Bahrain dictatorship’s torture update

This video is called Systematic torture in Bahrain.

From Human Rights First in the USA:

Update on Bahraini Defender Naji Fattel’s Trial


By Diana Sayed

Human Rights Defenders Program

This week, a Bahraini court ruled in the case of the “February 14 Coalition” in which 50 individuals were tried under the Kingdon’s terrorism law. Among those sentenced was human rights defender Naji Fateel, who was given 15 years in prison.

When he first appeared before the newly-established Fourth Criminal Court – a court led by the son of Bahrain’s head of parliament and that includes a member of the Kingdom’s royal family – Fateel took off his shirt to reveal evidence of torture on his back. It was a poignant moment in a trial that lacked basic due process during which claims of torture were summarily ignored.

Last month, on September 5, Fateel’s legal defense team submitted a letter requesting a change of court due to the court’s inherent conflict of interest and requested that a medical committee investigate the defendant’s allegations of torture. The defense team ultimately withdrew from the session based on Article 211 of the Criminal Procedure Law of Bahrain, a statute that says the defense team can refuse the judge’s ruling. Accordingly, the defendants issued a statement boycotting the trial for reasons that included the lack of an independent judiciary.

Human Rights First condemns the politically-motivated charges, sham trials, and continued judicial harassment against human rights defenders in Bahrain, including Fateel. He should not be sitting in a Bahraini prison. He should be released immediately and Bahrain refocus its attention on working to ensure that all trials fully conform to international fair trial standards.

Written by Mona Kareem:

My Friend is Getting Tortured for Blogging

Posted 3 October 2013 11:16 GMT

BREAKING UPDATE [October 2, 2013 10:26pm UTC]: Earlier today, Mohammed Hassan was released from prison. Close friends report that he is safe and at home with his family. We thank our friends and colleagues for their help and support in advocating for his release!

Since his arrest in late July, it has been hard for me and other bloggers to bring attention to the case of Mohammed Hassan (aka Safy) a Bahraini blogger detained by authorities for his online activities. In a country like Bahrain, the brutal regime has been successful in normalizing and silencing its crimes against those involved in the political struggle for freedom and equality. Doctors, journalists, human rights defenders, teachers, athletes, and protesters have been targeted in Bahrain with sanctions, surveillance, interrogations, arrests. Some have been tortured. Some have been killed. The horrors committed since the February 14 revolution (and years before) are too many to mention and the case of Safy is only one among many.

Many of you might not know Safy; he is not of the older generation of bloggers who enjoy much more visibility yet he is certainly from a generation that has been on the front line, facing high risks of arrest, torture, and perhaps being forgotten. Safy is a regular guy who has worked as an IT officer until he saw his friend get shot by riot police during the first weeks of the revolution. He could not be the ‘regular guy’ after this. After months of blogging anonymously, Safy decided to go with his real name and picture. He helped journalists move around, took them to villages where people breath tear gas more than oxygen, and spoke bluntly in front of the camera. He decided to join Global Voices despite the risks that face bloggers in Bahrain when contributing to a major international platform.

Safy is not alone in this struggle: Photographers Hussain Hubail and Qassim Zainaldeen were arrested in the same week, followed with the arrest of Safy’s own lawyer Abdulaziz Mousa who was accused of disclosing details of the interrogation without legal permission. Mousa stated before his arrest that Safy was beaten through the interrogation and has been charged “with being a member of the 14 February Media Network, calling for and participating in public demonstrations, inciting hatred against the government and being in contact with exiled members of the the Bahraini opposition.”

Safy was not allowed to sleep for four nights. They slapped him, punched him in the face, and kicked his stomach, shoulders, legs and back. In these four nights, he was handcuffed and not allowed to sit down. All this happens in a cold room like a freezing hell. Typical of Bahraini torturers, they insulted him all the time, called him a Shia traitor conspiring for Iran and a man with no honor. They threatened to rape him and rape his sisters. When Safy is freed, we will surely get to know more details of the nightmare he had to live in prison.

Last year, Safy appeared on Dan Rather’s report on Bahrain. When asked if he feared persecution for speaking openly against the regime, Safy replied, “I do not care anymore. My friends have been imprisoned. Some still in prison. Some in hiding and some are dead… at the end of the day if you don’t have your dignity, lots of things don’t really matter.” For this blogger, persecution is an expected result of his choice to resist the brutality of a dictatorship. His willingness to take the results should be a reason for us to make enough noise in his defense. In a country like Bahrain, free speech is a major crime in the eyes of the regime; this dictatorship is threatened by any effort that criminalizes its authoritarianism and violence.

