Profile in Persecution: Ali Hasan Tooq

Ali Hasan Tooq was an 18-year-old high school student in grade 10 when he was arbitrarily arrested by the Bahraini authorities on 6 November 2019. During his detention, he was subjected to several human rights violations. Ali is currently detained at the Dry Dock Detention Center, and he will soon be transferred to the New Dry Dock Prison, which is specifically for inmates below 21 years of age.

At 3:00 a.m. on 6 November 2019, riot forces, security police forces, officers from the Criminal Investigation Directorate (CID), as well as officers in civilian clothing raided the home of Ali’s family and broke into it without presenting any arrest or search warrant. They then entered the rooms while the family members were asleep, before heading to Ali’s room and arresting him after stripping him from his clothes and confiscating all family members’ phones. They also threatened him, hoping he would join them as an informant.

After his arrest, Ali’s family went to the CID to ask about their son. They were told that he was present there but that they were prohibited from meeting him and must therefore wait for a call from him. Two weeks after his detention at the CID, Ali was able to make a prompt call with his family for the first time to inform them of his whereabouts. He also told them that he was fine and that he was detained at the CID.

Ali was then transferred to the CID building in Adliya, where he was interrogated. During the interrogation, Ali was tortured by the interrogation CID officers for 15 days while blindfolded. He was beaten and electroshocked. He was also beaten on his head, eyes, and body, and due to the beatings on his eyes, they became red and swollen, although he did not receive treatment for these injuries. Ali was subjected to these torture methods to coerce him into confessing to the charges brought against him. Eventually, under this torture, Ali gave a forced false confession.

During his interrogation at the CID, Ali was unable to meet or call anyone, and his lawyer was also prohibited from attending the interrogations. Two weeks after his arrest, he was brought before the Public Prosecution Office (PPO), where he denied the confessions that he gave at the CID and denied the charges against him before a prosecutor. Then, he was transferred to the Dry Dock Detention Center. Two weeks after his transfer to the Dry Dock Detention Center, he was able to meet with his family for the first time.

Ali was not brought within 48 hours before a judge. He was also denied access to his attorney during the entire interrogation period, and he did not have adequate time and facilities to prepare for the trial. Consequently, Ali was convicted of: 1) Establishing, organizing, managing and joining a terrorist group, 2) Receiving training and training others on the use of weapons and explosives, and 3) Destruction, possession of Molotov cocktails, and committing acts of sabotage. On 3 November 2020, he was sentenced to 5 years in prison in a mass trial that involved 52 individuals and that was in clear violation of the right to a fair trial.

While detained at the Dry Dock Detention Center, Ali was banned from praying. Recently, on 26 November 2020, Ali was transferred to the clinic of the Dry Dock Detention Center due to his suffering from various symptoms: a high temperature, a runny nose, and coughing. He has not been tested, despite the risks surrounding the prison as a result of the spread of the Coronavirus, and despite the fact that he suffers from the same symptoms of Coronavirus. He was given a nourishing serum and sent back to his cell. Previously, on 1 October 2020, he was placed in solitary confinement for a week due to his request to enter the toilet, which he was forbidden from using. Ali’s parents would thus like to file complaints to relevant governmental organizations and human rights organizations regarding this mistreatment; however, because they do not know how to file these complaints, they are unable to do so.

Ali’s warrantless arrest, confiscation of phones, torture, denial of medical treatment, and unfair trial 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 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). Since an arrest warrant was not presented, and given that Ali’s conviction depended on false forced confessions, 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. ADHRB also urges Bahrain to give Ali the opportunity of a fair retrial. ADHRB also urges Bahrain to to provide Ali with the necessary medical treatment for the injuries that resulted from torture, to conduct a PCR test for him, to offer for him the necessary medical treatment and isolation in case it appeared that he has caught COVID-19, and finally, to end the discriminatory treatment against him based on his religious sect by allowing him to practice his religious rituals.