Profile in Persecution: Ali Mohsen Muhana

Ali Mohsen Muhana is a Bahraini activist, father of political prisoner Husain Muhana, and an ex-political prisoner himself. After being tortured and imprisoned for participating in the AlDiraz demonstrations in 2017, he has repeatedly faced legal measures from summons to detention as acts of reprisal against his activism and demands for the release of prisoners of conscience. 

Ali  used to work as an Arabic language teacher at “Al-Imam Ali” school in Ma’ameer but was terminated from his job following his first arrest. His active participation in  assemblies and demonstrations  made him a target for the Bahraini authorities. On 23 May 2017, Ali  was arrested for taking part in a demonstration in AlDiraz in support of Sheikh Isa Qasem. He suffered a birdshot injury to the head, affecting vision in his right eye. He was unable to see and was taken to a nearby house to receive basic treatment, which the police had permitted. 

During the arrest, while Ali  was being pulled into the military bus, he was insulted and beaten. He was held for 23 days at the CID and was allowed to contact his family 5 days after his arrest for less than a minute, informing them that he needed clothing. After 23 days of of being subjected to different forms of torture at the CID, Ali was transfered to the Dry Dock Detention Center where he was examined by a doctor for his head injury. 

Ali was released on 21 January 2018 after paying a fine of 200 Bahraini Dinars, while his  trial was still ongoing. He then turned himself in on 8 April 2019 after being sentenced to a year in prison. During his time in Jau Prison, the guards purposely beat him on the injured spot on his head, which led him to lose consciousness and be transferred to the prison clinic. Ali ended up suffering from chronic headaches that required painkillers. 

After his release from prison, Ali  continued to participate in numerous demonstrations which tackled different objectives, recently being the COVID-19 outbreak in prisons and the call to release prisoners, including his son.

In fact, Ali has been summoned multiple times over the last year, often being forced to delete content off his social media or forced to sign pledges prohibiting him from participating in demonstrations. Notably, in April 2021, he was fined a total of 2,000 Bahraini Dinars for participating in demonstrations calling for the release of political prisoners in light of the outbreak in Jau Prison. Additionally, between 12 and 30 June 2021, Ali was detained on the charges of incitement and undermining security for posting a video where he referred to Husain Barakat, a prisoner who died due to Coronavirus-related casues last year, as a martyr.

The actions taken by the Bahraini authorities from Muhana’s warrantless arrest, torture, and continued targeting are all violations of international law and national law. Bahrain has violated its obligations under several 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). As such, ADHRB calls upon Bahrain to uphold its human rights obligations by investigating claims of torture by  officials to hold them accountable. Furthermore, ADHRB calls upon Bahraini authorities to cease their harassment of Ali who is practicing his right to freedom of expression and assembly.