Author Topic: Bahrain: 50 Shi’a activists sentenced amid torture allegations  (Read 2442 times)

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Offline anon1984

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September 30, 2013
Bahrain: 50 Shi’a activists sentenced amid torture allegations
Allegations the Bahraini authorities used electric shocks and other torture methods to extract confessions from members of a group of 50 Shi’a activists are just one factor making their trial and convictions unfair, Amnesty International said today.

A Bahraini court sentenced the 49 men and one woman, many in their absence, to up to 15 years’ imprisonment on Sunday, on charges related to their involvement in the opposition youth movement known as the 14 February Coalition. The predominantly Sunni Bahraini authorities have accused the Shi’a group of terrorism.

“It’s appalling what passes for ‘justice’ today in Bahrain. The authorities simply slap the label ‘terrorist’ on defendants, and then subject them to all manner of violations to end up with a ‘confession’,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International.

The torture allegations have not been investigated and were not considered by the court.

“The allegations that confessions were extracted under torture must be investigated promptly, thoroughly and independently, with those responsible brought to justice,” said Philip Luther.

The trial proceedings in the 14 February Coalition case fell far short of international standards, and resulted in all the defendants being convicted. They are appealing against the verdicts.

One of the defendants, ‘Abd ‘Ali Khair, was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment just for forwarding an email containing a statement by the 14 February Coalition.

His is a member of Al-Wefaq, a political association which does not condone the use of violence in any form.

“In a cruel irony, the same day dozens of activists were handed down hefty prison sentences for as little as forwarding an email, Bahrain’s High Criminal Court of Appeal reduced the sentences of two policemen to two years each for torturing a protester to death,” said Philip Luther.

Torture allegations

Naji Fateel, a board member of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights, was arrested on 2 May 2013 from his house in Bani-Jamra.

He was held incommunicado for two days. He alleges the authorities used electric shocks on sensitive parts of his body, kicked and punched him, and threatened him with rape.

During the first session of the trial on 11 July Naji Fateel took off his shirt in court to reveal evidence of torture on his back. He was convicted of setting up an illegal “terrorist” group which aims to suspend the constitution and harm national unity, among other things, and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Rihana al-Mussawi, another defendant, told the court that she had been forced to strip by security officers who threatened her with rape to make her “confess” to terrorism-related crimes. She received a five-year prison sentence.

Mohammad ‘Abdallah al-Singace was also allegedly tortured in detention and, as a result, he could hardly walk when he appeared before the court. His brother Dr ‘Abdeljalil al-Singace is a prisoner of conscience who is currently serving a life sentence in a Bahraini prison. Mohammad ‘Abdallah al-Singace was convicted of membership of an illegal “terrorist” group, among other charges, and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment.

Legal rights denied

Defendants were arrested without warrants. Some were violently removed from their homes after security forces reportedly smashed down their front doors.

Lawyers complained to the court that they were not allowed to visit their clients. The court refused to allow defence lawyers to bring in witnesses, and even some prosecution witnesses were reportedly not heard.

Some defendants, who were already serving prison sentences or were being held pending investigation in other cases, were brought before the court unaware that they faced new charges. They did not have lawyers present at this trial.

“The Bahraini authorities must either release the Shi’a activists or ensure that their appeal trials exclude the admission of evidence extracted under torture and fully conform to international fair trial standards,” said Philip Luther.

http://www.amnestyusa.org/news/news-item/bahrain-50-shi-a-activists-sentenced-amid-torture-allegations
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enrica

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Re: Bahrain: 50 Shi’a activists sentenced amid torture allegations
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2013, 09:22:54 AM »
There are so many doublestandard treatment for those favourited by the authorities instead of those penalied because they are uncomfortable that I'm having headache just reading this article: poor people!

enrica

  • Guest
Re: Bahrain: 50 Shi’a activists sentenced amid torture allegations
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2013, 10:23:58 AM »
Does this cable show more light on the issue, may be?

