Profile in Persecution: Faris Husain Salman

Updated – Faris Habib Husain, was an 18-year-old student when he was beaten and arrested without a warrant in a house raid. He was consequently tortured and subjected to fair trial violations. He is currently serving his 10-year sentence at Jau prison.

On 9 February 2021, Faris was summoned by a call to his father requesting that he be brought to the CID in Adliya. When they attended on the next day, his father was asked to sign papers without reading them and told that he and his son should go to the headquarters of the Supreme Criminal Court on the next day.

Faris and his family went to the court building on 11 February, and there, the court held its first session. Four charges were brought against him in connection with the February 2020 protests. Faris denied all the charges and was arrested on the same day then held for a month in Dry Dock Detention Center.

During his detention, Faris was subjected to several violations, including threats of raping his parents. He was interrogated and brought to the prosecution without the presence of his father or a lawyer. He was also threatened by a police officer that he would be re-arrested after he turned 18 in case he was released, as reprisal for his family filing a complaint against the police officer after he cut Faris’s hair without his consent and assaulted him. Due to the mobilization of activists and international human rights groups, Faris was released and was sentenced to 6 months of agricultural work as an alternative sentence on 11 March, on charges of illegal assembly, riots, possession of Molotov cocktails, and burning tires on 14 February 2020.

However, on 12 July 2021, the family received a summons for investigation from the 17th roundabout police station in Hamad Town, where Faris was interrogated regarding his participation in a demonstration. After an investigation that lasted hours, he was released.

On 26 November  2021, after Faris turned 18 years old, security forces, masked officers in civilian clothing, and an officer wearing official clothing without an emblem raided Faris’s house at 5 a.m. When his little brother opened the door, they entered suddenly and quickly, spreading around the house in great numbers. With the house surrounded from the outside in large numbers as well, officers entered all rooms despite the presence of his veiled mother. Officers searched the house and destroyed its contents. They entered Faris’s bedroom, woke him up straight away, and shackled him. His mother could hear the sounds of her son being beaten from behind his bedroom door but could not do anything. Faris was arrested without being presented with a warrant or a reason for his arrest, and the family was told he would be taken to the CID. Faris called on the same day at sunset for a few seconds saying that he was at the investigations and then directly hung up the phone. On the second day of his arrest, at approximately 2 a.m., riot police and officers in civilian clothing searched Faris’s house without presenting a search warrant.

At the CID, Faris was interrogated for a week and tortured by beating and intimidation, without the presence of his parents or lawyer. He did not mention the details to his mother for fear of her feelings. Furthermore, he was threatened that his family would be raped and with electric shocks. This was done in order to force Faris to confess to the charges against him, and he ended up signing a confession to having received funds and incitement. As a result of the torture, Faris suffers from chronic headaches and leg pain, so a doctor in the detention clinic has prescribed medication for him.

On 15 January 2023, during a mass trial with 20 other defendants in a case known as Al-Ashtar Brigades, Fares was sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined 100,000 dinars. He was charged with working for a terrorist group, receiving and transferring funds to support terrorist activities between 2020 and 2021. On 29 May 2023, the verdict was upheld by the Court of Appeal.

On 17 June 2023, six juvenile prisoners, including Fares, announced a hunger strike in protest against the lack of proper treatment for scabies, which they had contracted four months earlier. They were also deprived of visitation rights since their sentencing, and they were only transferred to the hospital once without receiving adequate treatment. As a result of the hunger strike, they experienced a drop in blood sugar levels, posing a risk to their health.

Bahraini authorities’ arbitrary detention and torture of Faris violate international law, including the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Bahrain is a party to. Additionally, the lack of medical care during his imprisonment violate the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, or the Nelson Mandela rules. As such, ADHRB calls upon Bahrain to uphold its human rights obligations by immediately and unconditionally releasing Faris,. ADHRB additionally urges the authorities to investigate claims of torture and ill–treatment by prison officials, to hold those officials accountable, and to provide Faris with adequate and timely medical treatment.