Profile in Persecution: Ali Hasan AlAradi

Ali Hasan AlAradi, a student at the Sheikh Khalifa Bin Salman Institute of Technology, was only 17 years old when he was first arrested while attending a funeral in Muharraq. Since his arrest, Ali has been transferred to various prisons and detention centers where he has sustained severe physical injuries due to torture and has been held in isolation and solitary confinement for long periods of time. To this day, Ali remains in Jau Prison, where he serves a sentence of more than fifteen years. 

On 16 May 2013, civilian and military forces surrounded a funeral that Ali was attending in Muharraq. They ran after him and eventually arrested him on the roof of a house, without presenting an arrest warrant nor giving a reason for the arrest. They transported him to Hidd station. Prior to his arrest, between March and May 2013, Bahraini authorities raided Ali’s family house several times, and sent him summons and subpoenas to appear before court as well as two communications. On the evening of his arrest, officers in civilian clothing from the National Security Agency and from Hidd station, including the station’s director, raided Ali’s family home without a warrant and confiscated electronic devices belonging to Ali and his family. For two days following his arrest, Ali’s family did not know his whereabouts nor his fate, until he called them and informed them that he was being held at the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID). 

Ali’s interrogation lasted for 16 days, from the day of his arrest until 31 May 2013. During that time, he was transferred to Hidd Station, Sanaheej Station, and Muharraq Station where officers from each station interrogated him and subjected him to psychological and physical torture, forcing him to sign papers and confessions without knowing their contents. Officers beat, kicked, and slapped Ali on his whole body and stripped him of his clothes several times. As a result, Ali suffered from headaches, a hemorrhage in his head, and a leg fracture, in addition to psychological distress, humiliation, and insults to his religious sect. Throughout his interrogation at the three police stations, Ali was denied access to his attorney whom he was only able to meet during the court hearings. 

In total, nine cases were brought against Ali, and they consisted of intentional arson and burning of tires, possession of Molotov cocktails, illegal assembly, rioting and assaulting police patrols and a policeman in prison. Between July 2013 and July 2014, Ali was brought before the Public Prosecution Office (PPO) several times, and many court hearings were held regarding the charges against him. Ali was acquitted of four charges. However, authorities refused to release him because of the five other charges, for which he was sentenced to a total of five years and seven months and transferred to New Dry Dock Prison to carry out the judgment. 

Since his imprisonment, Ali has been subjected to ill-treatment at the hands of the authorities, furthering the deterioration of his psychological well-being. In late December 2013, prison authorities held him in solitary confinement for two weeks without a reason and, on 18 June 2014, they put him in isolation for six months, accusing him of beating a policeman. During that time, he was prohibited from buying food and other products from the canteen and was held in solitary confinement for six days, from 4 August to 9 August 2014.

On 3 June 2016, seventeen detainees escaped from New Dry Dock Prison, and Ali was among them. The next day, on 4 June 2016, he was captured along with 11 other fugitives by Bahraini authorities. He was hiding in a house in Bilad Al-Qadim near Manama, when masked officers in civilian clothing who were following him arrested him and severely beat him. Following his second arrest, Ali disappeared for six days. On 10 June 2016, he was able to call his family for a few seconds to inform them that he was at the Criminal Investigations Building. His mother was able to briefly visit him once on 16 June 2016 in Jau prison, but four policemen were accompanying him, and he could not speak freely. She reported that there were signs of beating and torture on his face and that his right hand was fractured. 

Ali’s interrogation lasted for 30 days and took place at various locations, namely the Criminal Investigations Building in Jau Prison, the CID, the Royal Police Academy, and AlQurain prison. In Qurain Military Prison of the Bahrain Defense Force, Ali and his colleagues were surprised that the one who is investigating recently is the Minister of the Interior himself, Rashid Al Khalifa, and the Head of Public Security, Tariq Al-Hassan and was grouped with other detainees based on his religious denomination. During that period, various officers tortured and mistreated Ali. Among other things, they handcuffed him, chained his feet, blindfolded him, physically assaulted him, and forced him to stand up for long periods of time, depriving him of sleep. He consequently suffered from a fractured right hand, loss of hearing in his left ear, and swelling in his face. On 12 April 2018, Ali was convicted by the Military Court for escaping Dry Dock Detention Center and was sentenced to ten years in Jau Central Prison, where he is currently held. Similar to his previous charges and trials, Ali was not able to meet his attorney during the interrogation period and did not have adequate time and facilities to prepare for trial. 

Since his first arrest in 2013, Ali’s family has filed two complaints to the Ombudsman Office and the Prisoners and Detainees Rights Commission with regards to his ill-treatment and physical and psychological torture, in 2014 and 2016. On 11 November 2014, the military court summoned Ali’s mother to the Ministry of Interior (MoI) building, where she was interrogated about the reasons for her complaint against police forces and has received no follow-up ever since. 

Bahraini authorities’ treatment of Ali, from his arbitrary arrest without a warrant, his denial of fair trial rights, and his torture and discrimination, all constitute violations of Bahrain’s obligations under the Bahraini Constitution and under international treaties, namely the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). ADHRB therefore urges authorities to drop all convictions through unfair trials and to grant Ali a retrial respecting international judicial and evidentiary standards. Finally, ADHRB calls upon Bahraini authorities to investigate allegations of torture and inhumane treatment by investigation officers with a view to holding them accountable.