Profiles in Persecution: Husain Hasan Abdulnabi

Husain was a 34-year-old self-employed bus driver when he was arrested on 10 December 2017. After being arbitrarily detained and subjected to torture, he was sentenced to life in prison and stripped of his nationality in an unfair trial. He is currently in Jau Prison.

On 10 December 2017, at 2 am, National Security Agency (NSA) agents, civilian officers, and riot police raided the house Husain was in without presenting a warrant. The raid lasted until noon the next day, and the officers arrested Husain while he was unconscious due to how severely he was beaten. Husain was not wanted or convicted. His family believes he was targeted in order to confess on his brother Ridha, who had fled the country and was convicted in the same case as Husain, and because of his relationship with his cousin Salman Isa, who is on death row; Salman had been mentioned in Husain’s interrogation.

Husain was taken to the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) where he remained for 39 days for interrogation. His lawyer was not permitted to attend the interrogations. On 11 December, he was able to call his family for a few seconds and inform them of his whereabouts. At the CID, Husain suffered through different forms of torture which led to him losing consciousness and vomiting. Officers allegedly beat, electrocuted, sexually assaulted and raped him. He was forced to stand for long durations of time in an extremely cold room. He was also pulled on the ground by his genitals. This lasted throughout the interrogation in order to coerce a confession. Husain ended up confessing to the charges attributed to him.

There was an incident where the Bahraini national football team was playing against another team in Kuwait. When the Bahraini team lost, Husain overheard officers saying that they were going to torture him because of the loss. Husain was subjected to what he recalls being one of the most severe instances of torture he had endured at the CID.

As a result of the torture, Husain suffered from a deviation in the nose and pain in the knees. He was taken to Qalaa Hospital for treatment, but the treatment was halted abruptly. Husain was not provided with a reason why.

On 17 January 2018, Husain was transferred to the New Dry Dock Detention Center. Ten days later, he was finally permitted to contact his family for the first time since the beginning of his interrogations.

On 26 September 2018, Husain was sentenced to life in prison and was stripped of his citizenship on charges of possession of weapons, funding a terrorist cell, murder, and joining Saraya al-Ashtar. Husain was charged with murder despite the fact that the statement indicated that the gun malfunctioned and did not even fire. His citizenship was not restored following the Royal Decree granting amnesty. The judgement was upheld by the Court of Appeals as well as the Court of Cassation.

When the sentence was issued, Husain was transferred to Jau Prison, where he remains.

Husain was arrested without being presented with a reason or warrant, denied access to legal counsel, denied the adequate time and facilities to prepare for trial, and not promptly presented before a judge. This is a violation of Bahrain’s obligations under Articles 9 and 14 of the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Additionally, his mistreatment and torture for the purpose of coercing a confession, which was used against him in court, violates Article 7 of the Convention Against Torture (CAT).

Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) calls on the government of Bahrain to annul Husain’s conviction and restore his citizenship, considering his unfair trial and violation of his due process rights. If serious criminal charges can be maintained against him, ADHRB calls for his re-trial to be held in line with international standards of fair trial. ADHRB further urges Bahraini authorities to investigate Husain’s allegations of torture and ill treatment in order to hold the perpetrators accountable, as specified in the Bahraini constitution.