This video is called Systematic torture in Bahrain.
Bahraini teen activist faces up to 80 years in prison
Published Wednesday, June 19, 2013
A Bahraini court sentenced an 18-year-old opposition member, Akbar Ali al-Kishi, to 10 years in prison Wednesday over charges of blowing up gas cylinders, family and activists said, adding that the young activist faces several more decades of imprisonment.
Five others were accused of the same crime and were all handed down a ten-year sentence, Kishi’s father told Al-Akhbar, while one of them was tried in absentia.
“They didn’t allow [his mother and I] to be at the court hearing when they gave him the sentence,” he added.
The young activist has already been sentenced to two charges adding up to 16 years prior to Wednesday’s hearing, his father said, and will now have to serve a total of 26 years in prison.
He is currently imprisoned and is facing several other charges in court.
“If he is convicted of all the charges accused of him, he will be facing up to 80 years in prison,” Kishi said over a phone interview.
Bahraini authorities repeatedly tortured, beat and insulted Kishi on different occasions and one of the officers threatened to rape him, the Bahraini Center for Human Rights (BCHR) previously reported.
“A month and a half ago, they arrested him, tortured him and then forced him to sign a confession to the cylinder crime,” Kishi’s father said.
“We can only visit him in prison for half an hour, sometimes 10 minutes, and only after a strip search. We cannot bring him anything with us,” he added.
Kishi had been arrested in 2010, 2012, and 2013 and was avoiding arrest during 2011, Mortada al-Moqdad, an activist close to the case, told Al-Akhbar.
“This is only an act of revenge against people in the opposition group who did not back down,” Moqdad said.
Cases of beatings and torture in Bahraini jails in order to pressure inmates to sign confessions are regularly documented by human rights groups. In 2011, Bahrain security forces led a heavy-handed crackdown against an uprising critical of the ruling Khalifa dynasty.
However, the Gulf kingdom has seen intermittent protests since then.
In April, Bahrain cancelled the visit of the UN envoy on torture, Juan Mendez, for the second time, arousing suspicion.
“It is effectively a cancellation as no alternative dates were proposed nor is there a future road map to discuss,” Mendez said. “This postponement could be perceived as if there is something to hide.”
New laws and lengthy jail terms for activists have put freedom of association in Bahrain under severe threat, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Bahraini authorities have left hardly any space for peaceful political dissent. Through a mix of restrictive laws and abusive policies, the government is sending a clear message that it will not tolerate calls for reform that challenge the ruling family’s monopoly on power: here.
Bahrain: Concern over Human Rights Defenders Prosecuted and Sentenced to Prison: here.
Proposed reforms to discourage employers from confiscating workers’ passports could instead further restrict migrant workers rights. Though withholding workers’ passports is already illegal in Bahrain, employers justify this common practice by citing the need to prevent migrants from running away – to ‘protect their investments’ in the high recruitment costs of foreign workers (a relic of the sponsorship system, which remains intact in many ways despite its purported dismantlement in 2009): here.
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