Profile in Persecution: Mahmood AbdulJabbar Nooh

Mahmood AbdulJabbar Nooh is a student who is currently serving a ten-year sentence at Bahrain’s New Dry Dock Prison. He was 17 years old at the time of his arrest in 2019 and was subjected to torture and due process violations throughout his interrogation and detention process.

Mahmood was arrested on 13 November 2019 by plainclothes officers who pursued him in unmarked vehicles before subsequently approaching him in the street. Authorities in civilian clothing arrested Mahmood without a warrant and without notifying him of the reason for his arrest. Although he was allowed to contact his family the same night of the date of his arrest, contact was cut off from 8:30 p.m. onward. During this time, his family continued to search for him in centers and hospitals before eventually learning that Mahmood was being detained at the Criminal Investigation Directorate (CID).

At the CID, Mahmood was interrogated for around seven to nine days without the presence of a lawyer. Throughout the interrogation, Mahmood was subjected to torture in the form of electric shocks and burning, with the intent of extracting a confession. Mahmood was denied treatment for the injuries sustained during his interrogation, because the doctor who performed the examination claimed that the burn, found on a private area, was not a result of torture but rather was sustained at the “crime scene” at the time of Mahmood’s arrest, which is unrealistic since there are no marks on any other part of his body. Mahmood’s coerced confession was later used against him in court.

Following his interrogation, Mahmood was presented to the Public Prosecution which ordered his detention for two months. He was then transferred to the Dry Dock Detention Center, where, a week after his arrival, he was allowed to meet his family for the first time since his arrest. Mahmood’s parents had remained uninformed of the charges he was accused of for the first several months of his detention.

The authorities charged Mahmood with joining a terrorist organization, and the First High Criminal Court sentenced him to ten years in prison on 30 November 2020. Evidence was presented in Mahmood’s defense, but it was not taken into consideration by the court. Following unsuccessful appeals, both the Court of Appeal and the Court of Cassation upheld the judgement. Mahmood was transferred to New Dry Dock Detention, where he remains, to serve his sentence.

Mahmood suffers from sickle cell anemia, G6PD deficiency, and pain in his feet and bones. The pain increases in the cold and wet climate. On 15 May 2022, he announced his hunger strike, in protest against the medical negligence practiced by the prison administration. He has consistently been denied treatment and is only taken to the clinic to take painkillers to stop the strong pain without being offered further treatment. Although prison authorities have scheduled appointments for Mahmood at Salmaniya Hospital to receive proper medical attention, he was not taken to these appointments. On 18 May 2022, the prosecutor met with Mahmood and promised to respect his right to treatment and transfer him to the hospital. Based on those promises Mahmood stopped his hunger strike.

Mahmood’s arrest without a warrant, torture and unfair trial are clear violations of the Convention against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), both of which Bahrain is a party to. As such, Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) calls on the Bahraini authorities to release Mahmood, who was denied a fair trial and due process rights and tortured into confessing and to ensure that any retrial meets international standards of a fair trial. Furthermore, ADHRB urges the relevant authorities to effectively and impartially investigate Mahmood’s allegations of torture and mistreatment and provide Mahmood with adequate and timely medical treatment.