Profile in Persecution: Sadeq AbdAli AlAsfoor

Updated Profile- Sadeq AbdAli AlAsfoor was only 20 years old when he was arrested. Since his arrest, Sadeq was convicted in an unfair trial and has been subjected to torture which harmed his physical and psychological health. After the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Jau prison, where he is currently held, Sadeq contracted the virus.

On 6 March 2012, officers from the Ministry of Interior raided Sadeq’s house at dawn, surrounding it with nearly 60 police jeeps and civilian cars. They broke into his room, blindfolded him, and stole money from him. The officers, who also had a sheet of paper with a list of names of wanted individuals, arrested Sadeq without a warrant.

Following his arrest, Sadeq was forcibly disappeared for three days. On the fourth day, he called his family to inform them he was at the Dry Dock Detention Center. During his interrogation, which lasted three days, Sadeq was threatened and tortured into making confessions without his lawyer’s presence. He was tied to a chair, blindfolded, beaten and kicked all over his body, forced to stand for days, discriminated against because of his religious beliefs, deprived of the right to prayer, and insulted repeatedly. Sadeq sustained injuries including swelling in his eye as a result of beating and did not receive specialized treatment for his injuries. He was only given an unprescribed cream to apply to the swelling by himself.

Sadeq faced charges for the case of burning the jeep, attempted murder, and the possession of a Molotov cocktail. Sadeq was denied access to his attorney, and did not have adequate time to prepare for his trial. Despite the fact that a family member testified that Sadeq was playing at the Sitra Club when the incident took place, Sadeq was sentenced to 15 years in prison in May 2013.

After the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country in March 2020, visits were replaced with video calls during which Sadeq did not have any privacy and would be harassed. On 27 March 2021, Sadeq contracted the Coronavirus. His family was informed that he would be transferred from Building 21 to quarantine in Building 18. Despite suffering from a cold and a fever, Sadeq was only provided with Panadol. He complained about the lack of medical care and the unavailability of healthy meals. He informed his family that the implemented COVID-19 measures only included testing the inmates and isolating those who experienced symptoms. There was no proper medical care or nutritious food. In addition, prisoners were not notified of the results of the tests they underwent, leaving them in the dark about their status and fate. Sadeq’s family also noted that his psychological state deteriorated rapidly as he was initially deprived of his right to call them. Sadeq last contacted his family on 11 May 2021. He has recuperated from the virus but still suffers from back pain.

The practices of the Bahraini authorities and the prison administration against Sadeq are violations of international legal conventions which Bahrain is party to, such as the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (Mandela Rules).

Therefore, ADHRB calls upon Bahrain to uphold its obligations by dropping the unfounded charges against Sadeq and to investigate the allegations of torture in order to hold the perpetrators accountable for their actions. ADHRB also urges the authorities to provide Sadeq with the appropriate medical treatment in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and allow regular calls where he can speak to his family comfortably.