to his attorney and did not have adequate time or facilities to prepare for his trial. After his conviction, Hasan was transferred to Jau Prison.

On 10 March 2015, a prison riot broke out when a family was denied access to visit a prisoner. In retribution, at approximately 10:00pm, a group of prison guards attacked a group of detainees, including Hasan. The officers tortured Hasan and the other detainees, forcibly cut their hair, and refused to give them access to a bathroom. In May 2015, officials transferred him to the recently completed New Dry Dock, the section of Jau Prison reserved for inmates under the age of 21.

On 3 June 2016, approximately three years after his arrest, Hasan escaped with some prisoners from New Dry Dock. On the same day, authorities raided his home while searching for him. The authorities returned several times in search of Hasan, but he remained in hiding for approximately two years.

On 23 January 2018, officers in plain clothing forcibly entered Hasan’s grandfather’s home, arrested Hasan, and took him to the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID). He was charged with prison break, hiding from arrest, and for his alleged participation in the Bahraini Hezbollah case. The officers called Hasan’s family two days later to inform them of his arrest and to tell them that he was “fine.”

Officials interrogated Hasan at the CID for 45 days and tortured him to coerce a confession. Hasan did eventually confess to the charges against him, and his confession was used against him during his trial. His lawyer was not allowed to be present during his interrogation. After 45 days at the CID, Hasan was transferred to the “isolation building” of Jau Prison.

The Bahraini court sentenced him to a total of 23 years’ imprisonment, a fine of 100,000 Bahraini dinar, and revoked his citizenship. Hasan was denied access to his attorney and did not have adequate time or facilities to prepare for his trial. The court rejected all of Hasan’s appeals and upheld his convictions. On 21 April 2019, Hasan’s nationality was restored by royal order.

On 15 August 2019, Hasan joined other detainees at the “isolation building” in a hunger strike to protest the poor prison conditions. They demanded to be removed from the isolation building, allowed to practice their religion, and have the restrictions on their phone calls removed. The strike continued until the first week of September, until the prison administration promised them to fulfil their demands; however, after the strike stopped, the administration refused to keep their promises. Hasan remains imprisoned in the isolation building of Jau Prison.

The Government of Bahrain’s treatment of Hasan 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 Hasan’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 Hasan in an unfair 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 Hasan’s conviction in light of the forced confession and subsequent unfair trial. We further call on the Bahraini authorities to investigate Ali’s allegations of torture, with a view towards holding the perpetrators accountable.