Profiles in Persecution: Ali Husain Maki

Ali was a 18-year-old student in Tubli when he was arrested for the second time on 15 January 2019. Ali was violently arrested at his grandfather’s house, beaten and threatened by the authorities. He has since been subjected to two weeks of torture, as well as an unfair trial. Ali remains imprisoned in the New Dry Dock Detention Centre for convicts aged under 21.

On 15 January 2019, at around 7.30 am, Ali was arrested at his grandfather’s house in Tubli. Regarding the arrest warrant issued by Officer Salman Ghazi AlMosallem, officers in civilian clothing and cars containing officers from the riot police led by Lieutenant Daaij Khalifa Al-Kowari, surrounded the district of the grandfather’s house and it was raided. The forces arrested Ali, beat him and seized his father’s car. They did not provide any warrant or reason behind the arrest. The forces also seized two mobile phones and a bag, according to the testimony of Lieutenant Daaij Khalifa Al-Kowari.

The day of his arrest, Ali was transferred to the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID), examined at Al Qalaa hospital and then transferred to Jau Prison. Ali’s family did not know anything about him for two days before he finally called them. He told them he was at the CID and that the forces fabricated many charges against him. After this call, the family did not have any news from their son before his last day of investigation through which he was transferred to Dry Dock Detention Center.

Ali was investigated for two weeks from the day of his arrest, at the Royal Police Academy, where he was being transferred daily at noon and returned to Jau Prison at night. During interrogation, Ali was subjected to different methods of physical and psychological torture from the forces that arrested him, officers of the Royal Police Academy, officers from the Dry Dock Detention Center and New Dry Dock. He was subjected to electric shocks, beaten on his body, stripped of his clothes and suspended from the ceiling by tying his hands with a rope. Officers made inappropriate gestures and threatened that they would sexually abuse his sisters. He was also insulted based on the religion he belongs to. Ali was forced to sign papers containing previously written confessions. A week after his arrest, Ali was finally able to call his family, but his lawyer could not attend the interrogation, which lasted two weeks. During these two weeks, he was transferred daily to the Royal Police Academy at noon and returned to Jau Prison at night. When the interrogation ended, he was transferred to the Dry Dock Detention Center. He was subjected to torture in order to coerce a confession on the charges fabricated against him. Ali confessed to the charges against him and was forced to sign papers containing previously written confessions.

On 27 January 2019, 13 days after his arrest, Ali was taken to the Royal Police Academy where he met Chief Public Prosecutor, Isa AlRowei, and Inspector Abdulla AlJonaid, for the first time. There, the Public Prosecution Office (PPO) decided to detain Ali for six months in pre-trial detention at the Dry Dock Detention Centre until 26 July 2019. On 25 July 2019 the High Criminal Court extended the pre-trial detention due to Ali’s behavior for 15 days, until 10 August 2019.

His family knew the charges against Ali from social media. He was arrested for joining a terrorist group; possessing explosives and using them with the purpose of endangering people’s lives and funds; and detonating a bomb for a terrorist purpose on 13 January 2019 in Bar district. On 28 January 2020, the High Criminal Court issued a judgement sentencing Ali to life in prison. On 17 February 2020, the Court of Appeals upheld the judgement. After the issuance of the judgement, Ali was transferred to New Dry Dock Detention Centre (for convicts under 21 years but under Jau Prison’s administration). He was also beaten by officers during this transfer.

Ali was denied access to his attorney and did not have adequate time and facilities to prepare for his trial. He remains in the New Dry Dock Prison. Ali had several bruises on his neck as a result of beatings. He saw a doctor but had no result. A report from the forensic doctor at Jau Prison mentioned that Ali had scars on his left leg. Ali is still prohibited from performing religious rituals within the prison. During various periods, Ali was prohibited from making phone calls and is denied from leaving his prison cell.

Ali had been previously arrested on 14 February 2017 and sentenced by the Fourth High Criminal Court to six months in prison on charges of rioting and illegal assembly. The Court of Appeals upheld the judgement at the time and Ali was released in August 2017.

Ali’s treatment is a violation of Bahrain’s international human rights obligations 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), both of which Bahrain is a signatory to. Ali’s arrest was warrantless and since the first day Ali was subjected to torture in order to coerce a confession, he was subjected to torture for two weeks and the confession obtained under torture has been used against him during his trial, while aged 19. For all these reasons, Ali’s treatment is a violation of Articles 5, 7, 9, 10, 14, concerning his right to be treated with dignity in the ICCPR. Ali’s arrest and detention are also a violation of Articles 17 and 18 concerning his freedom of thought, conscience and religion under the ICCPR. The torture Ali has been subjected to for two weeks is a considerable violation of the CAT.

Americans for Democracy & Human Rights calls on the government of Bahrain for Ali’s release, if any charges can be brought against him, ADHRB calls for any retrial to be conducted in accordance with international standards for a fair trial. Further, ADHRB calls on the government of Bahrain to investigate Ali’s allegations of torture, with a view to holding perpetrators accountable.