Profile in Persecution: Sadeq Jaafar Shamlooh

Sadeq Jaafar Shamlooh was a 16-year-old freshman student when he was warrantlessly arrested, tortured, and sentenced in several unfair trials. He is currently held in Jau Prison where is he is serving a 26-year sentence, meaning that by the time he serves his sentence, he would have spent more than half his life in prison.

On 6 January 2016, Sadeq went to a restaurant to get dinner and was followed by an officer in civilian clothing into the restaurant.  The officer asked Sadeq to show his ID and to exit the restaurant, where he was handcuffed and placed in a civilian car. After they drove off, Sadeq was blindfolded and brought to Isa Town police station. He was transferred to the Criminal Investigation Directorate, where he was able to call his parents, informing them of his whereabouts, before the line was abruptly cut.

Prior to this, in September 2015, Sadeq’s house was raided and inspected at 2 a.m.; since then, he had been chased by authorities. He had been sentenced in absentia to ten years in prison on political grounds.

During his 10 days at the CID, Sadeq was subjected to physical and psychological torture, including threats, beating, and burning with cigarettes, to extract confessions in malicious cases. When Sadeq was transferred to the PPO, his statement was taken without the presence of a lawyer or guardian despite his age. He was in bad physical shape from the torture he endured up to this point, and he signed the statement presented to him without reading it.

After the first phone call, contact with Sadeq was lost until the twelfth day when he called his mother that to inform her that he was at Jau Prison and his head had been shaved. After 14 days, he was taken to New Dry Dock Prison, where convicts under 21 years are held, and called his family to inform them of his new location. He was first permitted to see his parents two months after the arrest, where they could see the torture marks on his hands.

Between 2015 and 2022, Sadeq has been sentenced in eleven cases on charges of illegal assembly, rioting, arson, manufacture of explosive devices, planting explosives, and negligent damage. His sentences are heavy, ranging from one to ten years in each case. The total of his sentence reached 34 years in prison but was reduced to 26 years after appeal.

Currently, Sadeq is in Jau Prison Building 5 for quarantine, as infected and ill prisoners are held there. He has been kept there for two years as a method of psychological pressure and isolation from other prisoners. Whenever Sadeq demands his rights or refuses inhumane treatment, he has been placed in solitary confinement. While his family has submitted several complaints regarding the conditions of his detention and his wellbeing, there has been no positive outcome in Sadeq’s situation.

The conditions of Sadeq’s warrantless arrest, his interrogation without a lawyer, and the physical and psychological torture he was subjected to are in violation of international law, namely the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention Against Torture, both of which Bahrain is a party to. As such, ADHRB calls upon Bahrain to uphold its human rights obligations by annulling Sadeq’s convictions and ensuring that any subsequent retrial is consistent with due process and fair trial rights, in addition to investigating allegations of torture and mistreatment to hold perpetrators accountable.