Profile in Persecution: Ali Isa Abdulla Yusuf Jasim

Ali Isa Jasim was a 15 year old high school student when he was arrested without a warrant along with other young boys by officers in civilian clothing. He was subjected to enforced disappearance for a week and denied contact with his family. At only 15 years of age, he was one of 51 individuals subjected to a mass trail which was marred with forced disappearances, torture, and fair trial violations.

On 13 November 2019, Ali was out of the house to purchase personal items and was on a Whatsapp call with his mother when the line cut at 8:26 PM when he was ambushed along with the group of young people he was with by masked civilian officers, armed forces, and riot police who arrested the group.  The family did not receive any calls from any entity requesting their son be brought before an official body, and they did not receive any summons and subpoenas. He was not wanted and is not politically active as he was only a high school student at the time.

At 1:00 AM, Ali called his family to let them know he was being held at the Criminal Investigation Directorate (CID). The next day, his family visited the CID to confirm this, but officials denied them that information.  It was not until a week later that Ali called and confirmed to his family that he was there and asked for clothes while sounding very confused and flustered.

During the investigation process, Ali was subjected to various methods of torture in order to extract confessions on preselected charges. CID officers eventually extracted a confession out of Ali after the torture. After 9 days of interrogation at the CID, he was transferred to the Dry Dock Detention Center. He was finally able to meet with his parents 3 weeks after his arrest. The family requested that Ali be able to continue his education after they finalized the needed procedures and paid the fees, but authorities rejected the family’s request.

Ali was not allowed to meet with a lawyer, nor had proper facilities to prepare for trial, but was only able to see the lawyer in the courtroom during his first hearing. He was one of 51 individuals sentenced as part of a mass trial on 3 November 2020. Ali was charged with 1- Joining a terrorist group, 2- Receiving funds and spending them on terrorist activities, 3- Receiving fireworks, storing them, and participating in detonating them, and 4- Initiating an intentional arson attack and training in manufacturing local weapons and explosives for use in this activity. Despite not being involved in any political groups and being only 15 years of age at the time of trial, Ali was sentenced to 10 years in prison and a fine of 100,000 Bahraini Dinars. A request for appeal has been submitted, and the hearing has been set to 11 January 2021. After the judgment was issued, Ali was transferred to the New Dry Dock Prison, which is where inmates under 21 years of age are held. Although the family requested that Ali be able to continue his education and finalized the required procedures and payments, once he was transferred to Prison, the administration rejected the request.

The treatment Ali has suffered at the hands of Bahraini authorities, from his arrest to the torture and mistreatment he endured during his enforced disappearance and eventually being charged as a minor in a mass trial constitutes violations of international law, including the Convention Against Torture, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, all of which were ratified by Bahrain. ADHRB calls upon the authorities to drop the preselected charges against Ali and ensure a fair trial is held where his forced confession is not used against him. Further, ADHRB urges authorities to investigate claims of torture at the CID in order to hold those officials accountable and prevent further cases of mistreatment in Bahraini prisons.