Profile in Persecution: Husain Mohamed AlDerazi

Husain was a 16 year-old student when he was arrested with his brother on 15 January 2019. Forces arrested him at his family’s house at 2:20 a.m. An arrest warrant was not presented at the time of the arrest.  Husain was investigated for 20 days, during which he was not allowed contact with his family. He was tried and sentenced to five years in prison, and currently remains in the New Dry Dock Detention Center.

On 15 January 2019, at around 2:20 a.m., Husain was arrested at his family’s house. The house was raided while all family members were sleeping. The forces were officers in black uniforms and officers in civilian clothing with pectorals, in addition to other officers and armed individuals led by Lieutenant Salman AbdulGhani Mulla Murad. They directly entered Husain and his brother’s room and arrested them after hitting and threatening his brother. The forces told Husain’s family that they were from the National Security Agency (NSA). They searched the house for three hours using instrumentation. The forces seized two mobile phones and laptops, as well as a computer and memory cards, a watch, and a circuit testing device, among other things. Although a warrant existed, it was never presented to Husain’s family.

The officers took pictures of Husain and transferred him to the Investigations building in Jau Prison, where he then remained for 13 days. On the first day, Husain was able to call his family to inform them that he was at the Criminal Investigations Directorate. After that, the only information that Husain’s family obtained came from another detainee. He told them that Husain was with him in the bus from the moment of his arrest and their transfer to the Criminal Investigations Directorate. According to him, they passed through the same stages during the two-week detention period at Jau Prison but were unable to see each other as they were blindfolded most of the time. Husain’s lawyer was not allowed to attend the interrogations. Only 20 days after his arrest was Husain able to contact his family again.

ADHRB does not know the exact procedures to which Husain was subjected during interrogations and investigation. However, details of the investigations on other detainees present at the Criminal Investigations Directorate during that time reveal that they were all subjected to ill-treatment, beatings and threats until they presented their confessions.

Husain was charged with joining a terrorist group, participating in training on the use and the manufacturing of explosives, possessing explosives, using explosives with the purpose of endangering people’s lives and funds, and detonating a bomb for terrorist purposes. On 27 January 2019, the Public Prosecution Office (PPO) ordered the pre-trial detention of Husain for six months at the Dry Dock Detention Center, until 26 July 2019. Husain did not have the time to call his lawyer before the PPO hearing; his attorney was therefore unable to attend. On 25 July 2019, the High Criminal Court extended the pre-trial detention an additional 15 days due to Husain’s behavior, until 10 August 2019.

On 28 January 2020, the High Criminal Court issued a judgment sentencing Husain to 5 years in prison. This decision was upheld on 30 March 2020 by the Court of Appeal. After the issuance of the judgment, Husain was transferred to the New Dry Dock Prison, where convicts under the age of 21 are detained, and which is under the administration of Jau Prison. Husain did not have adequate time to prepare for his trial and was not brought before a judicial authority in time. On 28 January 2019 Husain was examined by the prison’s forensic doctor; the report stated that Husain had scars on his neck. Husain was receiving treatment for this injury at Salmaniya Hospital, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the treatment has stopped.

Husain’s brother, who was also arrested on  15 January 2019, was released two weeks after the arrest without ever knowing the reason behind his arrest. Additionally, Husain was arrested three times prior to 15 January 2019. In 2017, Husain was arrested at his house along with his friends. He was released two days later, without being accused of anything. The second arrest was on 21 March 2018;  the Third Lower Criminal Court sentenced  Husain to six months in prison for participating in an illegal assembly. The Court of Appeal upheld this judgment and Husain was released five months later. Husain was arrested on 10 September 2018 for the third time, and was released 40 days later after the Third Lower Criminal Court acquitted him.

The treatment to which Husain was exposed is in violation of the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Bahrain is a signatory. Moreover, Husain was a minor at the time of his arrest; the treatment he has received as a 16-year-old is in considerable violation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which was ratified by Bahrain in 1992. Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) calls on the government of Bahrain to conduct any retrials in accordance with the international standards for fair trials.