Many bloggers have already shown support for Safy but many more are needed to fight for our imprisoned friend. We do not want Safy to be alone, we do not want to see death and torture normalized, we do not want to let it be believed that Bahrainis don’t matter, or that their bodies and souls are worthless. Thinking of Safy in prison getting beaten and tortured is enough of a reason for us to feel restless.

#FreeSafy Campaign

We urge readers to share this story widely. Use hashtag #FreeSafy and tweet links to this press release or recent reports by Bahrain Center for Human Rights. Use the campaign image above to highlight his case and read more about Safy and the campaign for his release below.

Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather interviewed Safy in 2012. See a clip from the news program here:

36 thoughts on “Bahrain dictatorship’s torture update

  1. Bahrain rifts widen amid arrests and trials

    October 2

    Associated Press

    MANAMA, Bahrain — When U.S. President Barack Obama mentioned Bahrain as one of the Middle East’s flashpoints of sectarian conflict, the Shiite-led opposition in the Gulf nation cheered and the kingdom’s Western-backed Sunni rulers went on the defensive.

    On Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, a Bahrain court sentenced 50 people to prison terms of between five and 15 years after a mass trial for people with alleged links to a militant cell. Bahrain’s Shiites, who compromise about 70 percent of the population, resumed their fight for greater political rights in February 2011 as the Arab Spring spread.

    Bahrain’s leadership said last week that the Arab Spring’s smallest showdown had threatened to divide the island but insisted that the rifts were healing after nearly 32 months of clashes and simmering unrest.

    The past days in Bahrain, however, suggest a different trajectory. A series of prison sentences — including a mass trial of 50 suspected backers of a militant cell — and the largest protest march in months all signal little progress toward reconciliation.

    Bahrain’s main Shiite party bailed out of talks with the government last month to protest the detention of a top opposition figure, Khalil al-Marzooq, a former deputy parliament speaker under investigation for allegedly encouraging anti-government violence.

    Now, opposition leaders seem to be digging in even more — including joining more than 10,000 marchers last week in a major show of unity by the country’s Shiite majority.

    “From a distance, the Bahrain conflict may look limited and isolated,” said Mustafa Alani, a political analyst at the Gulf Research Center in Geneva. “Look closer and you see the complexities.”

    That’s because it draws in the big three in Gulf strategic affairs: Saudi Arabia as the main protector of Bahrain’s ruling system, Iran as an offsite sympathizer of Bahrain’s Shiites, and the U.S. for its deep ties in the country, the home base for the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.

    Shiite Muslims, who comprise about 70 percent of Bahrain’s population, resumed their fight for greater political rights in February 2011 as the Arab Spring spread. They claim they face second-class status with practices such as reserving most top political and military posts for allies of Bahrain’s Sunni Muslim dynasty.

    Sunni leaders have made some concessions, including expanding the powers of the elected parliament. But crackdowns and clashes persist. As part of the highly charged rhetoric, authorities blame bombings and escalating violence on “terrorist” factions allegedly directed by Iran — although no firm evidence has yet to be produced.

    More than 65 people have died in the unrest, including some security forces. Shiite opposition leaders and rights groups place the toll closer to 100.

    Washington doesn’t want to cause any serious rifts in its relations with Bahrain’s monarchy. But U.S. officials haven’t remained silent on some issues, such as criticizing an edict last month that requires official permission for direct contact between political groups and foreign diplomats.

    In a U.N. speech last week, Obama referred to “sectarian tensions that continue to surface in places like Iraq, Syria and Bahrain.” That brought a swift response from Bahrain. Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa insisted “terrorist extremist groups” are trying to unravel centuries of Sunni-Shiite cooperation in his country.

    But efforts to stamp out militant factions appear to be driving apart both sides as well.

    On Sunday, a Bahrain court sentenced 50 people to prison terms of five to 15 years after a mass trial for alleged links to a group known as February 14 — named for the start of the current uprising in 2011 — that has been accused of deadly bombings and other attacks. Twenty of the defendants were convicted in absentia.

    The charges included trying to topple the ruling system and having links to Iran. Iran’s state-run IRIB radio reported that Bahrain’s rulers continue to “ignore the righteous demands of the Bahraini nation” with thousands arrested since early 2011.

    Such comments reinforce Gulf claims that Iran is guiding the protests in Bahrain. Iran has denied having any direct links to the unrest.

    On Monday, meanwhile, a Shiite religious chanter was sentenced to 15 months in prison on charges of calling for “illegal” protests. On the same day, an appeals court reduced from 10 years to two years the sentences against two policemen found guilty in the fatal torturing of a protester.

    “The government can’t convince the international community that its judicial proceedings are fair and open,” said Hadi al-Musawi, a senior figure in the opposition group Al Wefaq. “Reducing the sentences from the two policemen … shows clearly that the government is not serious about reconciliation.”


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