Jasim Mohamed AlMahroos was a 23-year-old student of religious studies at Hawza Ilmiyya in Qom, Iran when he was arbitrarily arrested by Bahraini authorities at the Bahrain International Airport while returning from Iran in 2018. During his detention, he was subject to torture and other human rights violations. He is currently held in Jau Prison, where he is serving his life sentence.
On 27 February 2018, officers in civilian clothing arrested Jasim at the passport department of Bahrain International Airport once he arrived from Iran without presenting any arrest warrant. They confiscated his phone and prevented him from collecting his luggage. He was then transferred to the investigations building of Jau Prison, Building 15.
In Building 15 of Jau Prison, Jasim was able to call his family for the first time after his arrest. However, he was forced to lie to them, being made to say that he was at the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) in Adliya. Between 27 February and 2 March, Jasim was subjected to physical and psychological torture by Criminal Investigation officers to force him into confessing, and his lawyer was unable to attend. He was beaten, electrocuted, forced to stand for long hours, deprived from sleep, and threatened with harming his family. Through these forms of torture, Jasim was forced into giving a false confession.
At dawn on 2 March 2018, investigation officers took him to his house, where police officers, intelligence officers in civilian clothing, and Commandos forces raided the home and searched it. When they entered, these forces stormed into all the rooms quickly without allowing the women to wear their Hijab, and they transferred them all to one room where they grouped them and prohibited them from leaving it while yelling and threatening them. They were holding video cameras, filming the entire process of the raid as well as all members of the household. They confiscated many of the electronic devices in the apartment, including his wife’s phone, which are yet to be returned. It is noteworthy that this occurred on the fourth day after the birth of his daughter, and his wife’s health had suffered after childbirth and the arrest of her husband; her health condition deteriorated throughout the 34 days he was held in the investigations department of Jau Prison. Then, Jasim was transferred back to Building 15 of Jau Prison, where he stayed until 1 April 2018, when he was transferred to the Dry Dock Detention Center. During the entire interrogation period, he was unable to meet anyone. 37 days after his arrest, Jasim was able to meet his family for the first time after his arrest.
Jasim was not brought promptly before a judge and was unable to present evidence and challenge evidence presented against him as he was denied access to his attorney. Furthermore, his false confessions were used against him in the trial. Consequently, Jasim was convicted of: 1) Establishing a terrorist cell called Hezbollah Cell, 2) Funding the cell, and 3) Training on using weapons. On 16 April 2019, in a mass trial that included 169 defendants, he was sentenced to life imprisonment in addition to a fine of 100,000 Bahraini dinars. His citizenship was also revoked but was later reinstated through a royal pardon on 21 April 2019. Jasim appealed his sentences, but both the Appeals and Cassation Courts rejected his appeal and upheld the judgement on 30 June 2019 and 30 June 2020, respectively.
Jasim’s warrantless arrest, confiscation of his and his family’s belongings, enforced disappearance, torture, as well as other violations of his due process and fair trial rights in an unfair mass 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 Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). Since an arrest warrant was not presented and given that Jasim’s conviction depended on a forced false confession, we can conclude that he is arbitrarily detained by Bahraini authorities.
Accordingly, Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) calls on the Bahraini authorities to uphold their human rights obligations by investigating all allegations of torture and enforced disappearance allegations to ensure accountability. ADHRB finally urges Bahrain to hold a fair retrial for Jasim meeting international standards, and to end unfair mass trials.