---

Bahraini Officials React To Torture Allegations


OriginEmbassy Manama (Bahrain)
Cable timeThu, 25 Feb 2010 11:49 UTC
ClassificationCONFIDENTIAL
Sourcehttp://wikileaks.org/cable/2010/02/10MANAMA99.html

---

Code: [Select]
C O N F I D E N T I A L MANAMA 000099
 
SIPDIS
 
STATE FOR NEA, DRL, INL
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/25/2020
TAGS: PGOV PHUM ASEC KISL BA
SUBJECT: BAHRAINI OFFICIALS REACT TO TORTURE ALLEGATIONS
 
REF: MANAMA 71
 
Classified By: Ambassador Adam Ereli for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
 
¶1. (C) Summary:  Emboffs told a senior interior ministry
official that the GOB should study carefully the Human Rights
Watch report on alleged torture in Bahrain, and should
consider an independent investigation.  The SecGen of an
independent Bahraini human rights watchdog questioned part of
the report publicly, and quickly stepped down when other
members of the group objected to his statement.  End summary.
 
¶2. (C) DCM met with MOI Undersecretary Brigadier Tariq Bin
Daineh on February 17 to discuss the allegations contained in
the Human Rights Watch report released in Bahrain the
previous week.  Poloff and RSO accompanied.  DCM noted the
Foreign Minister's measured public statement of February 9
(reftel) and urged the GOB to study the report carefully and
to respond in a manner that was credible to the USG and to
the international community.  He stressed that it would not
suffice to merely claim, as some (Sunni) MPs had, that the
HRW authors or their (Shia) associates in Bahrain had an
anti-government agenda.  The GOB, or even better an
independent investigation, had to address the allegations
forthrightly and transparently if the GOB hoped avoid damage
to its international reputation.
 
¶3. (C) Bin Daineh said the GOB was still considering its
response, but whatever the format, it would focus on the
facts of the report.  He then showed emboffs video shot by a
participant in the Jid Hafs rioting of December 2007 which
clearly showed the face of Naji Ali Hassan Fateel carrying a
rifle stolen from a burning police vehicle.  (Note:  Fateel
confessed to having taken the rifle, but later claimed to a
judge that he made the confession under duress.)  "Why would
we need to torture him," exclaimed Bin Daineh, "We can see
his face!"  The video also included disturbing footage of the
Pakistani man burned by Shia rioters in Ma'ameer in March,
¶2008.  (Note: The man later died and his alleged attackers
are on trial for murder.)
 
Prominent Activist Questions Part of Report
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
 
¶4. (C) Bin Daineh added that Abdulla Al Derazi, SecGen of the
independent Bahrain Human Rights Society, had investigated
the HRW report's charge against MOI officer Yousef Al-Arabi
and concluded it was inaccurate.  Al Derazi made a public
statement to this effect on February 9 (reftel).  The next
day, Derazi resigned from his post as BHRS' Secretary
General.  He told poloff that he "really got into hot water"
with other members of the organization and said that in
hindsight he should have consulted with members of the board
before speaking in the name of BHRS.  He noted that BHRS will
hold its annual election of officers in April, and he
expressed confidence that he would resume his previous post.
In the meantime, he continues to function as BHRS'
international liaison, and was traveling soon to human rights
conference in Geneva.
 
MFA:  MOI in the Lead
= = = = = = = = = = =
 
¶5. (C) On February 17, DCM made the same points to MFA
Director of Bilateral Affairs Dr. Dhafer Al Umran.  Al Umran
agreed that Bahrain needed to respond credibly, but said that
for the moment the Interior Ministry was taking the lead.
 
