Profile in Persecution: Ali Hasan Ahmed

Ali Hasan Ahmed was a 26-year-old worker at an Equestrian Club when he was arbitrarily detained by the Bahraini authorities whilst at the Bahrain International Airport, where he was on his enroute to Bosnia with his friends. During his interrogation, he was subjected to several human rights violations.  He is currently detained in Jau Prison.

When Ali arrived at the airport with his friends on 13 September 2016, police forces belonging to the Ministry of Interior (MOI) arrested him without presenting any arrest warrant. He was then transferred to the Criminal Investigation Directorate (CID), where he was subjected to enforced disappearance for eight days.

During this period, he was interrogated while being subjected to torture, threats, and insults, and he was denied access to his attorney. At the CID, Ali was stripped naked and suspended by tying his hands to the ceiling for 46 hours. Ali was also subjected to extreme beating, resulting in inflammation in the joints and vertebrae. He was also threatened with assaulting his honor. Despite all this torture, he never gave a false confession. However, he was forced to sign papers whose content he was unable to know and to fingerprint them while he was handcuffed, and they were used in the trial against him. Furthermore, as a result of torture, Ali now suffered from a perforated eardrum, which led to his partial loss of hearing. He was then transferred to the Dry Dock Detention Center and kept there until he was transferred to Jau prison after more than two years. Two weeks after his arrest, he was allowed to contact his family.

The authorities charged Ali with: 1) Joining a terrorist group in order to incite chaos, strife, and weaken the foundations of the state and bring it down, 2) Acquiring and possessing, without a license, explosives, materials, and tools that are used in the manufacturing and detonation of the explosives to violate the security and public order as a fulfillment for a terrorist purpose, 3) Acquiring and possessing weapons and ammunitions without the authorization of the Ministry of Interior as a fulfillment for a terrorist purpose, and 4) Training on using weapons in Iran to commit terrorist crimes in the Kingdom of Bahrain. On 31 October 2017, the Fourth High Criminal Court sentenced Ali with life imprisonment and ordered the revocation of his Bahraini citizenship. Ali appealed his sentences, but the Supreme Court of Appeal and the Court of Cassation rejected the appeals in their substance and upheld the judgement. Also, Ali was not able to present evidence and challenge the evidence presented against him. However, on 21 April 2019, Bahrain’s King, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, reinstated the nationalities of 551 Bahraini citizens including Ali, through a Royal Decree.

Despite the health problems that Ali suffers from, and despite asking for a doctor, the prison administration refused to examine him or take him to a doctor. Ali’s family also requested that Ali be provided with healthy meals due to a stomach pain that was caused by the unhealthy meals he was given at the prison. Ali asked the prison administration to see a doctor for a consultation about his stomach pain, but the prison administration’s response was giving him healthy meals for a certain period, before stopping it.

Furthermore, Ali was beaten by a guard, following an incident that occurred during one of Ali’s family visits. Ali’s children were playing with him and making some noises when one of the guards ordered Ali to silence them, but Ali’s answer was that: “They are children and they cannot be silenced while they are inside”. The guard was angered by Ali’s response, and took him to places with no cameras and started beating him after the visit. Officers also discriminated against Ali based on his religious sect. They insulted him constantly and described him as a terrorist and saboteur.

Ali’s health is currently of concern due to the fact that Scabies has spread extensively among prisoners in Jau prison, therefore Ali may be infected. Despite the spread of Coronavirus, Ali has not been provided with any protection as he was not given masks or gloves. Because of all these human rights violations, Ali’s family files complaints to a human rights organization approximately every year.

Ali’s arrest, enforced disappearance, torture, religious discrimination, and detention within inhumane and unhealthy conditions violate both the Bahraini Constitution as well as international obligations to which Bahrain is party. Namely, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD). Since an arrest warrant was not presented, and given that Ali was convicted by using false confessions against him which he was not even aware of since he was obliged to sign papers without knowing their contents, we can conclude that Ali is arbitrarily detained by Bahraini authorities.

Accordingly, Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) calls upon Bahrain to uphold its human rights obligations by investigating all torture allegations to ensure accountability, and by giving Ali the opportunity to defend himself through a fair retrial. It also urges Bahrain to provide Ali with sanitary and safe prison conditions, and to provide Ali with masks and gloves to protect him from the Coronavirus.