Ebrahim Mohamed Ismaeel was 26 years old, working as an accountant, when he was arrested by officers in civilian clothing from his car without a warrant. He was then subjected to physical and psychological torture and forced to confess. He is currently held at Jau Prison where he is serving his life sentence.
On 14 December 2017, Ebrahim and his fiancé were about to get into the car when they were stopped by a number of officers in civilian clothing. They asked who was driving the car, and Ebrahim’s fiancé said that it was Ebrahim. They claimed that there was a car accident that had taken place and that they were suspected to have been involved in this accident. However, Ebrahim and his fiancé denied such claims. Nevertheless, one of the officers confirmed that based on the type and color of the car, he was sure that it was them who caused the accident. Thus, they said that they wanted to take Ebrahim to the police station and that his fiancé should drive behind them, but Ebrahim and his fiancé refused to do so. After some arguing, one of them said that he was still talking in a calm manner and that if they keep on resisting they will take Ebrahim by force. It was at that point that Ebrahim and his fiancé realized that these individuals were in fact from the Civil Intelligence.
His fiancé asked why Ebrahim was being arrested but they refused to provide her with a reason. They only said, “go look into what he has done”. They searched the car and confiscated a mobile phone. They placed Ebrahim in a civilian car and ordered his fiancé to take the car and leave the site immediately. She drove away without knowing where they took Ebrahim. Hours later, the family got a call from the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) informing them that Ebrahim was there.
Ebrahim’s interrogation lasted for forty days at the CID without the presence of his lawyer. During the entire period of interrogation, he was subjected to physical and psychological torture. Ebrahim was deprived of food, water, and sleep for three consecutive days. Furthermore, during his sleep, he was beaten and sprayed with cold water despite the cold weather. Also, during interrogations, he was threatened with his family members. In addition, the treatment which he endured was due to sectarian reasons, as he was insulted and called derogatory terms used against Shias. As a result of the torture he suffered, Ebrahim was forced to confess. Moreover, he was only presented to the Public Prosecution Office 2 weeks after his arrest without the presence of his lawyer. Due to the torture he endured, Ebrahim’s pre-existing knee condition worsened.
Ebrahim has two cases raised against him. The first case was the Bahraini Hezbollah Case. He was charged with 1) joining a terrorist cell, 2) receiving, delivering, and transferring funds allocated to support a terrorist, 3) possession, acquisition, and manufacture of explosive devices, detonators, and materials used in manufacturing explosive devices, 4) training on the use of weapon and explosives. On 16 April 2019, Ebrahim’s judgment was issued by the Fourth High Criminal Court in a mass trial that included 169 defendants, where he was sentenced to life imprisonment, a fine of 100,000 Bahraini Dinars, and the revocation of citizenship. Nevertheless, his citizenship was later reinstated. On 20 August 2019, Ebrahim was sentenced to three years in prison on similar charges pertaining to joining a terrorist group and training to use weapons and manufacture weapons. Both the Appeals and Cassation Court upheld the judgments. Ebrahim was not given adequate time and facilities to prepare for his defense nor was he allowed to present evidence in court or challenge the evidence against him. Furthermore, his forced confession was used against him in court.
The prison administration in Jau Prison has prohibited Ebrahim from contacting his family on various occasions. After not being able to call for a while, Ebrahim called his family on 6 April 2021, complaining of fatigue, constriction, food deprivation, deprivation of sunlight, as well as being denied the right to go to the canteen to buy hygiene supplies. After this, the contact was suspended again up until 1 May 2021. During the period in which contact was suspended, Ebrahim’s family made various complaints and called the prison administration on various occasions asking why contact had been cut off and why Ebrahim was tested for Coronavirus after a negative result was posted on the website of the Ministry of Health. The prison administration did not reply to them and made false claims saying that Ebrahim was fine, but it was him who did not wish to talk to anyone.
On 1 May 2021, Ebrahim called and asserted that he never refused to call. Also, he told his family that, for nearly a month, he had been suffering from extreme fatigue, high temperature, vertigo, low blood pressure, and severe chest pain, chills, and stomach pain. After much suffering, and more than 6 hours of waiting, they allowed him to go to the prison’s clinic only for his blood pressure to be measured, and they conducted a rapid PCR test. Despite his pain, Ebrahim did not receive any treatment. After his PCR test, he was placed in solitary confinement for 2 days without anyone checking up on him while he was sick. After three visits to the prison clinic, where he was given an IV drip for his low blood pressure without performing any blood or urine tests. The next time he went to the clinic, the doctor only prescribed Panadol and antacid pills without trying to diagnose what he was suffering from.
A request was submitted to the execution judge to approve a request to take Ebrahim to a specialist doctor considering his symptoms. The judge replied on 5 May 2021 and requested a report from the Prison before approval. On 1 June 2021, this request was rejected despite the fact that Ebrahim was taken to the Prison clinic two weeks prior to that date and had blood and urine tests taken. The doctor told Ebrahim that the medical results and the illnesses are the result of malnutrition, deprivation of sunlight, and possibly because of vitamin deficiency. He has been suffering from these symptoms for more than three months and nothing was being done.
The Bahraini authorities’ treatment of Ebrahim, from his arbitrary arrest, his physical and psychological torture, and his denial of fair trial rights, are all in contravention of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and constitute violations of Bahrain’s obligations 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). Furthermore, the ill-treatment he is facing in prison, including medical negligence, is in breach of the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (The Nelson Mandela Rules).
Therefore, ADHRB calls on the Bahraini authorities to investigate allegations of torture that Ebrahim suffered and hold perpetrators accountable. Furthermore, ADRHB urges the Bahraini government to overturn Ebrahim’s sentence considering the severe fair trial and due process rights violations committed throughout the investigation and the mass trial. Finally, ADHRB calls on the Bahraini authorities to provide the necessary medical treatment which Ebrahim needs.