¶6. (C) Comment: Both the Foreign Minister (reftel) and senior
officials at MOI appear to understand that the HRW report
represents a significant challenge internationally and
domestically.
ERELI
Code: [Select]
Source/Full cable: http://wikileaks.org/cable/2010/02/10MANAMA99.html

enrica

  • Guest
Re: Bahrain: 50 Shi’a activists sentenced amid torture allegations
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2013, 10:40:07 AM »
The Human Right Watch 2010 report that has lead to the nowadays consequences:

Human Rights Watch Report On Torture In Bahrain


OriginEmbassy Manama (Bahrain)
Cable timeFri, 12 Feb 2010 10:22 UTC
ClassificationCONFIDENTIAL


---



Code: [Select]
C O N F I D E N T I A L MANAMA 000071
 
SIPDIS
 
STATE FOR NEA, DRL AND INL
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/12/2030
TAGS: PGOV PHUM BA
SUBJECT: HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH REPORT ON TORTURE IN BAHRAIN
 
REF: A. 08 MANAMA 471
     ¶B. 08 MANAMA 236
     ¶C. 09 MANAMA 220
     ¶D. 09 MANAMA 241
     ¶E. 09 MANAMA 587
 
Classified By: CDA Christopher Henzel for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
 
¶1. (SBU) Summary: A new Human Rights Watch report asserts
that torture has been "revived" as a component of
interrogations in Bahrain.  The report is based on mid-2009
interviews with 20 Shia former detainees.  Bahrain's Foreign
Minister announced the GOB will look into the allegations
and, if appropriate, take action against perpetrators.  An
independent Bahraini human rights NGO questioned an element
of the report, while Sunni columnists and MPs denounced it as
biased.  End summary.
 
¶2. (U) Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report entitled
"Torture Redux: the Revival of Physical Coercion during
Interrogations in Bahrain," at a February 8 press conference
in Manama.  The report and accompanying press release -- both
available at www.hrw.org -- assert that "since the end of
2007, officials have repeatedly resorted to torture" during
questioning of detainees.  The torture allegations are
largely based on interviews HRW conducted with 20 former
detainees in June 2009.  Ten of these were arrested during
and after riots in Jidhafs village in December 2007 (ref A);
three were arrested in connection with disturbances near
Karzakkan village in early 2008, during which a Pakistani
policeman was killed (ref B); and seven were arrested as part
of the National Day/Hujaira case (ref C).  All 20 detainees
were released following King Hamad's pardon in April 2009
(refs C and D).
 
¶3. (SBU) The former detainees were interviewed by Joe Stork,
deputy head of HRW's MENA division, and Joshua
Colangelo-Bryan of the New York office of Dorsey & Whitney
LLP.
 
¶4.  (SBU)  During Stork's June 2009 interviews, the former
detainees alleged that they had been suspended in painful
positions, beaten on the soles of their feet, subjected to
electrical shocks, and punched and slapped.  During the press
conference on February 8, Colangelo-Bryan claimed that this
mistreatment was carried out in such a way as to minimize
signs of physical abuse on the detainees' bodies.
Colangelo-Bryan also told media that government medical
records indicated that some of those who provided testimony
to HRW bore indications of torture.  (Note: The report itself
stresses that the doctors' annotations indicate that some of
the former detainees had bruises or joint irregularities that
"could have" been caused by suspending bodies off the ground.
 End note.)
 
¶5. (U) The HRW report notes that the MOI and NSA have French
and British advisors, and states that France and the U.K.
"may risk being implicated in prohibited practices."
 
BACK TO THE 90s?
= = = = = = = =
 
¶6. (C) At the February 8 press conference, Stork asserted
that the Government had reverted to practices it employed in
the 1990s.  He stressed that the overall rights situation had
improved since that time, but insisted that the HRW report's
allegations showed that torture is again being utilized
during questioning of suspects.  (Note: Bahrain experienced
significant upheaval during the 1990s, during which time a
number of Shia activists were exiled, imprisoned, and, in
some cases, activists and NGOs allege, tortured.  King
Hamad's reforms, beginning in 1999, paved the way for
integration of mainstream Shia parties, above all Wifaq, into
legal politics, including participation in the 2006
parliamentary elections, and an end to the most serious civil
disturbances.  However, Shia radicals, such as the Haq and
Wafa' movements, continue to denounce Shia who take part in
elections.  The radicals also inspire much of the
low-intensity street violence that regularly afflicts some
Shia villages, and has occasionally led to attacks on south
Asians.  End note.)
 
