Profiles in Persecution: Salman Abbas Hasan

Salman was a 24-year-old volleyball player when he was arrested on 4 September 2014. Without presenting a warrant, authorities had beaten and arrested him. An interrogation and trial marred with human rights violations followed. Salman is currently in Jau Prison serving a 19-year and six-month sentence.

On 4 September 2014, riot police and civilian officers raided a house in Wadi al-Salam neighborhood in al-Makshaa region, where Salman and others were having their pre-dawn meal, as it was Ramadan. The officers destroyed furniture, beat the individuals, and arrested them. Salman had been wanted due to the cases against him. In fact, his family house was raided multiple times. When the family would ask to see the warrant permitting these raids, authorities would refuse to display any.

Salman was subjected to enforced disappearance for eight days. His family had only found out about his arrest through a post on Instagram.

During his enforced disappearance, Salman was being transferred daily between the Criminal Investigation Directorate (CID) and Riffa police station. He would be taken to the CID for interrogation at dawn prayer and kept there until 10 p.m. when he would be returned to Riffa police station to sleep. The interrogation lasted 7 days.

At the CID, Salman was subjected to physical and psychological torture. He was beaten, placed in an extremely cold room, deprived of sleep, and forced to undress. He identified one of his torturers to be Lieutenant Ali Khamis. Salman was also threatened by the Public Prosecutor at the Public Prosecution Office (PPO), where he was presented on 8 September, four days after his arrest. Officers tortured him in order to coerce a confession. Salman had confessed to the charges issued against him but later denied them in court.

Throughout his interrogation, Salman was not permitted to call his lawyer. He was not provided with adequate time and facilities to prepare his defense for trial, and he was not promptly presented before a judge. He was finally able to contact his family two weeks after his arrest.

On 12 September 2014, Salman was transferred to Jau Prison, where he remains.

On 30 September 2014, Salman was sentenced to 3 years in prison on charges of attempting to run over an officer and crashing his car into a police jeep. On 22 February 2015, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison on the charges of bombing a car in the Al-Adliya region; this had occurred around the time Bahrain hosted the third round of Formula 1. Salman was also sentenced to a year and a half in prison on charges of illegal assembly and assaulting a patrol, making the total of his sentences 19 years and six months.

Salman’s family had submitted a complaint to the Ombudsman regarding the food he is given. He suffers from a rash, and the food he is given is not suitable for him. However, no measures were taken to accommodate Salman’s medical condition.

At Jau Prison, Salman has been discriminated against on the basis of his sect; he is prohibited from freely practicing religious rituals. Additionally, he was physically and psychologically tortured in 2015.

Salman’s warrantless arrest, denial of access to legal counsel, and coerced confession constitute a violation of his due process rights and right to a fair trial, enshrined in Articles 9 and 14 of the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Bahrain is a signatory. Moreover, the physical and psychological torture Salman endured to produce a coerced confession is in stark violation of the Convention Against Torture (CAT).

Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) calls on the government of Bahrain to conduct a retrial in accordance with international standards of fair trial. Lastly, ADHRB calls on the government to investigate Salman’s allegations of torture and hold perpetrators accountable so that the mistreatment of prisoners does not persist with impunity.