Profile in Persecution: Mohamed Ali Maki

Mohamed Ali Maki is a Bahraini student who was warrantlessly arrested in 2019 and has been subjected to multiple human rights violations on multiple occasions, including torture and unfair trial. He was charged in multiple cases and is currently serving his sentence at Dry Dock prison.

On 31 January 2019, Mohamed was arrested for the first time at the age of 15 years old. He was playing with his friends in the Shakhura area, and while he was tying his shoelace in a corner away from them, riot police snatched him by his hands and placed him in a jeep. They took him to Al-Badii police station, where he was held overnight. He was then taken to Hamad Town Police Station. After that, he was transferred to the AlQalaa Center and finally held in the Dry Dock detention prison for about a month or two, after which he was released on bail of 200 dinars.

On 23 November 2019, Mohamed was in the car with his mother heading to buy some things in the evening and then go to his grandfather’s house to spend the night. Suddenly, they were surrounded by civilian cars, who had been watching and tracking them. Mohamed was arrested by officers in civilian clothing from the Ministry of the Interior and intelligence services. He was handcuffed and put in a small car where there were other detained youths from other areas. A plain-clothes officer then returned, searched the car, and confiscated Mohamed’s telephone. When Mohamed’s mother asked him why and where they were taking him, he told her to the Central Investigation Department (CID) but did not say why.

After his arrest, Mohamed was transferred with the rest of the youth who were detained to a park near the Saar area, an unknown place where no one could see them. They were stripped naked, blindfolded, tortured, and beaten in sensitive areas to force them to confess. They were then transferred to the CID. Mohamed was not brought promptly before a judge. Afterwards, Mohamed was transferred to Jau Prison, building 15 (an NSA investigative building), where he was interrogated and tortured. He was blindfolded, stripped naked, beaten on sensitive areas with clubs and rods, electrocuted, and placed in a very cold room. Mohamed confessed after the daily torture, which lasted for hours throughout the week and during which he was not allowed to speak to his lawyer. He was given written confessions, which he signed without knowledge of their content. After confessing, he was transferred to the prosecution and then transferred to the Dry Dock detention center. Mohamed called his parents several days after his arrest. He sounded very tired and he did not know where he was, but told them he was in solitary confinement.

Mohamed was charged in multiple cases including joining a terrorist group whose purpose is disrupting the provisions of the Constitution and laws and preventing State institutions and public authorities from carrying out their activities; receiving the necessary funds to support them and finance their activities; receiving and storing explosives in separate locations within the Kingdom of Bahrain and using them for their activities with the aim of causing chaos and stirring up sedition; intentional arson by setting fire to an ATM room owned by the National Bank of Bahrain; collecting, giving and delivering funds and carrying out operations for the benefit of a terrorist group; and belonging to this group. On 3 November 2020, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison, a fine of one hundred thousand dinars, and an obligation to pay the value of the damages worth 51,400 dinars. On 11 April 2021, the Court of Appeal upheld the judgment. On 12 July 2021, the Court of Cassation upheld the judgment.

Mohamed is currently imprisoned at Dry Dock Detention Center, ward 17. He suffers from a blood disorder called thalassemia, as well as an allergy in the eye. Mohamed launched a humanitarian appeal through a call posted on social media to benefit from Law No. (4) of 2021, or the restorative justice law for children to protect them from abuse. His family submitted a request at the prosecution office to replace the sentence, and Mohamed’s name was registered, but they have not received any answer or action yet. His family also requested for Mohamed to continue his studies in prison. He was able to take his exams, but he is constantly being harassed with his friends while studying, and authorities only provide them with the books shortly before the exams. One time, when Mohamed asked an Egyptian monitor for a pen while he was taking an exam, the monitor began to provoke him, prompting Mohamed to leave the class and submit a blank exam paper, and any objection resulted in taking the detainee outside and beating him. His parents have submitted a new request for him to complete his studies, but to date no response has been received.Mohamed’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, the violations that he faced despite being a minor violate the Convention on the Rights of the Child. As such, Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) calls on the Bahraini authorities to immediately release Mohamed, 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.