Profile In Persecution: Sayed Redha Fadhul

Sayed Redha Fadhul was a 15-year-old high school student when he was arrested during a raid on his house, along with his brother and cousin in 2020. He was then placed in solitary confinement for a month with no contact with a lawyer or his family and was subject to extreme psychological and physical torture. He was charged with terrorist acts committed three years prior, when he was only 12 years old. He remains in Dry Dock Detention Center to this day, awaiting his transfer to New Dry Dock Prison.

On 16 January 2020 at dawn, General Security vehicles, officers in civilian clothing, and riot police with private civilian cars stormed the complex where Sayed Redha’s mother lived. They first asked about Sayed’s cousin, Ali Mohamed, and after raiding his mother’s villa and not finding him, they began to search the compound villas. They then raided the villa belonging to Sayed Redha’s mother, and arrested him along with his older brother, Sayed Mohamed Baqer Mahdi, and their cousin Ali Mohamed Hasan. The family had gone on a trip outside the Kingdom of Bahrain three days before the arrest, and they preferred that their sons stay in the family’s housing complex as it was safer. The authorities did not mention the reason for the arrest, and no arrest warrant was presented. Two days after the arrest, Sayed Redha was able to call his uncle for a few seconds, telling him that he was being interrogated, all he could say was that he was fine and safe, then the call was disconnected. Following the call, Sayed Redha was disappeared for more than a month, as his family had no knowledge of his whereabouts, and he was not allowed to contact them or his lawyer.

Sayed Redha was taken to the investigations building of the old Jau Prison and placed in solitary confinement for a month. The interrogation lasted for three days, during which he endured severe psychological and physical torture. Investigation officers kept him blindfolded and standing up with his hands tightly tied during the entire duration of the interrogation and deprived the him of sleep, adequate meals, and warm winter clothing. Officers also used an electro-shock device on him that caused a severe sting whenever he spoke contrary to the charges which they had attributed to him. Sayed Redha was also subject to constant mockery, threats of sexual assault, and more physical harm, including on sensitive parts of his body. Moreover, he was hit on his face, back and legs. 

By the end of those three days, Sayed Redha, a minor, collapsed, and his mental health had deteriorated to the point where he confessed to the charges in order to stop the torture. He remained in the investigation building for an additional 23 to 27 days, during which the mistreatment continued, before being transferred to the Dry Dock Detention Center. After his transfer, he was finally able to call his parents and inform them of his whereabouts and the charges he was facing, but he has yet to see his parents in person.

After the investigation was completed, Sayed Redha had denied the charges before the prosecutor at the PPO and the investigation judge to no avail.  He even clarified the treatment he faced to the investigation judge, stating that the confessions were extracted from him under physical and psychological pressure and intimidation using electric shocks and the threat of sexual assault while he remained in the investigation building for a month. Moreover, he was forced to sign the document at the PPO prepared prior to his arrival. However, the judge did not take this into account during the trial.

The charges brought against Sayed Redha correspond to crimes committed three years prior to his arrest, when he was only 12 years old. At that age, his family used to escort him back from middle school every day and oversee his studies and home life. Despite this, Sayed Redha was sentenced to 15 years in prison on 31 January 2021 on charges of joining an illegal group and raising funds to support it, knowing that the sum of money he was accused of raising is 32 Bahraini Dinars. Sayed Redha was not allowed to meet or contact his lawyer until the judgment was issued and did not have the time, facilities, or capabilities to prepare for trial, as he was alien to the subject of the charges against him is still a minor who is not familiar with legal matters.

The treatment Sayed Redha has suffered at the hands of Bahraini authorities, from his arrest to the torture and mistreatment he endured during detention, 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 Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), all of which were ratified by Bahrain. ADHRB calls upon the authorities to drop the unfounded charges against 15-year-old Sayed Redha and to investigate claims of torture and inhumane treatment by investigation officers in order to hold those officials accountable. Finally, ADHRB urges Bahraini authorities to release him immediately and allow him to continue his studies, as his detention constitutes an arbitrary deprivation of liberty.