Ahmed Abdulla AlAjaimi, a 21-year-old Bahraini young man from Karranah City and a first-year student at Ahlia University, was arbitrarily arrested in 2017. He was subjected to torture, enforced disappearance, and insults based on religion. He is currently held in Jau Prison after being sentenced in 2018 to seven years imprisonment in an unfair trial. Ahmed’s health is dangerously and rapidly deteriorating amid deliberate and suspicious medical neglect subjected to him by the prison administration.
When he was a minor, Ahmed was repeatedly arrested in reprisal for his participation in peaceful protests and association with political opposition. His most recent arrest was on 1 November 2017, when he was apprehended from King Fahd Causeway by plainclothes officers, Riot Police officers, Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officers, and officers from the National Security Agency (NSA) – an intelligence agency separate from the Ministry of Interior (MoI).
Ahmed was subjected to forced disappearance until 13 November 2017, enduring relentless torture and interrogation by CID officers. He was blindfolded, handcuffed, kicked, slapped, and severely beaten. They used a plastic pipe known as a “hoop” to strike him, forced him to stand in dark or cold rooms for long periods, and insulted his Shia sect. Additionally, they threatened to use electric shocks against him to force him to sign a false confession and gave him an ultimatum to either work as an informant for them or endure further assault, and prevented him from communicating with his family.
The officers interrogated Ahmed at gunpoint with no legal counsel present to coerce a false confession from him. He was broken down physically and psychologically, and on the third attempt to extract a false confession, Ahmed agreed out of fear of repeated torture.
Ahmed was charged with three offenses: (1) joining a group established contrary to the provisions of the law; (2) training in the use of weapons to commit terrorist offenses; and (3) illegal gathering and rioting.
He did not receive proper time to prepare for trial, and while in detention he continued to be denied access to legal counsel or a lawyer. On 24 May 2018, he was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment with revocation of his Bahraini nationality, and he was unable to present relevant evidence or challenge any charges against him. On 27 November 2018, the Court of Appeal upheld the ruling. Ahmed appealed the decision of the Court of Appeal on 24 December 2018 before the Court of Cassation, which on 7 October 2019 canceled the nationality revocation penalty, rejecting the appeal otherwise and thus upholding the first ruling.
In December 2018, Ahmed’s family expressed their grave concern for his health and safety after he complained to them about his hunger with several prisoners since prison workers repeatedly stole their food despite its scarcity and poor quality.
In March 2021, the Jau Prison administration hid Ahmed by quarantining him after claiming that he had been in contact with prisoners infected with the Coronavirus at the central prison. However, it soon became apparent that this claim was being used for reprisal purposes, as the prison administration continued to hide him and deprived him of contacting his family, sunlight exposure, and regular use of the bathroom for four months.
In October 2021, Ahmed had to extract one of his teeth himself after four years of suffering from toothache due to the prison administration depriving him of the necessary healthcare throughout that period. While he was waiting to treat the pain in another tooth, he also had to extract it himself after the toothache later worsened due to denying him medical treatment.
In November 2021, activist Ebtisam AlSaegh published a voice recording of Ahmed conveying his suffering from medical negligence, as he was suffering from flu symptoms, most notably suffering from high body temperature and severe nosebleeds for three days, with the prison administration refusing to transfer him to the hospital.
Authorities forcibly disappeared Ahmed for a week between 28 September and 5 October 2022. This happened again between March and April 2023, when news of him was cut off, and he was denied the right to contact his family starting from 23 March 2023 for more than a week. On 18 August 2023, Ahmed indicated in a voice recording that spread on social media that he lost consciousness on 17 August due to being deprived of treatment for nervous spasms (epilepsy) – which he suffered after his arrest – for more than seven days, as a result of the clinic and prison administration’s negligence of his continued demands to receive treatment despite the seriousness of his health condition. Then, his fellow detainees in the cell knocked on the door, asking the police to open it to transfer him to the clinic for treatment, but the police officers ignored this and continued to deprive him of treatment. The prison administration punished Ahmed by transferring him to solitary confinement instead of transferring him to the hospital and punishing the officers, considering that he caused inconvenience to the police officers.
On 22 August 2023, a voice recording appeared from a detainee in Jau Prison talking about Ahmed’s continued deprivation of epilepsy medications, which led to him falling again on 21 August due to a seizure that he suffered at 2:30 a.m.
It should be noted that the cases of convulsions to which Ahmed is exposed may cause his death if they continue without quickly transferring him to the clinic and if the prison administration continues to refuse providing the medications to him at the time specified by the doctor.
Recently, on 18 October, Ahmed was urgently transferred to the hospital after a severe deterioration of his health, following his repeated suffering from nervous spasms and his repeated exposure to fainting due to the prison administration’s negligence of his health condition, with his mother confirming that he wasn’t suffering from any diseases before entering the prison. She stated that after his arrest he became ill with several diseases, some of which are chronic and serious. Consequently, his mother holds the MoI and the prison administration responsible for the health setback to which her son is exposed.
However, the prison administration didn’t allow Ahmed to receive appropriate treatment, as they prematurely discharged him from the hospital the day after his admission, despite his need to stay longer to receive proper treatment and rest. This had happened several times previously, as he was forced to leave the hospital the next day after his admission, despite having suffered seizures while waiting in the Salmaniya Hospital emergency room. There were instances when he experienced seizures while being transported from the hospital back to the prison, with the officers neglecting his condition, leaving him to grapple with these attacks unaided and without any medical assistance. On separate occasions, Ahmed requested to be taken back to prison while en route to the military hospital due to the torture and humiliation inflicted by the police officers responsible for his transport.
Ahmed’s health condition continues to get worse, and what is more dangerous is that this negligence has reached unprecedented levels, as the medication that is given to him after his release from Salmaniya Hospital is completely different from that given to him after his release from the military hospital, which poses a serious danger to his health.
Ahmed’s political and arbitrary detention, torture, insult to his Shia sect, enforced disappearance, unfair trial, and serious medical neglect of his deteriorating health are inconsistent with the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), to which Bahrain is a party. In addition, the Government of Bahrain violated the Convention on the Rights of the Child, of which it is a member, through the repeated arrests that Ahmed was subjected to when he was a minor.
Accordingly, Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) calls on Bahraini authorities to uphold its human rights obligations by immediately and unconditionally releasing Ahmed. It also calls on the Bahraini authorities to investigate claims of torture, ill-treatment, insult of his Shia sect, enforced disappearance, unfair trial, and medical negligence and to punish those responsible for these violations while offering compensation to the victim. Also, ADHRB raises an alarm concerning the Bahraini government’s persistent denial of necessary medical care for Ahmed despite the severe deterioration in his health. The organization urgently calls on the government to provide the essential medical care for Ahmed, warning against the slow death policy used as retribution against political prisoners. ADHRB warns of the potential for Ahmed’s health to further decline, which could tragically result in his death, echoing similar incidents where former detainees passed away shortly after their release due to the medical negligence they experienced while in prison.