Bahrain dictatorship’s genital torture of teenager

Khalil Al-Saffar, before and after torture

From AhlulBayt news agency in Britain:

Bahraini boy stripped of his clothes & beaten on his genitals

October 4, 2015 – 9:57 AM

The European-Bahraini Organization for Human Rights (EBOHR) said that it received information stating that detainee Khalil Ibrahim Al-Saffar, who suffers from a cerebral laceration, is being tortured in the Criminal Investigation Department.

EBOHR explained in a statement issued on Wednesday (September 23, 2015) that “we received information about the torture detainee Khalil Al-Saffar is being subjected to in the Criminal Investigation Department. He was stripped of his clothes, beaten on his genitals, beaten by batons and plastic cables on his body parts until he fainted and was transferred to the Al-Qala’a hospital.”

The organization further stated that “Khalil was returned to the Criminal Investigation Department after that and was tortured more than once,” adding that “he is being tortured 3 times a day for more than an hour and a half. He is put inside a small cold room that causes him headaches.”

EBOHR published medical reports about Al-Saffar’s cerebral laceration. He underwent a bone grafting surgery on March 16, 2012 and needed another surgery on June 2012. He underwent a third surgery during which they put a plastic piece in his skull to replace the broken one.

Al-Saffar still suffers from bouts of cramps which require him to take medication continuously.

The organization expressed its deep concern about what Al-Saffar is being exposed to and demanded the United States, Britain, United Nations and international human rights organizations to pressure the Bahraini government into releasing him. Al-Saffar was arrested on September 15, 2015, after civilian forces backed by security forces raided his home in Bilad Al-Qadeem.

His family said that he was taken to the Interior Ministry bus after his home was searched and his mobile phone was confiscated. After his mother asked about the reason behind her son’s arrest, one of the civilians told the family that they will interrogate him for an hour and then release him. No one knows anything about him since more than 8 days ago.

Bahrain human rights violations update

This video says about itself:

Dr. Rula Al-Saffar: “Jaw Prison holds over 3000 detainees”

18 February 2014

Dr. Rula Al-Saffar also presented some powerful statistics and case studies, focusing more specifically on the conditions of political prisoners. She retold the stories of Talib Ali, a 15 year old with a 50 year conviction sentence, and Dr. Ali-Ekri, the only specialized paediatrics surgeon in Bahrain who is facing a 5 year sentence simply for treating patients of the uprising. Of the largest prison in Bahrain — Jaw prison — she described how the maximization of the prison’s 1600 people capacity is being overlooked to the extent where the prison now holds over 3000 detainees, with up to 12 inmates having to share cells built for 3-4 people.


A Bahraini doctor — tortured and imprisoned for treating patients — pleads to the US for help

Ali Al Ekri

Sep 29, 2015 @ 12:00 PM

JAW PRISON, Bahrain — I’m in prison in Bahrain, one of 20 medics sentenced to jail by a military court four years ago this month after we had treated injured protestors during the demonstrations for reform in early 2011.

We were tortured and forced to confess to crimes we hadn’t committed. I’m a consultant orthopedic pediatric surgeon. I trained in Ireland. I was operating on a child on March 17, 2011 when soldiers came to the theater to arrest me. It was a Thursday afternoon.

They took me to a military facility where I was beaten and tortured. I lost consciousness several times. I was sexually molested and forced to eat feces. After three weeks of being blindfolded and handcuffed I was forced to sign a confession I hadn’t even read, to crimes I hadn’t done. I wasn’t allowed to see a lawyer for any of that time.

Over 50 medics were arrested and tortured and 20 of us were given a mass trial in a military court. We were all found guilty on charges including ludicrous things like stockpiling weapons and trying to overthrow the government. The public prosecution claimed I was somehow the medics’ ringleader. Our verdicts were announced in September 2011.

I was originally given 15 years, later reduced to five years after an appeal in an unfair civilian court. The US-based organization Human Right First was in the appeals court and reported how the judge refused to hear evidence about my torture or the torture of my colleagues.

At the time the United States government said it was “deeply disturbed” about what had happened to us. The State Department had sent observers to our trials, and they saw for themselves how unfair the [hearings] were.

