Profile in Persecution: Ali Ebrahim AlZaki

Ali Ebrahim AlZaki was a 20-year-old Bahraini student when he was arrested while seeking medical treatment. He was tortured from that moment on until his forced confession. He is currently held in Jau Prison, where he faces mistreatment and medical negligence.

Ali AlZaki was arrested on 19 April 2014 at AlBudaiya Health Center. Authorities surrounded the center and arrested him while he was receiving treatment for an epilepsy episode. Then, he was taken to his grandfather’s house in Muqaba, where he was beaten, and, afterward, he was transferred to the CID. He was able to call his family at 2 a.m., telling them that he was fine and held at the CID.

During Ali’s investigation, he was subjected to physical and psychological torture. National security officers from the Ministry of Interior cursed, beat, and threatened Ali with killing him. As a result, he was forced to confess to the charges raised against him, without the presence of his lawyer, and the torture only stopped once he was presented before the Office of the Public Prosecution (OPP).

Ali had been summoned before his arrest where the summons indicated that he was accused of a felony. However, he did not go because he knew he was wanted in the case of the bombing in Adliya, which authorities claimed occurred in November 2012. On 1 October 2013, the High Criminal Court sentenced Ali to 15 years in prison in absentia. While he was wanted in relation to this case, soon enough, other charges were raised against him as well. He was convicted in up to ten cases on charges of arson, illegal assembly and rioting, and possession of explosive canisters, and the total of the sentences reached 25 years.

Ali was only allowed to see his family three weeks after his arrest in New Dry Dock Prison. He was visibly in pain during the visit as a result of the torture he was subjected to.

He had asked to see a doctor but was not examined even though he suffers from epilepsy.

Recently, on 24 October 2021, Ali started a hunger strike along with a group of prisoners without any response to the matter of his treatment until six days into his strike, when the administration responded by sending him to an ophthalmologist and providing him with treatment. As a result, he ended his strike. He was suffering from inflammation in one of his eyes for around a month, but the prison authorities prevented him from receiving treatment and did not respond to his demands, and he was worried that his eye would be damaged.

The Bahraini authorities’ actions against Ali violate international law, including the Convention Against Torture and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, both of which Bahrain is a party to. ADHRB calls upon Bahrain to uphold its human rights obligations by annulling Ali’s conviction and ensuring that any subsequent retrial is consistent with due process and fair trial rights. We additionally urge the authorities to investigate claims of torture and ill treatment by prison officials and to hold those officials accountable, as well as provide adequate and timely medical treatment to Ali and all prisoners.