Profile in Persecution: Sayed Adnan Majed Hashem

Updated: Sayed Adnan Majed Hashem was a 22-year-old worker at the Al-Manhal water factory when he was arrested in October 2018, for the fourth time, from a house in AlDair. During his detention, Sayed Adnan endured physical and psychological torture, forced disappearance, medical neglect, and denial of contact with his family and attorney. He was also subjected to an unfair trial based on confessions extracted under torture. Furthermore, he faced sectarian-based insults and medical negligence at the hands of the Bahraini authorities. Currently, he is held in Jau Prison, serving a sentence of nearly three decades on politically motivated charges.


Sayed Adnan was first arrested in 2014 as he returned from the Etehad AlReef Club Stadium in the Shahrakan area. He was with a group of players from the Abu Quwa team after their victory in the Youth Championship. They were on a bus, honking the horn in celebration of their victory when security forces stopped and arrested them, alleging their honking was illegal. Sayed Adnan’s second arrest occurred in mid-September 2015 while visiting his grandfather’s house in Al-Daih. On that day, amid political demonstrations, Sayed Adnan was chased and arrested by security forces. He was detained for around a month and a half before being released without any judgment being issued against him.

In 2016, Sayed Adnan was arrested for the third time when security forces and armed masked men affiliated with the Ministry of Interior stormed into his father’s house late at night, arresting him without presenting any arrest warrant or order from the Public Prosecution Office (PPO). Upon his arrest, Sayed Adnan was taken to the CID, where he was held for 12 days. On the twelfth day, he called his family, asking them to bring him clothes as he was being transferred to the Dry Dock Detention Center. Shortly after, he was released from prison on bail, awaiting trial. Following his release, as his case proceeded, Sayed Adnan was summoned multiple times, and his house was frequently raided, though he would not be present. Knowing he was wanted, Sayed Adnan did not attend his trial sessions out of fear of being arrested in court. During Sayed Adnan’s arrest in 2016, his father visited him and observed traces of torture on his face and other parts of his body. He informed Sayed Adnan’s lawyer about the matter, who filed a complaint requesting accountability for the policeman responsible for Sayed Adnan’s torture. However, Sayed Adnan was unable to attend his court sessions out of fear of being arrested, as he was being pursued by authorities.


Sayed Adnan’s latest arrest occurred on 30 October 2018 when officers in civilian clothing apprehended him from a house in AlDair. He was subsequently taken to the investigations unit in Jau Prison and then to the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) building in Adliya. Sayed Adnan forcibly disappeared for 10 to 12 days as his family was unaware of his fate or whereabouts. They contacted the Ombudsman and the CID to inquire about Sayed Adnan but received no response. After 10 to 12 days, Sayed Adnan contacted them and informed them of his location.

During Sayed Adnan’s enforced disappearance, he was interrogated without legal representation both at the investigations unit in Jau Prison and at the CID in Adliya. There, armed masked officers in civilian clothing subjected him to psychological and physical torture to coerce false confessions. They threatened to harm one of his sisters and sexually assault her if he didn’t cooperate, and they insulted his religious sect and its symbols. Sayed Adnan was severely beaten on parts of his body that wouldn’t be visible, such as his stomach, back, and thighs, to conceal the injuries from his parents during visits. He was blindfolded, prevented from contacting his family, and coerced into making fabricated confessions under duress and torture.

Sayed Adnan suffers from severe knee pain due to shotgun bullet injuries sustained while he was chased by authorities after participating in a peaceful demonstration in 2014. Despite requesting medical attention, he has not been examined, and the prison administration has refused to provide him with pain relief cream.

Sayed Adnan faced numerous charges related to committing terrorist acts, including arson, negligent destruction, manufacturing explosives, illegal assembly, and rioting, involving nine cases. Between 2016 and 2020, he was sentenced to a total of 27 and a half years in prison and fined approximately 101,000 Bahraini Dinars. Throughout the interrogation and trial period, Sayed Adnan was denied access to his lawyer, and his confessions, obtained under torture, were used in court as evidence against him. Approximately a month and a half after his arrest, Sayed Adnan was transferred from the CID to Jau Prison following judgments issued against him in absentia.

