Profile In Persecution: Mohamed Abdulla

Profile in Persecution: Mohamed Hasan Abdulla 

Mohamed Abdulla was a 55-year-old carpenter when he was brutally arrested during a raid on his house. He was tortured, sexually harassed, and threatened prior to being convicted of charges based on planted evidence. He is currently being refused life-saving treatment as well as doctor appointments for his medical condition. He remains in Dry Dock Detention center to this day.

On 3 November 2015, masked officers in civilian clothing as well as riot police and Commandos forces in black cars raided Mohamed’s house at 1:00 am and remained there until 8 am. Female officers were also present to question Mohamed’s sisters, wife, and mother. They searched the house, scattered the furniture and contents, confiscated and smashed his carpentry tools which he stored on the roof, and replaced them with bombs and weapons which they took photographs of to be used as evidence. Authorities did not state the reason during the arrest and did not present a warrant.

Afterwards, he was taken to investigations and then to Dry Dock Detention Center. While at the CID, Mohamed was beaten all over his body and between his ribs, sexually harassed, cursed, insulted, and hung on the stairs for a long period. CID officers also threatened to go after his mother and wife. He was deprived of sleep, using the bathroom, and was prevented from praying.  Furthermore, he was placed in solitary and was denied treatment. Authorities tortured Mohamed in order to extract a confession to predetermined charges, and he eventually confessed in order to stop the torture. The investigation lasted for three months, during which he was kept in a cold room, and his lawyer was not allowed to attend. 

Mohamed’s family believes that the reason for the arrest is the fact that he has been wanted since the 1990s crisis, and he remained hidden until the round of releases. Mohamed then returned to his house and was living normally. With the beginning of the 2011 demonstrations and the presence of intelligence services in the village, the focus was on Mohamed and arbitrary arrests occurred, which eventually included him as well. Mohamed did not have adequate time and facilities to prepare for trial and was not able to challenge evidence presented against him. 

Mohamed was sentenced to life imprisonment on 15 May 2018 for training and possession of weapons a mass trial called “Zulfiqar Brigades”, where 115 of the 138 defendants, mostly doctors, engineers, and teachers, were convicted of terrorism-related charges. In addition, his citizenship was revoked but was later reinstated after a royal pardon was issued in April 2019. The Court of Appeal upheld his sentence as well as the sentence of all the defendants in this case on 28 January 2019, as did the Court of Cassation. After the issuance of the judgment, Mohamed was transferred to Jau Prison. 

On 14 October 2019, five UN Special Procedures offices sent an allegation letter to Bahrain regarding the trial of the so-called Zulfiqar Brigades, following up on a communication sent on 5 November 2018 that included details of enforced disappearance and torture to coerce confessions and unfair trial practices, including refusal to contact a lawyer. The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention also issued an opinion on the cases.

Mohamed was suffering from stomach problems before the arrest and his treatment required pills that his family would provide him while in detention.  After his imprisonment, he was denied the pills. After his arrest and throughout five years, his condition deteriorated due to the lack of pills and denial of examinations by a specialist. His condition worsened until Mohamed, now 61 years old, reached a point of vomiting blood and was therefore transferred to Salmaniya Hospital, where he stayed from 16 November 2020 till 22 November 2020, and was still not presented before a specialist to diagnose his condition. He had two appointments to meet with a doctor on 8 December 2020 and 6 January 2021, which were canceled. On 10 February 2021 he was taken to Salmaniya Hospital due to the deterioration of his health and they prescribed him medication for a period of 6 months, but he has not received it yet. He is currently in medical isolation in Dry Dock Detention Center. 

While the family initially opted not to submit any complaint because they were afraid of retribution by the authorities, they submitted a complaint to the Ombudsman Office on 20 January 2021 due to the deterioration of Mohamed’s health but did not receive any response. On 3 February 2021, the family went to the NIHR to review and obtain the complaint number of the complaint they filed for the Ombudsman, and no response was obtained as well. 

The treatment Mohamed has suffered at the hands of Bahraini authorities, from his arrest and the torture and mistreatment he endured during detention, to his deprival of necessary medication, 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 Mohamed and to investigate claims of torture and inhumane treatment by CID officers in order to hold those officials accountable. Finally, ADHRB urges Bahraini authorities to provide Mohamed with the necessary medication as well as medical care, and provide adequate and timely medical care to all prisoners who require it.