American officials can’t claim they didn’t know the truth about what happened to us. [The US government] knows no one in the Bahrain military has been brought to account for the torture.

The rest of the medics tried with me have now all been released from jail, but the prisons here are still full of political dissidents.

Prison life is hard. Jaw Prison, where I am, is horribly overcrowded already and more inmates are arriving every week and the unrest continues. In March mass disturbances broke out and many prisoners were attacked. With hundreds of others, I was forced to sleep outside in a tent for months afterwards. There are so many in jail here who aren’t allowed access to the medical treatment they need.

Sometimes it seems a long time to the end of my sentence. I’m losing the skills I need to do my job, to perform surgery on children. It’s not something you can just pick up easily again after not doing it for years. There are young patients who need my skills, and who want me to continue treating them.

The State Department says Bahrain has made “meaningful progress on human rights.” I can see all around me, every day, how wrong that is. I see hundreds of people who shouldn’t be in prison, many of them have been tortured, none of them given a fair trial.

Four years ago I treated injured protestors and told the media the truth about what was happening in Bahrain. I don’t regret doing my duty as a medic, but I’m disappointed Washington hasn’t done its duty in standing up for us.

Dr. Ali Al Ekri is a consultant surgeon who trained at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. He was among dozens of health professionals arrested in Bahrain in 2011. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison by Bahrain’s security court for alleged involvement in the country’s uprisings. The sentence was later reduced to 5 years.

On September 15, Jaafar Al-Hasabi, a Bahraini citizen granted asylum in the United Kingdom, filed a criminal complaint in Switzerland against Bahrain’s attorney general, Ali Bin Fadhul Al-Buainain. Al-Hasabi says he was held in incommunicado detention in Bahrain, where he was subjected to torture, including electric shocks. The complaint alleges that the Bahraini Public Prosecution Office, headed by Al-Buainain, authorized his detention twice, despite the United Nations’ expressed concerns: here.

A Bahraini public relations offensive has signed up for help from an organisation described as a ‘pro-Israel propaganda outfit’. The revelation is likely to prove controversial in Bahrain, which does not formally recognise Israel and where popular support for the Palestinian cause is very high. See more here.

Bahrain continues to repress dissidents as US dithers. Washington arms Gulf monarchy despite human rights violations: here.

Bahrain’s uprising: resistance and repression in the Gulf: here.

Innocent Guantanamo prisoner will be freed after thirteen years

This video from the USA is called Free at Last- Martin Luther King, Jr.

This music video is called PJ Harvey-Shaker Aamer.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Freedom at last

Saturday 26th September 2015

Shaker Aamer cleared for release after 13 years in Guantanamo

AFTER 13 years of unimaginable torment, torture and abuse, it was finally confirmed yesterday that the last Briton in Guantanamo Shaker Aamer is to be released.

Mr Aamer, who has been held without charge or trial and who has twice been cleared for release by the US authorities, continued to languish in the US gulag despite an international campaign to secure his freedom.

During this time he suffered lengthy periods in solitary confinement and almost daily beatings.

Hopes had initially been raised earlier this year following a cross-party parliamentary delegation to the US that Mr Aamer could be released in June, but as this deadline elapsed fears grew once more for his mental and physical well-being.

But the Foreign Office officially confirmed that he was to be returned to Britain to at long last be united with his wife and children, the youngest of whom he has never seen.

British resident Mr Aamer, 46, who is a Saudi national, was originally detained in Afghanistan in 2001.

He was sold to the US for a bounty and detained first in the infamous Bagram airbase detention facility before being transferred to Guantanamo.

His release is expected to take place once the 30-day notice period set by the US authorities has expired.

Mr Aamer’s lawyer and director of legal action charity Reprieve Clive Stafford Smith said: “This is great news, albeit about 13 years too late.

“But they only just gave notice to Congress, so that means that without robust intervention Shaker and his family have to wait until October 25 at the earliest for their reunion.

“The UK must demand President Obama that he should be on a plane tomorrow, so that Shaker’s family do not have to endure more of the agony of waiting, uncertain every time a phone rings.

