Profile in Persecution: Hasan Hameed Meshaimea

Updated: Hasan Hameed Meshaimea was 25 years old when he was warrantlessly arrested in a pool by masked police officers. He was then subjected to physical and psychological torture and forced to confess. He is currently held at Dry Dock Detention Center where he is still awaiting the judgment of his trial.

On 1 October 2020, at around 11:00 pm, masked police officers entered a pool in Al-Malikiya and, without any justification, took Hasan to the kitchen where he was cut off from other people. He was then stripped of his clothes, except for his underwear. After that, he was physically attacked by a tall, large man who slapped him on his face. He was also threatened by two officers, one of whom was carrying a thick wooden stick and the other carrying a big metal tong.

After that, the officers took him to his house. At around 12 a.m., more than three officers entered the house with Hasan handcuffed behind his back to search the place. One of them was carrying a video camera to film everything, and the officers confiscated the family’s electronics. It is important to note that these officers neither revealed their identity nor did they state which entity they belonged to. Furthermore, the search and arrest occurred without presenting a warrant nor stating the reason for the arrest.

Hasan arrived at the investigation department (CID) at the dawn of 2 October, and was kept there for ten days. During that time, he was deprived of sleep and was tortured by being placed in a very cold area then a very hot area. Investigating officers threatened him with including his wife with him in the same case and threatened him not to talk about the torture he had been subjected to. CID officers insulted and beat Hasan, especially on his head and back. They also prevented him from praying throughout his stay in the investigation building. Moreover, Hasan faced a lot of restrictions when he had to use the bathroom. This was all done to extract a confession. Hasan was first presented to the prosecution on 7 October 2020 where he provided a statement. Nevertheless, the statement that he gave did not satisfy the Public Prosecution Office. Hence, he was forced to provide another statement. Hasan still suffers from back pain due to the torture he suffered. Rather than examining his back, he was only given painkillers.

Hasan is being charged with: 1) joining a terrorist cell, 2) possession, acquisition, and manufacture of explosive devices with the intent to commit terrorist crimes, 3) training on the use of weapon and explosives with intent to commit terrorist crimes, 4) intentional use of explosives to endanger the lives and money of individuals, and lastly 5) receiving, delivering, and transferring funds allocated to support a terrorist group. Nevertheless, Hasan still awaits his sentence as the court has not put out a judgment yet. His court hearing was last adjourned to 11 January 2021. Since his arrest, Hasan has had two lawyers. Hasan’s former lawyer was contacted a short time before Hasan’s first session at the Public Prosecution, which made it impossible for him to reach the session and attend it on time. Regarding the current lawyer, Hasan was only allowed to meet him for ten minutes after the trial had already begun, a clear violation of his right to a fair trial.

At the Dry Dock Detention Center, officers frequently enter Hasan’s cell at midnight disturbing him and his cellmates in their sleep to search the cell. They carry out the search in a very violent manner and turn the entire cell upside down. Furthermore, the Dry Dock Detention Center has very poor hygiene and sanitation. Hasan constantly finds insects in the bathroom, especially cockroaches, and has even seen mice on various occasions.  Moreover, although prison authorities do provide Hasan with masks, he is given one mask per week, making him more susceptible to infections due to the accumulation of bacteria on it. Also, Hasan is not provided with sanitizers and is rarely given gloves.

As a result of the unsanitary condition in the detention center, Hasan contracted scabies which he has suffered from for months. Instead of receiving proper treatment, he was placed in solitary confinement for a week on two different occasions. When in the solitary room, Hasan requested that he would be provided with a new mattress and blanket since the ones he had were worn out and previously used. Nevertheless, they were only provided for him while he was in the solitary room, but he did not obtain them when he was returned to the group cell. In addition, the number of beds are often less than the number of inmates in the cell, whereby there are 14 inmates and 10 beds in Hasan’s cell. These beds have a base of wide metal wires, and these wires are often broken or bent downward making them extremely uncomfortable to sleep on.

Since his arrest, Hasan has not been allowed to meet his family under the pretext of the pandemic. His wife asked to meet him after more than 8 months of detention when she was in court during the defense witnesses’ session, but she was only allowed to see him for less than 10 minutes from behind a glass barrier and in the presence of the defendants who were with him in the same case. Thus, Hasan can only see his family virtually through a video call which he is allowed once per week.

In June 2021, Hasan’s lawyer submitted a complaint to the Ombudsman Special Investigation Unit concerning the torture that he was subjected to. Hasan’s statements regarding the torture and ill-treatment he had suffered were taken, but he did not read the report that included his statements about the torture. When the lawyer reviewed the report and informed Hasan about its content, Hasan said that some of his statements were not fully recorded.

On 12 January 2022, Hasan was sentenced to ten years in prison and a fine of one hundred thousand Dinar. The court of appeal upheld the judgment on 25 April 2022.

In April 2023, Hasan was among the prisoners in Building 6 whose news have been cut off completely for almost a month. There has been no communication with him at all despite his family’s efforts to raise complaints to the Ombudsman and NIHR. Hasan and other inmates have deliberately refused to receive calls in order to pressure authorities to end the violations that they have been facing including medical negligence. Hasan has been demanding treatment for his eyes, until authorities started threatening him, and canceled his family visit which has been scheduled for about a month. Prison authorities have often delayed the prisoners’ medical appointments, as well as their transfer to the clinics or hospitals, without providing viable reasons. Moreover, they have sporadically stopped providing them with the medication or dietary meals they require.

Hasan was among three other individuals whom the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has issued an opinion in November 2022 on the case of Al-Ashtar Brigades. The opinion determined that the individuals were arbitrarily detained under different categories and in violation of international law. It also issued recommendations to the government that included the immediate release of all four individuals.

The Bahraini authorities’ treatment of Hasan, from his arbitrary arrest, his physical and psychological torture, and his denial of fair trial rights, are all in contravention of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and constitute violations of Bahrain’s obligations under international treaties, namely the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Furthermore, the ill-treatment he is facing in the pre-trial detention center, along with its unsanitary conditions, are all in breach of the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (The Nelson Mandela Rules).

Therefore, ADHRB calls on the Bahraini authorities to investigate allegations of torture that Hasan suffered and hold perpetrators accountable.  Furthermore, ADRHB urges the Bahraini government to protect Hasan’s fair trial rights by allowing him to meet with his lawyer for his ongoing trial. Finally, ADHRB calls on the Bahraini authorities to allow Hasan’s family to visit him and to improve the hygiene and sanitation in Dry Dock Detention Center.