22/4/2009 Doubts about the Complicity of the Bahraini Authorities

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses deep concern regarding the Bahraini government's failure to address repeated humanitarian appeals regarding Bahraini citizens Abdullah Al-Nuaimi and Abdul-Rahim Al-Murbati, who are being held in solitary confinement, without trial, in Saudi Arabia.

Abdul-Rahim Al Murbati, a 47 year-old father of five children, has been imprisoned in Saudi Arabia for more than 6 years. According to his family, since his arrest on 16 June 2003, Al-Merbati has been languishing in inhumane conditions, held in a dark solitary cell, where he can barely extend his body to sleep. He is taken out and exposed to the sun once every week for no more than 10 minutes. Due to these severe circumstances, Al-Murbati is suffering from a deterioration to his health, as well as a significant loss of weight. He has experienced deterioration in his vision and ability to identify objects. Until now he has not been permitted to assign a lawyer to present his case before a court and no official charges have been brought against him. Abdullah Al-Nuaimi, a 26 year-old father of two who owns an electronics store was in the final stages of completing his Masters degree when he was detained. He was previously incarcerated at the US Guantanamo Bay prison with five other Bahraini citizens for several years. During his time at Guantanamo he was exposed to all kinds of torture by the American authorities, until he was released in 5 November 2005. After his return to Bahrain, Interior Ministry officials summoned him for questioning several times, and until recently, he was banned from travel. It is worth mentioning that Mr Al-Nuaimi was released from Guantanamo Bay prison after a local, regional and international campaign, in which the BCHR played a major role in working for the release of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and the secret prisons of the United States. The BCHR worked through coordinating with dozens of lawyers in the United States to defend Bahraini and other Arab detainees, and also through organized action with international organizations to put pressure on the American authorities to close down Guantanamo Bay prison. The Bahraini authorities were very slow to take action on behalf of the Bahraini detainees; however, the public pressure eventually precipitated action from the Bahraini government two years after the capture and detention of the Bahraini citizens. The Bahraini government had promised to help the Guantanamo returnees to return to their normal life through material and moral support, it has however reneged on its promises to provide rehabilitation, social and economical assistance, and thus far some returnees are still prohibited from work and cannot travel to seek a regular income due to their passports being held. Apart from routine and modest consular communications, the Bahraini authorities have not made any serious attempts to secure the release of the Bahraini prisoners in Saudi Arabia. No Bahraini official has raised this issue with the Saudi authorities, nor have they demanded from the Saudis that they cease the detention of Bahraini citizens in a way that violates International laws and standards. This is particularly disappointing, given that both countries are members of the UN Human Rights Council and seek to appear to be among countries that respect and promote the protection of human rights. Mr. Nabeel Rajab, president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, stated, “The arbitrary arrest of Bahraini citizens and their detention in solitary confinement in Saudi Arabia violates the simplest human rights and the standards of international law of human rights is a violation of the simplest international standards, conventions and covenants of human rights. The silence of the Bahraini authorities in all this time, and their failure to take any serious measures or making direct demands, or to address public outcry against the detention of Bahraini citizens raises our suspicion regarding the complicity of the Bahraini authorities with its ruling neighbor in Saudi Arabia in this detention. Are the Bahraini government outsourcing measures which it cannot implement itself, due to public pressure? This is a very serious question we would like to see answered with some positive action on behalf of the Bahraini detainees.”

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights demands the following: 1. The immediate release of the Bahraini citizens from Saudi prisons. 2. To provide all immediate guarantees for the detainees, such as allowing them to assign lawyers for themselves. 3. The Bahraini government should work to protect the rights of its citizens being held outside Bahrain.