Profile in Persecution: Ahmed Maki Hasan Ahmed Kadhem AlHadi

Ahmed Maki AlHadi is a young Bahraini who was arrested in 2022 and subjected to multiple human rights violations, including torture and unfair trial. He is currently serving a prison sentence at Jau prison.

Ahmed was previously arrested three times, each arrest only lasting up to six months, on charges of arson, vandalism, illegal assembly, and participation in demonstrations. During his arrests, he would be subjected to torture and denied access to legal counsel. He would also be forcibly disappeared for days, with the longest period of disappearance lasting two weeks. He would sometimes call his family a few days later to inform them that he was at the Central Investigation Department, and then the call would be cut off. Then, after another few days, he would call only asking for clothes.

Ahmed was repeatedly summoned multiple times after the 2011 pro-democracy revolution for participating in peaceful protests, vandalism, and to interrogate him about his brother, who currently lives abroad. However, he only went voluntarily twice. The first time, he was interrogated for hours at the police center and then released. The second time, he was detained for two days.

On the morning of 10 August 2022, Ahmed was surrounded by police forces and arrested from the parking lot of Jau Prison while he was waiting inside his car. At approximately 11:00 A.M., his family’s house was raided and all the rooms were searched. The officers did not ask about any particular person and left after two and a half hours. They took some of Ahmed’s clothes, books, pictures of religious symbols, a knife, spoons, a cup, perfume, and other personal items. They also took a laptop, papers and notebooks, a ring, and the car. Almost two minutes after they left, Ahmed called from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) building, and told his family about his location before the call was disconnected. Ahmed’s interrogation at the CID lasted five days, during which time he was subjected to torture. After that, on 15 August 2022, he was transferred from the CID to the Public Prosecution office, where he was tortured and threatened to confess to having relations with a foreign country and sign what was written without objecting to a word. Ahmed’s lawyer was also not allowed to attend during the entire period of his interrogation.

On 31 January 2023, Ahmed was sentenced to life imprisonment on charges of attempting to smuggle convicts and possession of a weapon. His appeal trial was due on 26 February 2023, but it was postponed several times until  the appeal was finally rejected and the ruling was upheld. During his trial, what he said was not recorded in the minutes, and when the judge asked him about his confession, he denied it and said that he was tortured and threatened to sign the written confession. He was also denied access to his attorney before and after the court sessions.

On 31 January 2023, immediately after he was sentenced to life imprisonment, Ahmed was transferred from Dry Dock Detention Prison to Jau Prison Building 18, alongside the 14 detainees who had been separated from the rest of the prisoners since August 2022 for attempting to escape prison. Since then, he has been allowed visits once a month.  His family was contacted to provide him with a personal money card so that he would be able to make calls, buy clothes, and food. After they provided the card, Ahmed was able to call for a total of 40 minutes a week, which were renewed every Sunday. However, authorities have deprived him of his right to make calls as a punitive measure. Additionally, his calls are frequently interrupted. After a period of two or three months, and after demands from him and his family, Ahmed was allowed to communicate through video call, since video calls are not allowed for the isolated group he is in and visits have been prohibited in Dry Dock since Covid-19 began.  During Ramadan 2023, each prisoner was allowed one visit and one video call per month. Ahmed’s family requested a second visit as an alternative to the video call, which was granted.  Ahmed was then allowed to have visits every two weeks. During the visit, his family talks to him through two phone receivers, and there is a transparent glass barrier separating them.

Ahmed’s warrantless and arbitrary 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. Additionally, his isolation and the violation during his imprisonment are a blatant violation of the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules). As such, Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) calls on the Bahraini authorities to immediately release Ahmed, who was not provided with a fair trial and due process rights and to investigate the allegations of torture and ill treatment and hold perpetrators accountable.