Profiles in Persecution: Jasim Mohamed Ebrahim

z28 year old Jasim Mohamed Ebrahim was arrested in November 2015 by Bahraini authorities on account of terror-related charges for joining a terrorist group named “Zulfiqar Brigades” and sentenced to life imprisonment. After being accused in a mass trial, his citizenship was revoked

Following his arbitrary detention, he is serving a life sentence at the Dry Dock Detention Center, Bahrain. On 9 June 2020, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) published an opinion for the immediate release of Jasim and 19 other Bahraini citizens convicted in the mass trial for the same charge of their alleged involvement in  Zulfiqar Brigades.

Jasim was arrested on 3 November 2015 by riot forces, police officers and CID officers dressed in civilian clothing at midnight. The police authorities surrounded the house and a large number of officers entered Jasim’s family house without a warrant. There was no warrant presented for the search and seizure of Jasim’s belongings and he was refused any information for the reason of his arrest. The authorities confiscated two mobile phones and a laptop in this raid.

Pursuant to the arrest, Bahraini police subjected Jasim to a 24-day enforced disappearance in the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID). On 5 November 2015, officers allowed Jasim to call his father for a few seconds to inform him of his whereabouts. After this call, Jasim was prevented from contacting his family for over twenty days. The interrogation ended on 27 November 2015, after which Jasim was transferred from the CID to the Dry Dock Detention Center.

During the entire period of his interrogation from 3 November to 27 November 2015, Jasim was tortured by CID officers that coerced him into signing a prepared confession. The CID officers subjected Jasim to a wide variety of severe and inhumane torture methods of beatings on his head, cold water dousing and electric shock. They subjected Jasim to sectarian insults and threatened him with rape. Jasim was eventually forced into providing a false confession admitting to possessing an illegal weapon, a crime that he did not commit.

Jasim’s mental and physical health acutely declined after he experienced torture in CID. He suffered injuries in his knee and developed severe back pain. He had to be transferred to Qala hospital for three days to receive medical treatment. On 19 April 2018, Jasim underwent back surgery at the Salmaniya Medical Complex.

On 15 May 2018, Bahrain’s Fourth High Criminal Court pronounced Jasim’s verdict as being guilty in the mass trial involving 138 individuals. Jasim, along with 115 defendants, were being pronounced guilty on terror-related charges and were being revoked their Bahraini citizenship. Jasim was initially only charged with illegal firearm possession; thus, being declared guilty of his alliance with the “Zulfiqar group” completely shocked him. Jasim was subjected to unfair trial practices and due process violations such as denial of legal representation which resulted in the inadequate preparation of his defense. In June 2018 and July 2019, the Court of Cassation upheld Jasim’s original verdict and sentence.

Jasim’s nationality was reinstated by royal order in April 2019, however he still remains imprisoned, serving his life sentence.

Several complaints were lodged regarding Jasim’s inhumane treatment in detention. The Ministry of Interior’s Ombudsman received a complaint on 2 March 2016 and the National Institute for Human Rights also received a complaint in May 2016. Both government offices however, failed to examine and investigate these complaints.

The use of torture during Jasim’s interrogation violates both Bahraini law and Bahrain’s obligations under the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) under International law. Jasim’s arbitrary detention and unfair trial also contravened the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Bahrain acceded in 2006.