Profile in persecution: Sayed Mohamed Mostafa Mohamed (Al-Tublani)

Sayed Mohamed Mostafa Mohamed (Al-Tublani) is a high school student who was warrantlessly arrested in 2018. Sayed Moahmed has been pursued since 2015, when he was only a 16-year-old secondary school student. He has been subjected to multiple human rights violations on multiple occasions, including torture and an unfair trial.

On 30 October 2018, Sayed Mohamed was arrested from a house in al-Dair area, where he was with a group of friends. Forces in civilian clothing surrounded the area and the house, and officers in civilian clothing arrested Sayed Mohamed and the group of his friends in batches. The owner of the house who sheltered them was also arrested. Authorities did not present an arrest warrant during the ambush. Prior to his arrest, five summons were sent to Sayed Mohamed’s family house in Hamad Town, which they did not receive because they were living in the Tubli area at the time.

The investigation was held at the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) where he was disappeared for two days. He later called his family to inform them that he was at the CID. The interrogation lasted for 10 days, during which he was tortured in order to extract confessions without the presence of his lawyer. Sayed Mohamed was previously charged with seven cases before his arrest. An eighth charge relating to his escape attempt was added after he was arrested. Neither Sayed Mohamed nor his family were informed by the court or official authorities about the cases in which he was convicted. They only knew the total of the rulings and sentences through the people who were sentenced in the same case as him. Three years before his arrest, he was sentenced in absentia to 28 years of imprisonment, without the opportunity to present a defense. He was assigned a lawyer after his arrest and was not able to prepare for trial, nor was he able to challenge evidence presented against him.  Moreover, his forced confession under torture was used against him in trial. The total of his sentences after arrest and the addition of the escape attempt case totaled 31 years. His lawyer applied for appeal to the courts of appeal and cassation. His sentences were upheld in all cases except one, and his sentence was reduced to 26 years.

He was transferred to Dry Dock prison. While there, he could not move and he had bruises and marks all over his body resulting from torture. He was able to contact his family around a month after his detention. He was later transferred to Jau prison.

On 10 August 2022, Sayed Mohamed was transferred to the isolation building along with 14 other prisoners, where they remain to this day. In isolation, they were subjected to beatings, torture, and other violations. They were denied contact with their families for a long time, and they were forbidden from going outside. They have been living under psychological pressure and systematic harassment since the beginning of their isolation, and after being cut off from the outside world. Although ten of the prisoners who were transferred were sentenced in January 2023 for attempting to escape, Sayed Mohamed was not involved in this case but remained in isolation. Their isolation is a form of reprisal by the authorities against these 14 prisoners, who used legal texts to claim their guaranteed rights, or objected to a violation to which they or another prisoner were subjected. On Tuesday, 6 September 2022, a team from the Ombudsman visited the isolated prisoners in Jau Prison to conduct investigations regarding allegations that they received. However, the 14 prisoners remained in isolation and nothing resulted from the visit. On 21 September 2022, an entity affiliated with the Criminal Investigations Directorate carried out a solitary confinement penalty against the 14 prisoners, in a way that seven prisoners were admitted to solitary confinement and kept for seven days, and then the other batch of seven prisoners were admitted after the first batch left. Sayed Mohamed was placed in solitary confinement from the 14th to the 21st of January.

After news of their son was cut off for a long period of time and the administration canceled visits for unclear administrative reasons, his parents submitted various complaints to human rights institutions, including the National Institute for Human Rights. Their efforts succeeded and they were able to visit him on Thursday 2 February 2023. He told them that prisoners do not expect anything from authorities. He also said they are currently without beds, only mattresses on the floor, without television, and only allowed an hour to go out and rest.

Sayed Mohamed’s warrantless arrest, torture and unfair trial go against the Convention against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) and the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), both of which Bahrain is party to. Moreover, the countless violations that he faced during his imprisonment, including being placed in isolation, is a violation of the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. As such, Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) calls on the Bahraini authorities to immediately release Sayed Mohamed, who was denied a fair trial and due process rights and to investigate the allegations of torture and ill treatment and hold perpetrators accountable. Furthermore, ADHRB urges the relevant authorities to end the isolation of Sayed Mohamed and the 13 other prisoners and provide them with their visitation and calling rights.