Fifteen years in Bahraini jail for blogging


This video from Bahrain says about itself:

No F1 in Bahrain

7 April 2012

DON’T DRIVE ON OUR BLOOD

85 deaths by security forces since February 2011, in which:

37 suffocation from tear gas
20 shot dead
17 tortured to death (in or out of police station)
10 by birdshot
4 ran over
2 stabbed

At least 7 reported deaths by torture in the prison since 14 Feb 2011, 3 of them after the BICI report.

Total number of people arrested since February 2011: est. 4000

Total number of current detainees est. 600

Total number of sentenced detainees 397 with sentence ranging from 6 to life. One of them on death row.

266 been arrested in 2012, which are all still detained.

2 human rights defenders still imprisoned:

Abdulhadi Alkhwaja (More than 60 days on hunger strike)
Naji Fateel

On average around 15 villages are daily tear gassed as collective punishment

Bahraini security forces continue to engage in the systematic torture of demonstrators in detention centers (formal and informal)

Latest death under torture was Mohamed Ibrahim Yaqoub, who died hours after his arrest on January 27 2012, He was beaten by 15-20 police officers, as reported by eyewitnesses, in the stomach and chest.

Children have been frequently been the target of security force reprisals

Estimated kidnaps are 250 cases

As of March 2012 1776 still remain dismissed

6 students still detained and sentenced by military court to 15 years.

From the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders:

Bahrain: Sentencing in appeal of Mr. Naji Fateel

New information

BHR 001 / 0614 / OBS 049

Sentencing / Arbitrary detention /

Judicial harassment / Impunity of acts of torture

Bahrain

June 5, 2014

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Bahrain.

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by the Gulf Centre for Human Rights about the sentencing in appeal of Mr. Naji Fateel, co-founder of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) and blogger, who monitored human rights violations committed during Bahrain’s uprising.

According to the information received, on May 29, 2014, the Court of Appeal headed by Judge Isa Al-Kaabi upheld a 15-year imprisonment sentence against Mr. Naji Fateel on charges of “establishing […] a group for the purpose of […] disabling the Constitution” under Article 6 of Law No. 58 of 2006 on Terrorism[1]. The charges relate to the alleged terrorist group known as the “February 14 Youth Coalition”, which organised demonstrations and protests during Bahrain’s uprising.

No evidence against Mr. Fateel was provided during the trial. The sentence was solely based on coerced confessions made under torture and without thoroughly and impartially investigating the allegations of torture which the defender was subjected to during his detention (see background information). During a hearing, Mr. Naji Fateel removed his shirt and showed the torture marks on his back; however, it was totally ignored by the court.

Mr. Naji Fateel will appeal the decision to the Court of Cassation. His lawyer also filed a complaint before the Supreme Judicial Council arguing that the trial proceedings fell short of the minimum standards of fair trial. Mr. Naji Fateel is currently detained [in] the Central Prison “Jaw” where reports continue to emerge of overcrowded cells and dire conditions.

The Observatory recalls that other BYSHR members are also subjected to ongoing judicial harassment, including Mr. Mohammed Al-Maskati, BYSHR President[2].

The Observatory condems the sentencing and arbitrary detention of Mr. Naji Fateel, which merely aim at curtailing his human rights activities, and calls upon the Bahraini authorities to release him immediately and unconditionally. The Observatory also notes that several human rights defenders remain in arbitrary detention or are subject to judicial harassment in the country.

Background information[3]:

On May 2, 2013, Mr. Naji Fateel was arrested at dawn without warrant by security men in civilian clothes at his home in the village of Bani-Jamra and held incommunicado for three days, during which time it is reported that he was severely tortured. He was allegedly subjected to severe torture at the Criminal Investigation Directorate. Reports allege that he was subjected to electrical shocks to his genitals, left foot and back in addition to simulated drowning, severe beatings, threats to publish his wife’s photographs (taken from a camera confiscated by the security forces when his house was raided), insults, hanging by his hands from the ceiling, sexual harassment and threats of rape, standing for hours, and sleep deprivation. He was taken to the Ministry of Interior hospital twice for treatment due to the torture. Mr. Naji Fateel was detained in Dry Dock Detention Centre.