“British politicians may bombasticate about our ‘robust and effective systems to deal with suspected terrorists,’ but Shaker is not and never has been a terrorist and has been cleared by the Americans themselves for eight years.

“I hope the authorities will understand that what he wants most is to be left alone with his family to start rebuilding his life.”

Jeremy Corbyn, who has long campaigned for Mr Aamer’s release, said he was “very pleased” to hear about Mr Aamer.

He said: “We must recognise the steadfastness of his family and the commitment of all those who joined this campaign, whether they lobbied their MPs or demonstrated on the streets outside Parliament against this clear injustice.

Save Shaker Aamer Campaign chair Joy Hurcombe, who has tirelessly campaigned for his release, told the Star: “Let’s hope the terrible ordeal for Shaker will finally come to an end. He has suffered so much gross injustice. We must now make sure that Shaker is able to have the time to recover from all his years of isolation and torture without too much media intrusion.”

Shaker Aamer family call on US not to delay freeing him from Guantánamo. Washington says Saudi translator, married to a Briton, will be released, but his lawyers and friends worry process may be dragged out for months: here.

Update: here.

Mohammed el Gharani, one of the youngest detainees in Guantánamo history, is sharing his story. (Read more here)

Torture for blogging in Bahrain

This video says about itself:

BBC: Bahraini blogger Ali Abdulemam ‘tortured’ in jail with Shia opposition

16 December 2010

Bahrain blogger ‘tortured‘ in jail with Shia opposition

By Bill Law

Crossing Continents, BBC News

“He’s a writer, he’s a journalist, he’s a blogger. Ali does not belong to any political party. He just writes his opinion.”

Jenan Al Oraibi’s dark eyes flash beneath her black hijab. She is speaking of her husband Ali Abdulemam, known as the Bahraini Blogger.

We are talking in the home of her friends in a village close to Manama, the capital city of this Gulf island kingdom, which projects itself as an Arab state that is open to investment, progressive about change and moving confidently toward democracy.

“Ali has a free pen. That is exactly his crime. He has a free pen,” she says bluntly.

Ali Abdulemam is 32 years old. He worked as an IT specialist for the Bahraini airline Gulf Air. In his spare time he blogged.

But he was sacked from the airline after he was arrested in September and accused of being part of a terror organisation.

He was charged with spreading false information and linked to a group of Bahraini oppositionists who had been arrested in August.

Terror charge

All of the men charged are Shia. Some are academics, one is a dentist, another a geologist, several are clerics.

Like Mr Abdulemam, they have frequently voiced their criticism of a government they consider undemocratic and discriminatory toward Shia, who are Bahrain’s majority population.

The ruling Al Khalifa family are Sunni Muslims.

The men were initially charged with plotting the overthrow of the government, but the charges were subsequently reduced to financing and leading a terror cell.

It’s not the first time that Ali Abdulemam has been in trouble with the government because of his blog. In 2005 he was briefly jailed.

On his release he continued his criticism of the Al Khalifa government on issues like the detention of opposition leaders, the treatment of prisoners in jail and the suppression of free speech.

But nothing prepared his wife Jenan for what happened on 4 September.

“He got a phone call from the public prosecutor’s office, asking him for a meeting. So he went.” And that, she says, is the last she saw or heard from her husband for four weeks.

We were not able to know anything about Ali, no phone calls, nothing.”

For several weeks after his arrest Mr Abdulemam, like the others, was denied access to lawyers and to his family.

His final blog before he was taken into custody was a call to support the detainees.

“The last thing he wrote was for those prisoners, defending them and now he is one of them,” his wife says.

“The 23 detainees are all victims. They are all good people who have good jobs in this society. They are all innocent. My husband is innocent.

“They warned them, ‘if you speak of any mistreatment, any torture, we will torture you even more’. But they are really brave, they are heroes, they decided to stand up and say exactly what happened to them.”

‘No mistreatment’

At the first hearing on 28 October, most of the defendants alleged that they were tortured in order to extract confessions, a charge the authorities deny.

In a written response to a request from the BBC to comment on the allegations, the government stated: “Standard procedures are applied fairly to all detainees in custody in line with the law. Their rights are being protected and no mistreatment has occurred.”

