Profile in Persecution: Abbas Hasan Hasan

Abbas Hasan Hasan, a driver at Ruyan company, was almost 26 years old when he was arrested and kidnapped from a car outside his house. Abbas was tortured and convicted in an unfair mass trial. After the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Jau prison, Abbas contracted the virus. 

Around 10 or 11 December 2017, Abbas was warrantlessly arrested outside of his house by masked officers in civilian clothing. The officers surrounded the car Abbas was in, and severely beat and kidnapped him. They did not state the reason for his arrest. 

Following his arrest, Abbas called his family to inform them he was at the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID), but then contact with him was cut off for the entire 25 days of the interrogation. The criminal investigations officers subjected Abbas to physical and psychological torture. They placed Abbas in a very cold room where he could not tell whether it was day or night. They also insulted Abbas and discriminated against him based on his Shiite religious beliefs. Abbas was also beaten severely which resulted in injuries including back pain, as well as redness and blackening in many parts of his body. Under torture, Abbas confessed to the charges raised against him, and this confession was used against him in court. 

Abbas was charged with joining the terrorist group “Zulfiqar Brigades”. On 5 May 2018, he was convicted and sentenced to ten years in prison in a mass trial. His citizenship was also revoked but was later reinstated through royal pardon.  Abbas, who was denied access to his attorney, was not provided with adequate time to prepare for the trial and present evidence. 

After the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country back in March 2020, visits were replaced with video calls that did not exceed ten minutes. On 27 March 2021, Abbas tested positive for COVID-19 as confirmed by the application of the Ministry of Health. According to his family, the medical staff had not been checking on Abbas or conducting tests on a daily basis. Abbas and other prisoners were not regularly informed of the COVID situation in prison. Abbas had recuperated from the virus and has been transferred back to his cell. 

The practices of Bahrain and the prison administration against Abbas clearly violate international legal conventions which Bahrain is party to, such as the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Therefore, ADHRB calls upon Bahrain to uphold its obligations by dropping the unfounded charges against Abbas and to investigate the allegations of physical and psychological torture in order to hold the perpetrators accountable for their actions. ADHRB also urges the authorities to immediately release Abbas and all other prisoners of conscience in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and update his family about his health condition.