On May 22, 2013, Mr. Naji Fateel was sentenced by the Manama Criminal Court to six months of imprisonment on charges of “attending illegal gatherings” in relation to a gathering organised on January 24, 2012 in Bani-Jamra in which he did not participate. He was charged in another case with the establishment of a group for the purpose of disabling the Constitution under Article 6 of the controversial Terrorism Act.

On September 29, 2013, Mr. Naji Fateel was sentenced by the Fourth Criminal Court to 15 years in prison for “the establishment of a group for the purpose of disabling the constitution” under Article 6 of the Terrorism Act. Mr. Naji Fateel was then moved to the Central Prison “Jaw”.

On November 18, 2013, when the appeal trial against Mr. Naji Fateel started, the authorities of Bahrain denied entry to a lawyer who was mandated by a coalition of NGOs, including the Observatory, to observe the appeal trial.

In February 2014, one of the lawyers in the case said that 90% of their questions to the prosecution witnesses were rejected by the judge, and a policeman forcefully silenced a lawyer during his pleadings. Another lawyer was thrown out of the court room although he represented five of the defendants in the case.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Bahrain urging them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Naji Fateel, all BYSHR members as well as all human rights defenders in Bahrain;

ii. Release Mr. Naji Fateel immediately and unconditionally as his detention is arbitrary since it only aims at sanctioning his human rights activities;

iii. Order an immediate, thorough, transparent investigation into the allegations of torture and ill-treatment against Mr. Naji Fateel, in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before an independent tribunal, and apply them the sanctions provided by the law;

iv. Put an end to all acts of harassment – including at the judicial level – against Messrs. Naji Fateel, all BYSHR members as well as all human rights defenders in Bahrain;

v. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, in particular its Article 1, which provides that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, Article 11, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to the lawful exercise of his or her occupation or profession”, Article 12(1) that provides “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to participate in peaceful activities against violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms”, as well as Article 12.2, which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually or in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;

vi. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Bahrain.

Addresses:

· Cheikh Hamad bin Issa AL KHALIFA, King of Bahrain, Fax: +973 176 64 587

· Cheikh Khaled Bin Ahmad AL KHALIFA, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tel: +973 172 27 555; fax: +973 172 12 6032

· Cheikh Khalid bin Ali AL KHALIFA, Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs, Tel: +973 175 31 333; fax: +973 175 31 284

· Permanent Mission of Bahrain to the United Nations in Geneva, 1 chemin Jacques-Attenville, 1218 Grand-Saconnex, CP 39, 1292 Chambésy, Switzerland. Fax: + 41 22 758 96 50. Email: info@bahrain-mission.ch

***

Paris-Geneva, June 5, 2014

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

· E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org

· Tel and fax FIDH: + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
Tel and fax OMCT: + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

[1] Article 6 provides that “life imprisonment shall be the penalty for everyone who forms, establishes, organizes or operates, contrary to the provisions of the law, a society, association, organization, group, gang or a branch of any of the above or undertakes the leadership or command thereof for the purpose of calling for obstructing the enforcement of the provisions of the Construction or the laws or preventing any of the government organizations or public authorities from carrying out their activities or infringes upon the citizen’s personal freedom or other freedoms or public rights secured by the Constitution, the law or undermines national unity if terrorism is one of the methods used in the realization or implementation of the purposes called for by the society, association, organization, group or gang or any of their branches”.

[2] See Observatory Urgent Appeal BHR 003 / 0613 / OBS 052.1, issued on October 31, 2013.

[3] See Joint Press Releases, June 21 and November 15, 2013.

Bahrain: 15 Year-Old Child Detained and Denied Education: here.

There are few authoritarian regimes that enjoy as much political support from the UK as the one in Bahrain. Bahraini opposition groups are threatening to boycott the upcoming parliamentary elections unless democracy can be guaranteed, but the UK has only increased its public support for the brutal and oppressive dictatorship: here.

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses serious concern in regards to the practice by the Public Prosecution in Bahrain in bringing new charges against detainees to avoid releasing them. In the most recent case, Mansoor AlJamri, 19 years old, had a new case brought against him yesterday, and according to information relayed to the BCHR by the family, the Public Prosecution ordered that he be detained for 60 days pending investigation under the internationally criticized Terrorism Law: here.

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9 thoughts on “Fifteen years in Bahraini jail for blogging

  1. Pingback: Bahraini political prisoners in danger | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Bahrain torture, day after day | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Bahraini arrested for tweeting, with help of British spyware | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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