Saeed Boumedouha of Amnesty International attended the first hearing as an observer, and confirms that when given the opportunity to speak, most of the defendants said they were tortured.

“Amnesty International remains very concerned about these allegations and we are continuing to press for an independent investigation,” Mr Boumedouha said.

Jenan is the mother of nine-month-old twin girls and a five-year-old boy. Since her husband lost his job, she is the breadwinner. But she feels under threat too.

“During his interrogation, they threatened my husband that I would lose my job as well,” she says.

When we visited her we were closely followed by plain clothed security officers in unmarked cars.

I asked her if she was concerned about repercussions because she had agreed to talk to the BBC.

“Definitely I am worried,” she said. “I am worried for my children. I am worried for myself. But I will be more worried if I don’t do anything.”

The next hearing in the trial is set for 23 December.

Source: here.

From the Washington Post in the USA today:

“We were subjected to torture, but no proper investigation has been done.”

Ali Abdulemam is a Bahraini blogger who founded Bahrain Online, a pro-democracy news Web site. He was arrested in 2005 and again in 2010 for “spreading false information” and was tortured while in prison. He was released in 2011 but went into hiding when his house was raided. In 2013, he fled to the United Kingdom, where he writes about human rights for Bahrain Watch, Global Voices and Bahrain Centre for Human Rights.

King of Bahrain sends his torturing sons to Yemen war

This video from England says about itself:

Solicitor Sue Willman on case against Bahrain prince accused of torture

Sue Willman from Deighton Pierce Glynn Solicitors speaking at “Forced Disappearance and Torture in the UAE” on 5 November 2014 in London.

I rarely quote from Al Arabiya TV, which is full of propaganda for the absolute monarchy of Saudi Arabia.

However, today is an exception. So, from Al Arabiya:

Bahrain’s King: My sons will be sent to help coalition forces in Yemen

Monday, 7 September 2015

Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa announced late on Sunday that his sons, Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad and Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad, will soon be joining Saudi-led coalition operations in Yemen, according to a report carried by pan-Arab newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat.

Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad is widely known as ‘the torture prince‘ for his cruelty against Bahraini sports people and other civilian prisoners, as part of the regime’s efforts to drown pro-democracy aspirations of the Bahraini people in blood.

Among several other torturing Bahraini royals is the other torture prince now reportedly going to the Yemen war, Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad.

“My sons will be joining their brothers in the Arab coalition forces in Yemen as part of their national military duties,” Bahrain’s King reportedly said.

The announcement of Bahraini royalty joining forces in Yemen came after five Bahraini, ten Saudi and 45 UAE troops were killed by Houthi militias during operations in Yemen last week.

If the two Bahraini princes really will go off to the bloody war in Yemen, if the report is not just propaganda, then that will mean, for the moment, two torturers less in Bahrain.

However, chances of Yemeni prisoners of war and civilian prisoners being tortured will go up.

Very probably, the Bahraini princes will not go to the dangerous areas of the military front lines. Their chances of dying will be considerably less than those of the United Arab Emirates conscripts, sent to Yemen by the UAE regime as cannon fodder against their and their families wishes.

Bahraini security forces have arrested 10 children under 18 over the past two weeks and they are now in custody instead of their classrooms, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) was quoted by the Arabic-language Al-Ahed news website as saying on Monday. The new school year in Bahrain started on Sunday as more than 240 schoolchildren are deprived of education because of their detention by the ruling Al Khalifa regime, the human rights body said: here.

As longtime legislators who believe in the promotion of human rights and dignity, we are deeply disappointed by the U.S. State Department’s recent decision to resume arms sales to Bahrain. U.S. arms sales should never aid and abet the repression of peaceful protesters, and we are introducing legislation to roll back this misguided decision: here.

U.S.-made cluster munitions causing civilian deaths in Yemen: here.

21 September 2015. On Sunday, a Saudi-led coalition air strike ripped through a market in Sanaa, Yemen, killing 69 civilians and injuring dozens of others. People had been out shopping for Eid al-Adha, the annual Muslim Feast of Sacrifice, when the bombs fell. Photos posted on social media show corpses strewn amidst the rubble in the aftermath of the assault: here.