Updated: Sayed Ahmed Hadi Hasan was a 20-year-old Bahraini student, attending his first semester at the University of Bahrain in the hopes of becoming an industrial electrician, when he was arrested from the AlGhuraifa area. Since his detention, Sayed Ahmed has suffered torture and religious discrimination at the hands of the Bahraini authorities. He is currently serving his sentence at Jau prison.
On 1 October 2020, at 12:00 pm, officers in civilian clothing arrested Sayed Ahmed at a checkpoint in AlGhuraifa, without presenting a warrant, while he was with his friend in a car on their way to his grandfather’s house. The arresting officers failed to mention a reason for the arrest of Sayed Ahmed, who had never been summoned or arrested before and whose criminal record was clean.
From the moment of his arrest at noon until 12:00 am, Sayed Ahmed’s parents had no news from him and were unaware of his whereabouts or fate. At midnight, the authorities called Sayed Ahmed’s parents, informing them that he was at the CID, and allowed him to talk to them for five minutes. Directly after that call, the police raided Sayed Ahmed’s family house in Salmabad.
At the CID, Sayed Ahmed was interrogated for one week without his lawyer. Upon his arrest and during the interrogation period, CID officers, police officers and officers dressed in civilian clothing threatened and tortured Sayed Ahmed by way of stripping him of his clothes, severe beatings, electric shocks, and beatings with batons. He was cursed, insulted, and his religious sect and its prominent figures were targeted. Sayed Ahmed was forced to provide false confessions by signing statements agreeing to the charges held against him. Sayed Ahmed was not allowed to defend himself nor was he allowed to sleep for the entire week. Despite requesting to see a doctor, he was not examined nor was he provided with any treatment following the torture.
On 7 October 2020, Sayed Ahmed, was presented before the Public Prosecution Office (PPO), where he was charged with: 1) joining a terrorist cell; 2) possessing, acquiring and manufacturing explosive devices with the intent of committing terrorist crimes; 3) training on the use of weapons and explosives with the intent of committing terrorist crimes; 4) intentionally using explosives to endanger the lives and money of individuals, and 5) receiving, delivering and transferring funds allocated to support a terrorist group. However, over a year after his arrest, his sentence is yet to be issued, as the court sessions have been repeatedly postponed, with the upcoming session scheduled to be held on 22 December 2021.
Since his arrest, Sayed Ahmed has not been allowed to communicate with his lawyer and therefore has not managed to adequately prepare for his trial. Furthermore, during trial sessions, he has not been allowed to present evidence and to challenge evidence presented against him in court, including confessions and signatures extracted under duress and torture. Ever since his arrest almost one year ago, Sayed Ahmed has not been able to meet with his parents due to COVID-19 related restrictions. Moreover, in September 2021, prison authorities prevented him from calling his family for a whole week. As he waits for the issuance of a judgment on his case, Sayed Ahmed remains in Dry Dock Detention Center where he faces discriminatory treatment based on his belonging to the Jaafari Shi’a sect.
On 12 January 2022, Sayed Ahmed was sentenced by the Fourth High Criminal Court to 10 years in prison and a fine of 100,000 dinars fine. His charges were: joining a terrorist organization for the purpose of disrupting the law or violating rights and freedoms; training to use weapons and explosives intending to commit terrorist crimes; providing, delivering or receiving funding for an association that practices terrorism; unlicensed manufacturing, acquiring and possession of explosives for terrorist aims; intentional use of explosives for the purposes of endangering the lives and economic interests of others; and attempting to detonate a bomb by planting an explosive canister.
Sayed Ahmed and others who were sentenced in the same case were transferred to Jau Prison in February 2022. They were initially placed in Building 4 which is designated for criminal and drug-related cases. They were supposed to be relocated after two weeks to Building 6, however, after two weeks, they were all transferred to Building 6 except Sayed Ahmed. The family raised complaints and pleaded for Sayed Ahmed to be transferred to Building 6, until he was finally moved with his fellow inmates towards the end of 2022.
Bahraini authorities’ treatment of Sayed Ahmed, from his arbitrary and warrantless arrest, denial of fair trial and due process rights, torture and ill-treatment, and religious discrimination, all constitute violations of Bahrain’s obligations under the Bahraini Constitution and 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). Therefore, ADHRB urges authorities to immediately suspend Sayed Ahmed’s trial as it is based on fabricated charges and false confessions extracted under duress. Finally, ADHRB calls upon authorities to urgently investigate allegations of torture with a view to holding the responsible officers to account.