Profile in Persecution: Abdulla AbdulKarim AlAnjawi

Abdulla AbdulKarim AlAnjawi is a 23-year-old Bahraini national who was arrested without a warrant from his home by Bahraini authorities in the beginning of 2021. He has been subjected to torture and ill-treatment both during interrogations and while in detention at Jau prison, where he is serving his sentence.

At dawn on the 4th of January 2021, officers in civilian clothing knocked on Abdulla’s house door, waking his father and interrogating him about his son’s whereabouts. They then proceeded to wake Abdulla up, handcuff him, and drag him into their car. They also searched the entire house and took some of Abdulla’s belongings, including all of his phones. Authorities did not present a warrant or give a reason for the arrest.

The day after his arrest, Abdulla called his family to inform them that he was at the CID. He remained in detention for 11 days without any contact, after which he was taken to the Office of the Public Prosecution, with his lawyer present. He was only allowed to call his family again after being transferred to Dry Dock Detention Center. During interrogations, Abdulla was threatened, so he did not mention the details of his torture out of fear. He only mentioned to his family that the torture he had undergone was so severe that he was forced to give false confessions to the charges that were raised against him. The torture resulted in various injuries, including back and feet pain, which he did not receive treatment for, despite requesting to see a doctor.

Abdulla had been previously sentenced to two years in prison on two charges of unlawful assembly. He served these two years and was later released in 2017. On the 14th of September 2021, Abdulla was sentenced to 10 years in prison with a fine of 100 thousand Bahraini dinars. He was charged with: 1- joining a terrorist cell, 2- financing terrorism, and 3- transferring money, explosive canisters, and transmitters inside Bahrain. At no point during the trial was a timeframe given as to when Abdulla would have allegedly committed these crimes, and the prosecution has failed to give specific dates or locations in relation to these charges. Abdulla was unable to freely communicate with his lawyer or prepare for the trial, and his forced confession was used to convict him.

While in prison, Abdulla has also suffered from ill-treatment and discrimination. He developed a fever and congestion due to the small and overcrowded surroundings in which he was placed, where infections are easily transmissible among inmates. Abdulla’s family filed a complaint to the Ombudsman, who visited and questioned Abdulla, although he did not mention whom exactly it was that had visited him.

The treatment of Abdulla at the hands of Bahraini authorities, from his arbitrary arrest without a warrant, his denial of a fair trial and due process rights, the multiple threats, ill-treatment, and religious discrimination suffered, all constitute violations of Bahrain’s obligations under the Constitution as well as various under international treaties, including 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 urges authorities to grant Abdulla a retrial that respects international evidentiary standards and is not based on false confessions extracted under duress. Finally, ADHRB calls upon authorities to urgently investigate allegations of ill-treatment and torture with a view to holding the responsible officers accountable.