Profile in Persecution: Ebrahim Yusuf AlSamahiji

Ebrahim Yusuf Ali Ebrahim AlSamahiji is a 46 year old Bahraini from Al Freij, who was warrantlessly arrested in 2015, tortured, and charged in a terrorist case known as the “Nuwaidrat warehouse case”. He is currently serving his sentence at Jau prison.  

On 15 October 2015, police cars and masked officers in civilian clothing surrounded Ebrahim’s house.  He was arrested while he was asleep at home with his wife and children. The masked officers did not present an arrest warrant or state the reason for the arrest. They searched the house and confiscated electronic devices including cellphones and computers. He was led by the officers, some of whom were holding cameras, to a small black bus with tinted windows.  

Ebrahim was disappeared for 23 days, starting from the time of his arrest at 3 am at the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID). He managed to call his family when he arrived at the CID to let them know his location and then the line was cut. After 23 days he was able to place a second call but unable to tell them what happened and what he was subjected to. 

Ebrahim’s torture began when he was transferred to the bus on the day of his arrest and continued during interrogation. He was threatened and severely tortured in order to coerce a confession for something he did not commit. He was beaten all over his body, kicked, stripped naked, and sexually assaulted. Officers also verbally abused him with insults and curses against his religion. 

When his family was finally allowed to visit Ebrahim, they noticed traces of beatings on his hands, legs, and observed the difficulty he had in moving. He told his family that he had been severely tortured, deprived of sleep for long periods, and taken to court early one morning to confess to unrelated charges after having been threatened with rape. At one point, after officers sexually assaulted him, he confessed to fabricated charges. As a result of the torture, Ebrahim has been having recurrent headaches, back and leg pain, recurrent eye inflammation, and teeth damage. 

Ebrahim was charged, along with 12 other defendants, in the Nuwaidrat Warehouse case. However the Nuwaidrat warehouse incident took place in November, a month after Ebrahim’s arrest. Additionally, many of charges that were brought against Ebrahim during the trials were different to that of what was revealed during the investigation. Some of these charges were clearly fabricated during the investigation period and used in the trial. For instance, he was accused of smuggling weapons by sea because he is a thalassophile and owns a cruiser. Another charge – training on using weapons –  was completely fabricated during the investigations and brought against him during the trial. He was charged with joining a terrorist group whose purpose is the disruption of the constitution, state institutions, and harming national unity. 

Moreover, on 10 May 2017, Ebrahim was summoned to appear before the High Criminal Court on 10 may 2017, and was sentenced for insulting a public employee. He tried unsuccessfully to appeal this sentence. It is important to note that the judge in the case did not have the authority to preside over this case however, he insisted despite objections from the lawyers. On 27 December  2017, the Fourth Criminal Court issued a sentence of life imprisonment for the charges that were attributed to him as part of the case, and ordered the revocation of his nationality. On May 30, 2018 the verdict was upheld by the court of appeal, and his citizenship revoked. His citizenship was later reinstated by a decision of the court of Cassation on February 8, 2020, but the sentence was upheld.

Ebrahim’s warrantless arrest, torture, and unfair trial are violations of the Convention Against Torture and other Forms of Cruel,Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment of Punishment(CAT) and the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), both of which Bahrain is a party to. Moreover, the violations which he faced during his imprisonment, in particular medical negligence, are a violation of the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules). Therefore, Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain (AHDHRB) calls on the Bahraini authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Ebrahim, and the impartial investigation of his torture to hold the perpetrator accountable. ADHRB also urges Bahrain to provide Ebrahim and all prisoners with the adequate health care and end the practice of medical negligence.