Sayed Adnan was only able to meet his family over a month after his arrest. In mid-2019, communication with Sayed Adnan was abruptly cut off. His family learned from other inmates that he had been transferred to the CID building, where he remained for 14 days. One inmate reported seeing him in court and noticed signs of torture on his body. He later contacted Sayed Adnan’s family, explaining that the torture was aimed at extracting confessions related to the charges against him.

Update: On 26 March 2024, the administration at Jau Prison initiated pressure tactics on political prisoners to cease their sit-in protest against retaliatory policies that caused the death of medical neglect victim Husain Khalil Ebrahim on 25 March. This pressure was executed under directives from officers AbdulSalam AlAraifi, Hisham AlZayani, Nasser AbdulRahman AlKhalifa, and Ahmed AlEmadi. Retaliatory measures included severing communication with the outside world by suspending family visits and communications, blocking TV broadcasts, and confiscating newspapers.

On 8 May 2024, about 500 detainees, including Sayed Adnan, refused meals after the prison administration reduced the quantity of food in retaliation for their demands for improved food quality that meets health standards. The administration targeted buildings where detainees were protesting, excluding those housing criminal inmates, thereby depriving them of their primary food source after blocking their access to necessities from the prison store.


Sayed Adnan’s mother posted an audio message detailing some of the detainees’ hardships. Alongside reduced meals, political prisoners also endure shortages of food supplies, lack of clothing and footwear, and the absence of personal hygiene items they previously purchased with their monthly allowances sent by their families. She warned of the consequences of these measures, including the risk of epidemics and diseases due to the lack of cleaning supplies. She expressed concerns for her son’s health, who suffers from knee problems and skin diseases, having previously contracted scabies due to the poor conditions inside Jau Prison. Sayed Adnan’s mother reported that she contacted the Emergency Police Services and informed them of the violations against her son. They promised to take certain measures but to no avail. She also complained about the retaliation practiced by the prison administration against prisoners after families staged sit-in protests and sought support from human rights organizations for their children’s cases.

Sayed Adnan continues to endure deliberate medical neglect. Despite severe pain, he has been denied treatment for the injury he sustained in his knee when security forces used shotguns against peaceful protesters in 2014. He has been deprived of treatment, and appropriate medications have not been prescribed. Additionally, the prison administration has refused to provide pain relief medication for his excruciating pain.

Sayed Adnan’s family submitted several complaints to the National Institution for Human Rights (NIHR) and the Ombudsman regarding his torture and ill-treatment, but to no avail. They also lodged a complaint following the events of 17 April 2021 at Jau Prison, yet there was no follow-up by authorities. Sayed Adnan is also subjected to discrimination in prison based on his belonging to the Shia religious sect.

Sayed Adnan’s warrantless arrests, mental and physical torture, forced disappearance, solitary confinement, deprivation of contact with his family and lawyer, denial of a fair trial, religious discrimination, and medical neglect constitute violations of Bahrain’s obligations under international treaties, namely the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), 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.

Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) calls on the Bahraini authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Sayed Adnan. ADHRB also urges the Bahraini government to investigate allegations of arbitrary arrest, torture, forced disappearance, solitary confinement, medical neglect, denial of legal consultation, and religious discrimination, holding perpetrators accountable. ADHRB further calls for an immediate end to discriminatory policies against Sayed Adnan, including denying him communication with his family. ADHRB urges the Jau Prison administration to ensure the rights of all political prisoners, including providing adequate meals that adhere to health standards, as well as supplying personal hygiene essentials to prevent the spread of diseases and epidemics, holding it responsible for any deterioration in detainees’ conditions.