GOB MEASURED, SUNNIS SEETHE, SHIA ENCOURAGED
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
 
¶7. (U) Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa
led the official response, announcing February 9 that the
government will look into the HRW report's allegations, and
stated that if torture was found to have taken place, the
perpetrators would be referred to the appropriate
authorities.  Sunni columnists and members of parliament were
less measured.  In a typical reaction, MP Hassan Al Dossari,
a Sunni who describes himself as a secular liberal, lashed
out publicly at HRW because, he said, "it doesn't want
stability and security (for Bahrain)."
 
¶8. (C) Shia opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman of the Wifaq
party called on the GOB to heed HRW's recommendations.  Wifaq
MP Jasim Husain told poloff on February 11 that he is
encouraged by the Foreign Minister's statement and hoped that
the report would help promote transparency.  He expressed
confidence in the Interior Minister, saying, "We (Wifaq) know
that Sheikh Rashid is committed to cleaning up MOI."  Husain
said Shia radicals' role in the sourcing of the report opened
HRW to "legitimate criticism," but added that he thought the
report would likely have an overall positive effect.
 
¶9. (SBU) Stork told poloff that during a meeting with the
Shaikh Rashid and his senior MOI advisors, the Minister did
not specifically deny the allegations but assured Stork that
such torture was illegal in Bahrain and not tolerated by the
GOB.  Sheikh Rashid and his advisors however took issue with
the HRW report's naming of certain MOI and Bahrain National
Security Agency (BNSA) officers, stating that three of the
five mentioned in the report worked in sections which did not
engage in questioning of detainees.
 
INDEPENDENT HUMAN RIGHTS NGO WEIGHS IN
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
 
¶10.  (U) On February 9, Abdulla Al Derazi, head of the
independent Bahrain Human Rights Society (BHRS) -- which
offered advice to HRW and at whose office the February 8 HRW
press conference took place -- told reporters that BHRS had
carried out its own investigation, and based on that, he
believed that some of the officers implicated in the HRW
report had nothing to do with the alleged torture.
 
OTHER CRITICS CLAIM SOURCING LED TO BIAS
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
 
¶11. (C) Critics complained in the local press that Stork and
Colangelo-Bryan relied on the assistance of a narrow group of
Bahraini activists who are leaders of, or closely affiliated
with Shia radical groups that have a record of inaccurate
claims.  Several activists from these groups are listed in
the HRW report's acknowledgments, and include senior Haq
leader Abduljalil Al Singace and Haq ally Nabeel Rajab of the
Bahrain Center for Human Rights, who is also on HRW's MENA
advisory panel.  Stork was open with poloff about his 15-year
friendship with Rajab, and Colangelo-Bryan stressed his five
years of collaboration with Rajab in his opening statement at
the February 8 press conference.  The report's allegations
include testimony from Al Singace's brother, Muhammad, as
well as Yassin Mushaima, cousin of Haq secretary-general
Hassan Mushaima.
 
¶12. (SBU) Critics also contend that the tone and content of
the report indicate sympathy for Shia radicals' points of
view.  For example, the report's account of the death of the
police officer in the April 2008 Karzakan riots weakly
refutes the notion that the rioters caused his death: "A
plainclothes Pakistani officer with the NSA, Majod Asghar
Ali, died, although apparently not as a result of being
trapped in the burning vehicle, as authorities claimed."
HRW's assertion that Majod Asghar Ali was an officer of the
Bahrain National Security Agency (BNSA) also belies an
over-reliance on Haq's politically tinged account of that
event.  Rajab, Al Singace, and other Haqis have claimed that
the victim was employed by the BNSA.  However, employment
records produced during the trial made it clear that the dead
man was an MOI officer.
 
