Profile in Persecution: Husain Ali Jaafar Mohamed Abdulla

Husain Abdulla was a 22-year-old preparatory student when he was warrantlessly arrested in 2016 after a raid on his uncle’s house. Husain was brutally tortured afterwards, which resulted in severe head and body injuries. Recently, his repeated requests for medical treatment have been ignored by Jau prison administration, which resulted in his appendix bursting requiring three surgical operations.

On 22 September 2016, a group of masked officers wearing black clothes and yellow T-shirts, one of whom was carrying a camera that did not have a police label, raided Husain’s uncle’s house to arrest him. When the family demanded to see a warrant, the officers threatened to arrest them. Officers also did not state the reason for the arrest.

Afterwards, Husain was taken to the investigation building of Jau prison where he was questioned for 9 days. Husain was tortured during the first 5 days of the interrogation by investigation officers and Jau prison officers who beat him all over his body and severely hit his head to extract a confession. As a result, Husain suffered from wounds and scars on the hands and legs, a head injury and deep wounds in his head causing constant headaches, and pain in the genitals to the point that he bleeds when he urinates. Eventually, Husain was forced to sign a document confessing to the charges brought upon him in order to stop the torture. His lawyer was not allowed to be present during the interrogation.

Four years later, he was charged in two cases which included various political charges: 1) illegal assembly and 2) participating in demonstrations and illegal assembly. Husain was sentenced to a one-year prison sentence in the first case, and life sentence in the second case that was reduced to 15 years after appeal, bringing his sentence to a total of 16 years. Husain was deprived of contact with his lawyer and did not have sufficient time and facilities to prepare for the trial nor was he able to challenge the evidence presented against him.

Husain had been arrested previously at the age of seventeen in May 2012, on charges of illegal assembly. Six months after his detention at the Dry Dock Detention Center, the court ruled that he shall be released with a suspended sentence and a fine of 200 Bahraini dinars was paid.

Recently in December 2020, Husain suffered from severe abdominal pain for 11 consecutive days. The Jau prison administration not only ignored Husain and his family’s numerous requests to transfer him to a doctor, but also attempted to blame the pain on  the food Husain was eating, which is provided to him by the prison administration. Because of the delay in medical treatment and the Jau Prison administration’s negligence, Husain’s appendix enlarged until it burst on 8 January 2021, causing poisoning and pain so severe that he was no longer able to walk. On 11 January 2021, Husain was seen at the Emergency Room of Salmaniya Hospital, looking extremely unwell. The specialized doctor decided that Husain needed to undergo an operation. Eleven days later, on 22 January, the doctor conducted the first operation, which included removing the remainder of the ruptured appendix in Husain’s abdomen. Husain’s family was not officially informed of his transfer to the hospital, and had to be told by informal sources.

On 24 January 2021, he underwent a second operation to cleanse the poisoning caused by his burst appendix. The family repeatedly requested various official bodies including the NIHR to be able to visit Husain but was completely prevented from doing so by the Jau prison administration under the pretext of Coronavirus measures. On 28 January 2021, Husain underwent a third operation. His parents went to Salmaniya Hospital, and after repeated pleas to the prison administration and the hospital, they were allowed to see him very briefly through his bed’s open curtain from afar, under the pretext that they could not approach him because of Coronavirus measures, knowing that in his room itself there were 5 other patients and 3 police officers surrounded his bed.

After the operation, Husain was transferred to Dry Dock Detention Center, and then to Jau Prison in Building 15, where he remains in medical isolation.

The treatment Husain has suffered at the hands of Bahraini authorities, from his arrest and the torture and mistreatment he endured during detention, to being deprived prompt medical treatment, constitutes violations of the Bahraini constitution as well as international law, including the Convention Against Torture (CAT), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), all of which were ratified by Bahrain. ADHRB calls upon the authorities to drop the preselected charges against Husain and to investigate claims of torture and inhumane treatment by Jau prison officers in order to hold those officials accountable. Finally, ADHRB urges Bahraini authorities to provide Husain with the necessary medical care going forward, as well as provide adequate and timely medical care to all prisoners who require it.