Updated: AbdulAziz AbdulRedha Isa was a 23-year-old security guard when he was arrested without a warrant in 2011 after a raid. AbdulAziz was brutally tortured afterwards, which resulted in severe head and body injuries. After being unfairly convicted by the military court, AbdulAziz was transferred to Jau Prison, where he remains to carry out his sentence. On 19 August 2023, Abdulaziz announced his hunger strike in protest against the dire conditions and violations committed against political prisoners in Jau Prison, foremost among them being the medical neglect policy.
On 6 April 2011, masked officers in civilian clothing and Special Security forces arrested AbdulAziz from a house in A’ali. Officers did not state the reason for the arrest, nor was an arrest warrant presented. AbdulAziz had been previously arrested on 6 April 2009 and released on 23 February 2011 with the start of the pro-democracy demonstrations.
After his arrest, AbdulAziz was taken to AlQurain Prison where he was interrogated without the presence of his lawyer and tortured in order to extract confessions, then news on him was completely cut off from his family. Special Security Officers and soldiers beat him all over his body and severely hit his head, in addition to subjecting him to foot whipping and electric shocks. As a result of torture, he suffered a head injury that led to epilepsy, seizures, and back pain. The effects of the torture manifested as wounds and scars on his body when he met his family for the first time since his arrest and appearance in military court. Despite all of this, he did not confess to the charges against him.
AbdulAziz was unable to challenge the evidence presented against him, and he was not allowed to communicate with his lawyer. He also did not have sufficient time and facilities to prepare for the trial. AbdulAziz was convicted in the case of running over a police officer at Pearl Roundabout and was sentenced to death by the military court. However, the death penalty was reduced to life imprisonment after appeal.
While in prison, AbdulAziz has faced different forms of mistreatment, starting from being denied medical treatment for the swollen gland on his neck to being subjected to beatings and torture during the events in Jau Prison in 2015. He currently suffers from provocation from Jau Prison officers. Although his family has submitted many complaints requesting to improve his condition, they have not had any real outcome or response.
On 25 March 2021, Abdulaziz tested positive for the Coronavirus and informed his family of his infection in a phone call. He reported that the overcrowded cells lacked proper ventilation, and precautionary measures to prevent the virus from spreading among prisoners were not being implemented. . In addition, the cells were not cleaned and sterilized regularly. Since then, his parents have not received any updates concerning his state of health or whether he is given any medical treatment. The only information they received is that he was transferred to medical isolation in AlHidd Center. However, when his mother visited the center to check on him, she was told that he was not held there.
On 17 June 2022, riot forces led by officers Radwan Mohamed and Marwan Al-Khudairi stormed the cells of the detainees and hysterically sprayed them with pepper spray. They brutally assaulted the detainees by kicking and punching them, and by savagely using wielding batons. They also verbally abused them with insults and sectarian slurs. Afterward, Abdulaziz was transferred to solitary confinement, where he spent a whole week sleeping on an unprepared iron bed without basic amenities.
The violations did not stop there, as the case was brought to the High Criminal Court, where a summary trial lacking the most basic standards of legal justice took place. Detainees were not allowed to meet their defense lawyers, and all requests made by the lawyer were denied. Despite the unlawful trial, new charges were fabricated against Abdulaziz without any evidence or proof, and without the presentation of the recorded footage documenting the assault on the detainees. The court issued its new verdict on 29 August 2023, sentencing Abdulaziz to an additional three years in prison.
The treatment Abdulaziz has suffered at the hands of Bahraini authorities, from his arrest, torture, and mistreatment he endured during detention, to being deprived of prompt medical treatment, constitutes violations of the Bahraini constitution as well as international law, including the Convention Against Torture (CAT), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), all of which were ratified by Bahrain. As such, ADHRB calls upon Bahraini authorities to drop the preselected charges against AbdulAziz and to investigate claims of torture and inhumane treatment by AlQurain and Jau prison officers as well as army personnel in order to hold those officials accountable. Finally, ADHRB urges Bahraini authorities to provide AbdulAziz with the necessary medical care going forward, as well as allow him to regularly call his family in order to inform them of his whereabouts and wellbeing.