Profile in Persecution: Mohamed Hasan Abdulla (AlRamel)

Updated: Mohamed Hasan Abdulla (AlRamel) was a 55-year-old carpenter when he was arrested on 3 November 2015 during a raid on his house. During his detention, he was tortured, sexually harassed, and threatened before being convicted of charges based on planted evidence. He is currently serving his life sentence in Jau Prison, isolated in Building 2 with criminal inmates convicted of drug offenses. Furthermore, the Jau Prison administration continues to refuse him life-saving treatment and doctor appointments for his medical condition, despite his numerous hunger strikes, the latest of which has been ongoing since 28 May 2024.

On 3 November 2015, masked officers in civilian clothing as well as riot police and Commandos forces in black cars raided Mohamed’s house at 1:00 A.M. and remained there until 8:00 A.M. Female officers were also present to question Mohamed’s sisters, wife, and mother. They searched the house, scattered the furniture and contents, confiscated and smashed his carpentry tools which he stored on the roof, and replaced them with bombs and weapons which they took photographs of to be used as evidence. Authorities did not state the reason for the arrest and did not present a warrant.

Afterward, he was taken to the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) and then to the Dry Dock Detention Center. While at the CID, Mohamed was beaten all over his body and between his ribs, sexually harassed, cursed, insulted, and hung on the stairs for a long period. CID officers also threatened to go after his mother and wife. He was deprived of sleep, using the bathroom, and was prevented from praying. Furthermore, he was placed in solitary and was denied treatment. Authorities tortured Mohamed in order to extract a confession to predetermined charges, and he eventually confessed in order to stop the torture. The investigation lasted for three months, during which he was kept in a cold room, and his lawyer was not allowed to attend. 

Mohamed’s family believes that the reason for the arrest is the fact that he has been wanted since the 1990s crisis, and he remained hidden until the round of releases. Mohamed then returned to his house and was living normally. With the beginning of the 2011 pro-democracy demonstrations and the presence of intelligence services in the village, the focus was on Mohamed and arbitrary arrests occurred, which eventually included him as well. Mohamed did not have adequate time and facilities to prepare for trial and was not able to challenge the evidence presented against him. 

Mohamed was sentenced to life imprisonment on 15 May 2018 for training and possession of weapons in a mass trial called “Zulfiqar Brigades”, where 115 of the 138 defendants, mostly doctors, engineers, and teachers, were convicted of terrorism-related charges. In addition, his citizenship was revoked but was later reinstated after a royal pardon was issued in April 2019. The Court of Appeal upheld his sentence as well as the sentence of all the defendants in this case on 28 January 2019, as did the Court of Cassation on 1 July 2019. After the issuance of the judgment, Mohamed was transferred to Jau Prison. 

On 14 October 2019, five UN Special Procedures offices sent an allegation letter to Bahrain regarding the trial of 20 Bahrainis in the so-called Zulfiqar Brigades, including Mohamed, following up on a communication sent on 5 November 2018 that included details of enforced disappearance and torture to coerce confessions and unfair trial practices, including refusal to contact a lawyer. The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) also issued an opinion on 30 April 2020 concerning the cases of 20 Bahraini citizens convicted of this case, including Mohamed. The WGAD determined that the imprisonment of these individuals is arbitrary, and requested the government of Bahrain to immediately and unconditionally release them, and ensure that they receive medical care. 

Mohamed was suffering from stomach problems before the arrest and his treatment required pills that his family would provide him while in detention. After his imprisonment, he was denied the pills. After his arrest and throughout five years, his condition deteriorated due to the lack of pills and denial of examinations by a specialist. Mohamed also developed new chronic diseases after arrest, including hypertension, urinary tract issues, weakened eyesight, back, nose, eye, and abdominal pain, bleeding, low blood sugar levels, vomiting bouts, and hyper allergy from Profen tablets.

His condition worsened until Mohamed, now 64 years old, reached the point of vomiting blood and was therefore transferred to Salmaniya Hospital, where he stayed from 16 November 2020 to 22 November 2020, and was still not presented before a specialist to diagnose his condition. He had two appointments to meet with a doctor on 8 December 2020 and 6 January 2021, which were canceled. On 10 February 2021, he was taken to Salmaniya Hospital due to the deterioration of his health and they prescribed him medication for a period of 6 months, but he has not received it yet. Moreover, he was put in medical isolation at the Dry Dock Detention Center.

