Profile in Persecution: Ahmed Fadhel Hobail

Ahmed Fadhel Hobail was only 15 years old when he was summoned and then arrested in 2021. He was subjected to threats and other forms of violence throughout the process of interrogation. Ahmed is currently serving his one-year sentence in a center for orphans or children with unknown parents.

When Ahmed was first summoned in July 2021, his father went to the director of the Sitra police station, who told him that they would “shake the boy a little.” Ahmed was interrogated alone without the presence of his father or lawyer regarding charges of illegal assembly and rioting. The interrogation lasted for around 8 hours, during which he was yelled at and threatened before his release. Ahmed was later summoned several other times, and on 30 October 2021, the PPO ordered his detention for a week, but he was detained for two days, only released after his father signed several pledges.

Afterward, Ahmed’s family would receive around seven callssummoning him to appear before the prosecutor. He would be interrogated from morning until evening, without the presence of his lawyer or parents. Ahmed was threatened and yelled at, with a strong large man standing behind him to intimidate him into confessing.

On 26 December 2021, Ahmed’s father was summoned to present his son before the PPO on the next day. On 27 December, when Ahmed was taken there, he was arrested along with a group of children, and his detention was ordered for a week. Ahmed’s father went to Sitra police station three times before he was informed that his son was detained in Dar AlKarama, although he was not informed of the reason behind the arrest. On 5 January, Ahmed was transferred to Batelco Home. On 1 February, a statement issued by the Family and Child Prosecution indicated that he, along with five other children, was accused of manufacturing and using flammable devices, illegal assembly, rioting, and assaulting public and private property and persons.

Ahmed’s father was able to visit him for the first time a month and a half after his arrest on 13 February, after much campaigning and mobilisation. The entire meeting was filmed, and the father could see that Ahmed was not doing well psychologically and physically.

Ahmed did not have the chance to properly prepare for the trial nor was he allowed to have his lawyer with him during the interrogation process. The lawyer only attended the last two sessions. He was also not able to prepare evidence nor challenge the evidence presented against him. On 13 March, Ahmed was sentenced to one year in detention in a child welfare facility.

Bahraini authorities’ detention and psychological torture of Ahmed violate international law, including the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Bahrain is a party to. Additionally, Bahrain violates Articles 68 and 69 of Law No. (4) of 2021 Law on Restorative Justice for Children and Protection from Abuse which stipulates that the guardians of the detained child must be informed of every decision taken and that children who are aged 15 and under should not be held in pre-trial detention. For this reason, ADHRB calls on Bahrain to uphold its human rights obligations by releasing Ahmed to be with his family and continue his education, which is in his best interest and investigating allegations of mistreatment.