Profiles in Persecution: Ali Mahmood Husain Mahmood

Ali was a 15-year-old student when he was arrested for the second time on 16 January 2019. He was violently arrested by officers and beaten in front of all his neighbors. He has since been subjected to torture. Today, Ali is 16 years old and is imprisoned in the New Dry Dock Detention Centre.

Ali was arrested on 16 January 2019 at his grandfather’s house when he was with his grandmother and uncle. No warrant or official document has been presented. A considerable number of riot police, Special Security Force Command and officers in civilian clothing, led by Lieutenant Daaij Khalifa Al-Kowari, surrounded the street of Ali’s grandfather’s house. They raided the house from the roof at around 3.40 am. When Ali heard them, he went to his uncle’s apartment, which is in the same house. However, Ali was arrested and beaten in front of all the neighbors before getting on the bus. The forces searched the house. Moreover, the house was already filmed on video. Authorities did not state the reason behind Ali’s arrest.

Ali was transferred to the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID). He was able to contact his family at 8.00 am on the day of his arrest by phone to tell them he was at the CID. On 27 January 2019 he was transferred to Dry Dock Detention Center.

Ali’s family knew the charges against him through his lawyer: he was charged for joining a terrorist group; training on using and manufacturing explosives; possessing explosives and using them with the purpose to endanger people’s lives and funds; detonating a bomb for a terrorist purpose and collecting, delivering and receiving funds for a terrorist group.

During his arrest, Ali was beaten. He was also interrogated for 12 days at the CID without knowing all the charges against him. He only knew that he was charged with joining a terrorist group. During these 12 days of interrogation Ali was beaten and subjected to ill-treatment in order to get a confession. Being subjected to pressure, Ali confessed to what officers told him and signed a paper without knowing its content. He was then transferred to the Dry Dock Detention Center and able to call his family.

On 27 January 2019, the PPO decided to detain Ali for 6 months in pre-trial detention at Dry Dock Detention Center until 26 July 2019. On 25 July 2019 the High Criminal Court extended the period of Ali’s pre-trial detention due to allegation on his behavior for 15 days, until 10 August 2019. On 28 January 2020, the High Criminal Court issued a judgement sentencing Ali to ten years in prison and a fine of BHD100,000. On 30 March 2020, the Court of Appeals upheld the judgement. Ali did not know most of the individuals whom he was charged with. His lawyer was not allowed to attend the interrogation and met Ali in the court. Ali was tried about seven months after his arrest. However, Ali’s family thinks that the first time he was brought before a judge was on 27 January 2019; the 12th day after his arrest.

After the issuance of the judgement, Ali was transferred to the New Dry Dock Detention Center (for convicts under 21 years old, which is under Jau Prison administration). He remains in the New Dry Dock Detention Center. In 2018, Ali was arrested for the first time and charged with assaulting police patrols. He was released by the PPO, but his family thinks that he was put on probation for 1 year. In July 2019, Ali was placed in solitary confinement after accusing him of an oral dispute with a policeman.

Ali’s treatment is a 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. Ali is a minor, his arrest was warrantless, and he was subjected to torture while aged 16. For these reasons his arrest, arbitrary detention and interrogation are in violation of Articles 7, 9, 10, 14 and 17. Ali was not treated with dignity and subjected to torture which is a significant violation of the CAT, but also, as a minor, 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. Further, ADHRB calls on the government to investigate Ali’s allegations of torture, in order to get confession that has been used against him, with a view to holding the perpetrators accountable.