While the family initially opted not to submit any complaint because they were afraid of retribution by the authorities, they submitted many complaints to the Ombudsman and the National Institution for Human Rights (NIHR) due to the deterioration of Mohamed’s health but did not receive any response. On 3 February 2021, the family went to the NIHR to review and obtain the complaint number of the complaint they filed for the Ombudsman, and no response was obtained either. ADHRB also filed several complaints to both institutions but to no avail. Though these institutions confirmed Mohamed’s health problems, they affirmed that he was receiving proper medical care. Despite the constant requests to the NIHR and Ombudsman, no actions have been taken.

On 22 April 2023, Mohamed was transferred by ambulance from his cell to the military hospital without the authorities informing his family, and his news was cut off for a week. Despite the family’s efforts to inquire about him in hospitals, they found no answers except for a call from one of his fellow inmates who informed them of these details. Afterward, he contacted his family and informed them that he had been unconscious for four days and that his health condition was very critical. Medications were prescribed for him, and he was promised that he would undergo hernia and spine surgeries soon.

On 31 May 2023 and 10 July 2023, Mohamed fainted following plummeting blood sugar levels while he was hunger-striking in protest against his deprivation of medical care. 

In September 2023, when Mohamed was transferred to the Military Hospital, he did not receive the adequate medical care promised by the Jau Prison administration and was deprived of an eye operation that was supposed to be performed on him. When he asked for proper treatment, the officers accompanying him tortured him inside the hospital and then transferred him to isolation amid his deteriorating health condition, in retaliation for demanding his rights. He indicated in a voice recording that he was subjected to ill-treatment, sectarian discrimination, and constant retaliation by officers Hisham AlZayani, Ahmed AlEmadi, Badr Al-Ruwaie, Ali Arad, Yousef AlQadi, and Abdulla Omar.

On 21 December 2023, Mohamed was denied a scheduled stomach surgery, despite informing the prison administration of it a week earlier. Consequently, he launched another hunger strike. In January 2024, he finally underwent the surgery; however, he was denied follow-up appointments and therefore experienced increased pain, persistent vomiting, and loss of the ability to eat. This prompted Mohamed to undergo another hunger strike on 19 January 2024. As a retaliatory measure, the Jau Prison administration deprived him of communication.

The policy of medical negligence continued by the Jau prison administration, which consistently denied him his medication and special meals that he requires, and refused to take him to his appointments. In addition, they have refused to fix his broken glasses and provide him with medication for his pelvic pain. As a result, Mohamed started several hunger strikes since the beginning of his detention to protest his worsening conditions and the denial of his repeated requests for appropriate treatments. Prison officers constantly promised to take him to his scheduled appointments with specialist doctors once he ended his strikes, but these were empty promises made to stop his strikes without providing him with the necessary medical care. 

Mohamed initiated his most recent hunger strike on 28 May 2024 after he was taken to a medical appointment at the Military Hospital on 23 May 2024. Instead of being returned to his cell following the appointment, he was isolated in Building 2 of Jau Prison, which houses criminal inmates convicted of drug offenses. He has been isolated in a cell that lacks living supplies and the most basic necessities, such as electricity and water, despite his dire health condition. On 6 June 2024, Mohamed spoke in a voice recording about the abuse, sectarian discrimination, and reprisals against him by officers Hamad AlDosari, Hisham AlZayani, Ahmed AlEmadi, Bader AlRuwai, Yusuf AlQadadi, and Abdulla Omar for demanding his right to medical care and adequate meals. He still suffers from hypertension, urinary tract issues, weakened eyesight, abdominal pain, bleeding, vomiting bouts, and low blood sugar levels, putting his life at risk.

Mohamed’s warrantless arrest, torture, unfair trial, religious discrimination, reprisal, communication cutoffs, isolation, and medical neglect constitute violations of the Bahraini constitution as well as Bahrain’s obligation under international treaties, namely the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), 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. 

Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) calls on the Bahraini authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Mohamed. ADHRB also urges the Bahraini government to investigate claims of arbitrary arrest, torture, religious discrimination, reprisal, isolation, and medical neglect, and hold the perpetrators accountable. At the very least, ADHRB advocates for a fair retrial for Mohamed, leading to his release. ADHRB further calls on the Bahraini government to compensate Mohamed for the violations he suffered, including chronic health problems and injuries resulting from torture. ADHRB warns of Mohamed’s deteriorating health condition resulting from years of dangerous medical neglect and urges the Jau Prison administration to urgently provide him with appropriate and necessary medical care, holding it responsible for any further deterioration in his health. Finally, ADHRB urges Bahraini authorities to end Mohamed’s isolation and transfer him to a building suitable for his health condition.