Profiles in Persecution: Husain Ali Mohamed

Husain is a high school student. When he was 11 years old, he was arrested for a week with no reason provided; at age 13 he was arrested again. Husain was 17 when he was recently arrested twice and subjected to arbitrary detention and torture. During his detention he missed out on his high school education and he now remains in the New Dry Dock Detention.

On 18 January 2019, Husain’s family house in Bani Jamra was raided by officers in civilian clothing and officers from the riot police. They did not provide any reason for his arrest nor a warrant. Husain was subjected to enforced disappearance for 12 days, after which his family received a call from the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) to bring him clothes and soap. He was then released on 23 February 2019.

Husain was arrested for the second time on 30 April 2019: a message was sent on his phone ordering him to go to the CID with his legal guardian. When Husain went to the CID with his father, officers took him inside and asked his father to leave. Husain was arrested and detained at the CID for approximately 20 days. The authorities did not give any reason for summoning Husain to the CID and arresting him.

Husain was charged in two different cases. Husain’s family believe the first charge against him is arson of tyres. Regarding the second case, his family knew that he was charged with disrupting traffic in the street. They also knew that he had to pay a fine. However, after paying, authorities stated that Husain was also charged with manufacturing a fake bomb, arson of tyres and assaulting policemen.

On 24 February 2019, for the first case, the Public Prosecution Office took the decision to release Husain and retain the case file for not knowing the offender. Concerning the second one, the charge of disrupting traffic in the street, Husain was released on bail mounting to 200 Bahraini dinars. His family paid the fine, but Husain was not released since he was also tried for other charges. On 30 October 2019, the Fourth High Criminal Court issued a judgement sentencing Husain to two years in prison. On 30 December 2019, the Court of Appeals upheld the judgement.

Husain was interrogated at the CID from the day of arrest for 20 days. His family believes that the investigations were due to the charge of arson of tyres. During investigations he was blindfolded, subjected to ill-treatment, and tortured. He was beaten on his back, slapped, forced to crawl and subjected to electric shocks on his legs in order to get confession. Husain did not confess. The officer investigating with him asked him to work with them as an informant and he agreed. After 20 days, Husain was transferred to Dry Dock Detention Center.

Regarding the second arrest, Husain was investigated at the CID for 20 days from the 30 April 2019, date of his arrest. During the investigation he was beaten, subjected to ill-treatment, insulted and subjected to electric shocks on his neck by the same officer who interrogated and tortured him following his first arrest. Husain confessed under torture. After 20-21 days from his arrest, on 20-21 May, Husain was transferred to Dry Dock Detention Center for six months.

His lawyer could not attend his investigations during this period, except the court hearings concerning the second arrest. Husain was not brought promptly before a judge. His father testified before the court, stating that Husain was in his house on the date of the incident he was charged with. After the second arrest, Husain was able to contact his family only one month after the arrest. The confession obtained under torture for the second arrest has been used against him at the trial. His family reported that Husain was insulted due to his religious sect.

Husain had bruises on his leg and back, and several signs resulting from being electrocuted and tortured. He did not receive any treatment for that. He remains in the New Dry Dock prison, for convicts under 21 years old, which is under the administration of Jau Prison.

Husain’s treatment is a considerable violation of Bahrain’s international human rights obligation under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), conventions to which Bahrain is a signatory. Husain is a minor, all the arrests were warrantless, he was subjected to enforced disappearance and tortured while aged 17. For the aforementioned reasons Husain’s arrests, arbitrary detentions, interrogations and trials are in violation of Articles 7, 9, 10, 14 and 17. His family believes he has been tortured due to the religion he belongs to, which is a violation of Articles 18, 19, 21 and 22 of the ICCPR.

Husain is a high school student, he missed high school during the arbitrary detentions and was not treated with dignity, subjected to enforced disappearance and torture, which constitutes a significant violation of the CAT. As a minor, Husain’s treatment is also a colossal violation of the Convention for the Rights of the Child, convention to which Bahrain has been party since 1989.

Americans for Democracy & Human Rights calls on the government of Bahrain for any retrial to be conducted in accordance with international standards for a fair trial and for his release. Moreover, ADHRB calls on the government, without further ado, to investigate Husain’s allegations of torture, with a view to holding the perpetrators accountable.