Profile in Persecution: Mahmood AbdulJabbar Nooh

Updated: Mahmood AbdulJabbar Nooh was a 17-year-old minor when Bahraini authorities arrested him on 13 November 2019, after chasing him in the streets of AlKarranah Town without presenting any arrest warrant. During his detention, he was subjected to torture, electric shocks, and burning. He was interrogated without the presence of his lawyer and faced an unfair trial based on confessions extracted under torture. Additionally, he suffered from medical neglect. He is currently serving his sentence of 10 years in prison on politically motivated charges. He was transferred from the new Dry Dock Prison, designed for inmates under the age of 21, to Jau Prison after turning 21 years old.  


On 13 November 2019, Mahmood was arrested by plainclothes officers who pursued him in civilian vehicles. They approached him in the street without presenting an arrest warrant or notifying him of the reason for his arrest. Although he was allowed to contact his family the same night of his arrest, any sort of contact was cut off from 8:30 P.M. onward. Throughout this period, his family continued to search for him in various centers and hospitals, only discovering later that he was being held at the Criminal Investigation Directorate (CID) building.


At the CID, Mahmood was interrogated for around seven to nine days without the presence of a lawyer. Throughout the interrogation period, CID officers subjected Mahmood to torture in the form of electric shocks and burning, aiming to extract a confession from him. Despite having sustained injuries during the interrogation, Mahmood was denied treatment. The examining doctor asserted that the burn, located in a private area, was not a result of torture but rather occurred at the “crime scene” during Mahmood’s arrest. This explanation seems unrealistic, considering the absence of marks on any other part of his body. Mahmood’s coerced confession was subsequently used against him in court.


Following his interrogation, Mahmood was brought before the Public Prosecution Office (PPO), which subsequently ordered his detention for two months. He was then transferred to the Dry Dock Detention Center. It wasn’t until a week after he arrived at the detention center that he was finally permitted to meet his family for the first time since his arrest. Throughout the initial months of Mahmood’s detention, his parents were kept uninformed of the charges of which he was accused.


On 30 November 2020, the First High Criminal Court sentenced Mahmood to 10 years in prison, charging him with joining a terrorist cell. Despite the presentation of evidence in Mahmood’s defense, the court did not consider it.  Following unsuccessful appeals, both the Court of Appeal and the Court of Cassation upheld the judgment. Mahmood was then transferred to the New Dry Dock Prison to serve his sentence. Upon reaching the age of 21, he was later transferred to Jau Prison. 


Mahmood suffers from sickle cell anemia and G6PD deficiency, and experiences pain in his feet and bones. The intensity of the pain increases in cold and wet climates. On 15 May 2022, he initiated a hunger strike in protest against the medical negligence practiced by the prison administration. He has consistently been denied treatment and is only taken to the clinic to take painkillers to stop the strong pain without being offered further treatment. Although the prison authorities have scheduled appointments for Mahmood at Salmaniya Hospital to receive proper medical attention, he was not taken to these appointments. On 18 May 2022, the public prosecutor met with Mahmood and promised to respect his right to treatment and transfer him to the hospital. Based on those promises, he decided to end his hunger strike. On 9 June 2022, the Ministry of Health website revealed Mahmood’s infection with COVID-19 while incarcerated in Dry Dock Prison among other prisoners.


Mahmood is still suffering from severe pain and serious health complications since his arrest in 2019, as a result of the severe torture and brutal beatings he endured during ten days of interrogation. He was subjected to kicking, punching, and electric shocks all over his body, particularly in sensitive areas. These actions caused him intense pain, leaving him unable to urinate normally and experiencing blood in his stool. After enduring prolonged suffering and making repeated demands during his time in the Dry Dock Prison, Mahmood was taken to the prison clinic on several occasions. At one point, he was transferred to the AlQalaa clinic, where a forensic pathologist examined him. Despite informing the doctor of his suffering, Mahmood did not receive proper treatment or any medication. Mahmood’s suffering persists even after his transfer to Jau Prison, where he continues to experience medical neglect and a lack of proper diagnosis for his health condition.


On 19 January 2024, Mahmood experienced a health setback due to the policy of medical neglect. Consequently, he was transferred to the Jau Prison clinic. Facing challenges with the responsiveness of the clinic’s physician, Mahmood was urgently transferred to Salmaniya Medical Complex due to his deteriorating condition. X-ray images revealed that he had testicular torsion, requiring immediate surgery. The doctor asked him to inform his father due to his young age as he was only 21 years old, given the impact of this process on his life. Mahmood requested the police officers accompanying him to make a phone call to his father to obtain his opinion, because he was unaware of the seriousness of the surgery and its consequences and whether it would be beneficial for him or not. Also, he had no experience with surgeries and the healthcare system. However, Mahmood’s request was forcefully rejected by the police, compelling him to make the decision alone despite his young age and the impact of this surgery on his future life. Mahmood informed the doctor of his consent to undergo the surgery. Initially, the doctor hesitated to perform it because Mahmood was alone and needed his family’s presence during this period. However, due to the seriousness of his condition and the inability to delay the procedure, the surgery proceeded. As a result, Mahmood experienced psychological pressure during the surgery and his time at Salmaniya Medical Complex, as his family was unaware of his condition and the authorities refused to allow them to be informed about his deteriorating health.


Despite the necessity for accurate follow-up regarding his health condition, Mahmood continues to suffer from medical neglect. He remains unaware of any updates regarding his health status post-surgery and has not been provided with the necessary medications. Instead of providing a wheelchair to assist him in walking, considering his inability to move long distances, he was sometimes forced to move through either a food distribution cart or on a makeshift bed for sleeping.


Mahmood’s warrantless arrest on politically motivated charges, torture, and unfair trial constitute clear violations of the Convention against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), to which Bahrain is a party. Furthermore, the violations he endured as a minor contravene the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), to which Bahrain is also a party. 


As such, Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) calls on the Bahraini authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Mahmood. ADHRB also urges the Bahraini government to investigate the allegations of arbitrary arrest, torture, denial of access to legal counsel during the interrogation phase when he was a minor and medical neglect. ADHRB further advocates for the Bahraini government to provide compensation for the injuries he suffered due to torture and hold the perpetrators accountable. At the very least, ADHRB advocates for a fair retrial for him under the Restorative Justice Law for Children, leading to his release. Additionally, ADHRB urges the Jau Prison administration to immediately provide Mahmood with the necessary health care to address the injuries resulting from torture, holding it responsible for any additional deterioration in his health condition.