Profiles in Persecution: Ali Hasan Ali

Updated: Ali Hasan Ali is a 22-year-old Bahraini citizen who was arrested, tortured, and sentenced to a total of 23 years’ imprisonment in a series of unfair trials. Ali is currently imprisoned at Jau Prison.

On 22 October 2012, police arrested Ali, who was only 15 years old at the time, near AlKhawaja Mosque in the center of Manama following protests for the right of self-determination. The police released Ali after his parents paid his bail, but after his release Ali was charged with illegal assembly and sentenced to six months in prison. Ali, however, refused to surrender himself to the police and became a fugitive.

In late June 2015, the police raided Ali’s home, but Ali was able to escape before he was arrested. When his family asked the police the reason for the raid, the police threatened Ali’s family and told them to surrender Ali without giving a reason, to which they refused.

On 1 July 2015, riot police officers from the Ministry of Interior (MoI) and officers in plain clothing with additional helicopter support raided and arrested Ali from a house in Wadyan where Ali was visiting his friends. One of Ali’s friends had arranged for Ali to be at the house in exchange for money. The police provided no warrant or reason for the arrest.

After Ali’s arrest, the authorities disappeared him for two weeks and refused to give his family any information about his whereabouts. The police charged Ali with attacking a police station, attacking a police officer, acquiring Molotov cocktails, illegally assembly, and attacking the local market place.

On 4 July 2015, police transferred Ali to the Office of Public Prosecution (OPP). At the OPP, the police interrogated and tortured Ali – beating him badly and taking photos and videos of him while he was naked. Additionally, the police refused to let him pray and beat Ali whenever he tried to go to the bathroom, which caused Ali to urinate blood for two weeks. The police also forced him to sign papers that he believes contained confessions to his charges. Furthermore, they took photos of Ali carrying Molotov cocktails. The police then transferred him to Dry Dock Detention Center, refused Ali’s requests to speak to a lawyer, and did not permit him to visit with his family until six weeks after his arrest.

Ali’s charges were scattered in seven different trials. During the trials, the court did not allow Ali to speak on his own behalf. Over the course of these trials, the court sentenced Ali to a total of 27 years in prison. On appeal, several of his sentences have been reduced, though some appeals were rejected. Ali now faces a combined 23 years in prison.

On 8 September 2018, a doctor from the Ministry of Health diagnosed Ali with an ear infection and placed an ear tube into his ear. However, the ear tube later fell out of his ear due to further torture by the prison officers, and Ali is unable to hear very well. Ali also suffers painful stomach gas due to an operation on his appendix and hernia that occurred before he was arrested. Due to the pain, Ali cannot eat food with fats or legumes because it causes pain. Prison officials refused to provide Ali appropriate meals when he asked for them.

Ali’s family has filed multiple complaints to the MoI Ombudsman and the National Institution for Human Rights to complain about the lack of appropriate food and the prison’s refusal to provide him with proper treatment. On 17 September 2019, Ali called his parents and told them the prison officials denied him appropriate meals. Additionally, the officials placed him in solitary confinement whenever he requested these meals. Ali remains imprisoned at Jau Prison.

After the outbreak of the coronavirus in Jau prison, Ali’s health was put at risk due to his weak immune system, especially since he did not receive adequate healthcare for his deteriorating health condition. He received one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. On 5 December 2020 during a video call, his family learned that he was not transferred to a doctor to diagnose the cause of his stomach and ear pain. It was clear that Ali was unable to speak freely and disclose his suffering to his family because the call was monitored, and he mostly nodded his head in response.

On 26 April 2021, Ali’s family complained about the lack of communication for up to three weeks, specifically since the death of the political prisoner Abbas Malallah on 6 April. The family was extremely worried after learning that Ali was among the prisoners who were assaulted and beaten in buildings 12 and 13 of Jau prison on the “Bloody Saturday” where prison officers launched a violent attack on the prisoners, causing injuries among them and depriving them of food and water. At that time, the situation of Ali’s family was the same as that of all families of political prisoners who had exhausted all legal measures by filing complaints and messages to concerned institutions, but without any reassuring answer about the fate of their loved ones.

On 3 April 2023, Ali’s family submitted a request to the judge at the Ministry of Justice to release Ali on alternative sentencing, after serving more than 8 years of his sentence with 8 years left. However, the request was rejected without giving convincing reasons, stating that the prison term exceeded the legally prescribed period, and that nominations must be made through the Ministry of Interior only. The family repeated their request between 4 and 5 April, but it was also rejected. On 14 April, the family launched several appeals, especially after the release of a number of prisoners under alternative sentencing, wondering about the fate of their son who was arrested when he was a minor. They demanded that he be included in the release, especially since they have been deprived of visits for three years. They are also concerned about his worsening health. He has suffered from stomach pains for years without receiving proper treatment and meals, as well as hearing loss and ear pain.

The Government of Bahrain’s treatment of Ali is in violation of Bahrain’s international human rights obligations, including under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment (CAT) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Articles 2 and 11 of the CAT prohibit torture and ill-treatment, and require State Parties to prevent torture as well as to investigate and punish its perpetrators. The use of Ali’s confession, coerced through torture, is additionally in violation of Article 15 of the CAT. Furthermore, Article 14 of the ICCPR provides that all individuals are entitled to a fair trial, yet the Bahraini authorities convicted Ali in an unfair trial based on a forced confession.

Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) calls upon Bahrain to uphold its human rights obligations by annulling Ali’s conviction in light of the forced confession and subsequent unfair trial. We further call on the Bahraini authorities to investigate Ali’s allegations of ill treatment and torture, and retry him according to fair trial standards, in order to hold the perpetrators accountable. ADHRB also urges Bahrain to ensure appropriate medical care is provided for all prisoners, including Ali.