Mohamed, Muqtada, and Muntadher AlKuwaiti are three young brothers who were only between 14 and 15 years old when they were arrested in 2021. They suffered various violations for months considering their young age and have been sentenced to a year in prison. They are currently serving their sentence at a center for orphans and children of unknown parents.
The AlKuwaiti brothers were summoned for the first time in June 2021. On the evening of 15 June 2021, the father received a call from Sitra police station asking them to come to the station the next day. When they arrived with their father, he was denied the chance to enter with them to the interrogation room. The children were asked to enter the interrogation room individually without the presence of their father. They were released after around 6 hours of questioning regarding participation in demonstrations and were asked to come again the following day to be presented before the PPO, which ordered their subjection to security monitoring for 6 months.
For the next 6 months, they were continuously summoned at least once or twice a week. During the interrogation period, the brothers were subjected to psychological torture. They were constantly yelled at and insulted. The PPO also threatened them. Their lawyer and father were both not allowed to be present with them while they were interrogated. The parents later found that the children were accused of political charges, namely participating in demonstrations.
In the beginning of December, the parents received a letter notifying them that the children’s case was filed. However, on 26 December 2021, they were surprised with a call from the Sitra police station informing them of a new court session on 27 December at the PPO. When the children arrived, they were arrested by the PPO and detained pending investigation. They were initially held in Dar AlKarama, a center for homeless people and beggars. Then, on 5 January, they were transferred to Batelco Home, a social care center for orphans and children of troubled households.
The family was unaware of the charges issued against their children, until 1 February 2022, when a statement was issued by the Family and Child Prosecution and published to the Bahrain News Agency and on social media, accusing six children under the age of fifteen of committing the crime of manufacturing and using flammable devices, illegal assembly, rioting, and assaulting individuals and public and private property. The statement indicated that filed social and psychological reports proved there is an aggressive tendency among those children toward society. Subsequently, the trials lasted till 13 March 2022 when they were sentenced to one year in prison. The children were not adequately prepared for the trials nor were they present evidence to support them.
During their detention, the children were denied visits from their families, until 13 February, when the father visited them. The entire visit was filmed on video, and the father could see that the children were psychologically and physically exhausted due to the mistreatment and different forms of torture they were subjected to. The children have been unable to continue their education, so their father submitted a request to the PPO and Batelco Home, though there has yet to be any outcome.
Bahraini authorities’ detention and torture of the three AlKuwaiti brothers violates international law, including the Convention Against Torture, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Bahrain is a party to. Moreover, the children’s detention and interrogation without the presence of their guardian and lawyer constitutes a violation of Bahrain’s Restorative justice Law for Children. ADHRB calls on Bahrain to uphold its human rights obligations by investigating claims of torture and ill treatment to hold officials accountable for unlawful actions. Furthermore, ADHRB urges Bahraini authorities to implement the provisions of the Restorative Justice Law for Children by releasing the children in order to guarantee their best interest.