Profile in Persecution: Hasan Moosa Jaafar Ali

Updated: Hasan Moosa Jaafar Ali was a 16-year-old Bahraini student with learning disabilities when he was arrested for the first time without a warrant on 23 September 2013. During his detention, he endured torture, enforced disappearance, solitary confinement, denial of attorney access, isolation, reprisals, religious discrimination, and medical neglect. He was sentenced to a total of 32 years imprisonment through a series of unfair trials, including the “Bahraini Hezbollah” case. Hasan is currently imprisoned at Jau Prison. On 18 September 2020, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) adopted an opinion regarding nine Bahraini prisoners convicted in the “Bahraini Hezbollah” case, including Hasan, urging Bahrain to release them immediately and unconditionally and to provide them with compensation.

On 5 September 2012, officials raided Hasan’s family home in an attempt to arrest him, but he was not home at the time. Hasan’s mother asked the officers to see the arrest warrant, but they only said Hasan’s name was on a list of wanted fugitives and would not provide her with a warrant.

After being chased by the authorities for over a year, Hasan was arrested for the first time on 23 September 2013 while he was in a car with his cousin. The officers provided no arrest warrant or reason for the arrest.  The officers took Hasan to Samaheej police station, where he was forcibly disappeared and tortured by burning the soles of his feet and thighs and by beating him on his head, abdomen, and “sensitive areas.” As a result of the torture, Hasan developed burns on his feet and thighs, along with green bruises on his body. Two days after his arrest, Hasan was transferred to the AlHadd police station, where he was interrogated for a week without the presence of his lawyer. Officials then allowed him to contact his family for the first time. As a result of torture, Hasan was coerced into confessing to fabricated charges against him. Furthermore, he was not examined by a forensic pathologist following interrogations.

Hasan was not promptly brought before a judge, was unable to present evidence and challenge evidence presented against him, did not have adequate time and facilities to prepare for his trials, and was denied access to his lawyer during the trial period. Additionally, the confessions extracted from him under torture were used as evidence against him. On an unknown date, Hasan was charged with illegal assembly and arson. The Bahraini court sentenced him to a total of nine and a half years in prison and a fine of 200 Bahraini dinars. After his conviction, Hasan was transferred to Jau Prison. Hasan appealed his rulings, however, the Court of Appeals rejected all the appeals and upheld the verdicts.

On 10 March 2015, a prison protest broke out when a family was denied access to visit a prisoner. In retribution, at approximately 10:00 P.M., a group of prison guards attacked a group of detainees, including Hasan. The officers tortured Hasan and the other detainees, beating them with batons until they were unable to move. They threw the detainees to the floor, jumped on their bodies, forcibly cut their hair, and refused to give them access to a bathroom. Hasan was also beaten on the head, causing a deep injury. In May 2015, officials transferred him to the New Dry Dock Prison, the section of Jau Prison reserved for inmates under the age of 21.

On 3 June 2016, approximately three years after his arrest, Hasan escaped with some prisoners from the New Dry Dock Prison. On the same day, plainclothes officers and riot police officers raided his home while searching for him. The officers returned several times in search of Hasan, but he remained in hiding for approximately two years.

On 23 January 2018, officers in plain clothing forcibly entered Hasan’s grandfather’s home, arrested Hasan, and took him to the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID), where he was subjected to enforced disappearance for two days. He was charged with prison break, hiding from arrest, and for his alleged participation in the Bahraini Hezbollah case. The officers called Hasan’s family two days later to inform them of his arrest and to tell them that he was “fine.”

Officials interrogated Hasan at the CID for 45 days and tortured him to coerce a confession. Hasan did eventually confess to the charges against him, and his confession was used against him during his trial. His lawyer was not allowed to be present during his interrogation. After 45 days at the CID, Hasan was transferred to the “isolation building” of Jau Prison.

The Bahraini court sentenced him to an additional 23 years in prison, a fine of 100,000 Bahraini dinars, and revoked his citizenship, resulting in a total sentence of 32 years. One of the verdicts against him was issued during the “Bahraini Hezbollah” mass trial on 16 April 2019. Hasan was denied access to his attorney and did not have adequate time or facilities to prepare for his trial. The court rejected all of Hasan’s appeals and upheld his convictions. On 21 April 2019, Hasan’s nationality was restored by royal order.

On 21 April 2019, Hasan stated in a voice recording shared on social media that he was isolated from other prisoners, prohibited from interacting with them, and deprived of basic rights such as medical care and religious rituals. He mentioned that he had not met with any prison administrative officials, and his requests to do so were consistently denied.

On 15 August 2019, Hasan joined other detainees at the “isolation building” in a hunger strike to protest poor prison conditions. They demanded to be moved from the isolation building and placed with other prisoners, allowed to practice their religious rituals, and have the restrictions on their phone calls and outdoor time removed. They also protested against constant surveillance of their movements, conversations, and personal belongings by prison officers. The strike continued until the first week of September when the prison administration promised to fulfill their demands. However, after the strike ended, the administration refused to keep its promises, leading the prisoners to resume the strike. In response, prison officers tied Hasan’s hands behind his back and forced him into his cell to prevent him from reciting Ashura’s eulogies with his fellow inmates in the corridor, threatening him with further sanctions if he attempted to recite these eulogies. The prison administration also denied him family visits and placed him in solitary confinement for a few days. Hasan remained in the isolation building of Jau Prison for three years before being moved to another building in 2021.

On 18 September 2020, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) adopted an opinion regarding nine Bahraini prisoners convicted in the “Bahraini Hezbollah” case, including Hasan, determining their detention to be arbitrary. The WGAD urged Bahrain to release them immediately and unconditionally and to provide them with compensation.

In September 2020, scabies spread among prisoners in Jau Prison due to a new inmate suffering from it, resulting in Hasan becoming infected. In August 2021, Hasan contracted COVID-19. Between 2015 and 2024, he has been repeatedly placed in solitary confinement. Throughout his detention, he has been repeatedly denied medical treatment for a knee injury, sinusitis, and a deviated septum, and has been denied three necessary nose surgeries for four years. Recently, in March 2024, an officer at Jau Prison prevented Hasan from attending a scheduled ENT appointment for his nose issues under the pretext of his “inappropriate hairstyle”, though his hairstyle complied with prison regulations. He has also been denied follow-up ophthalmology appointments. Hasan’s family has submitted numerous complaints to the Ombudsman, requesting medical care. Although the Ombudsman promised to follow up on the issue, no action has been taken, and the family has yet to receive a response. Additionally, traces of cigarette burns on the soles of Hasan’s feet, inflicted during the interrogation period, are still visible.

Hasan’s first warrantless arrest as a minor, torture, enforced disappearances, solitary confinement, denial of attorney access, unfair trials, isolation, reprisals, religious discrimination, and medical neglect all constitute clear violations of the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment (CAT), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the International 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), to which Bahrain is a party. 

As such, Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) calls on the Bahraini authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Hasan. ADHRB also urges the Bahraini government to investigate allegations of arbitrary arrest, torture, enforced disappearance, solitary confinement, denial of attorney access, isolation, reprisals, religious discrimination, and medical negligence, and to hold the perpetrators accountable. At the very least, ADHRB advocates for a fair retrial for Hasan, leading to his release. Additionally, it urges the Jau Prison administration to promptly provide appropriate healthcare for Hasan, holding it responsible for any further deterioration in his health condition.