COMMENT
= = = =
 
¶13. (C) The Bahraini government's commitment to look into the
allegations is welcome.  Post will urge the GOB to conduct an
inquiry that is timely and credible.
HENZEL

Source/Full cable: http://wikileaks.org/cable/2010/02/10MANAMA71.html

enrica

  • Guest
Re: Bahrain: 50 Shi’a activists sentenced amid torture allegations
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2013, 11:03:38 AM »
... I don't want to sound like a cospiracy theorist, but here, given the recent events: 50 Shia people have been summary sentenced, and reading the cables on the human right "watchdog" (so human rights watch is mentioned in one of the cable I just posted) report that lead to this... And seeing the doublestandards threatment of the people and the fear a Sunni coalition was trying to get rid of the Shias in Bahraini politics... I now have a very very bad feeling.

I heard Julian Assange's comments on human rights watch used as a sort of US lead monitoring agency, and I also have found it actually used for this aim in many cables.

Now adding this to all the WikiLeaks documents reporting the past hostilities between Western countries and Shia-lead, or partially Shia-lead countries (Syria, Iran... and Bahrain), reporting US attempts to weaken Syria and Iran before the Syrian civil war and before the election of the moderate Rouhani in Iran...

Reading in the cables emerges that :
Code: [Select]
...Emboffs told a senior interior ministry
official that the GOB should study carefully the Human Rights
Watch report on alleged torture in Bahrain, and should
consider an independent investigation.  The SecGen of an
independent Bahraini human rights watchdog questioned part of
the report publicly, and quickly stepped down when other
members of the group objected to his statement...
Code: [Select]
...He stressed that it would not
suffice to merely claim, as some (Sunni) MPs had, that the
HRW authors or their (Shia) associates in Bahrain had an
anti-government agenda.  The GOB, or even better an
independent investigation, had to address the allegations
forthrightly and transparently if the GOB hoped avoid damage
to its international reputation...
Code: [Select]
...Bin Daineh said the GOB was still considering its
response, but whatever the format, it would focus on the
facts of the report.  He then showed emboffs video shot by a
participant in the Jid Hafs rioting of December 2007 which
clearly showed the face of Naji Ali Hassan Fateel carrying a
rifle stolen from a burning police vehicle.  (Note:  Fateel
confessed to having taken the rifle, but later claimed to a
judge that he made the confession under duress.)  "Why would
we need to torture him," exclaimed Bin Daineh, "We can see
his face!"  The video also included disturbing footage of the
Pakistani man burned by Shia rioters in Ma'ameer in March,
¶2008.  (Note: The man later died and his alleged attackers
are on trial for murder.)

Code: [Select]
...Bin Daineh added that Abdulla Al Derazi, SecGen of the
independent Bahrain Human Rights Society, had investigated
the HRW report's charge against MOI officer Yousef Al-Arabi
and concluded it was inaccurate...

So now basing my reasonment on the recent events and these old documents, I have no doubt that some Shia officials have tortured people, but I also have the very strong suspicion that there is an attempt to get rid of the Shia forces in Bahraini politics, coordinated between insiders + outsiders, because of certain political interests.
If we add that there have been US-Sunni allies attempts to destabilize all other Shia-lead countries in the Middle East my feeling about what has been happening becomes very very heavy.

This does NOT justify the torture of anyone in Bahrain.
I'm one of those posting in support of imprisoned activists like Nabeel Rajab for example, against the exasperate use of force and repression.
But if there is an attempt to transform another Shia regime in a Sunni regime, because of both foreign and insider interests, no thanks.

We need to study this issue very carefully.
I hope someonelse has his/her views to comment here.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2013, 11:10:23 AM by anon1984 »