“Terrorist network” first hearing – Trial Testimonies - 28th October, 2010
28 Oct 2010
The judge started by reading out the names of the detainees and the charges against them. All detainees pled not guilty to all charges, and alleged torture and that their confessions were coerced. The lawyer Hassan Radhi spoke on behalf of all lawyers and stated that the lawyers had not had access to their clients since their arrest and that according to Bahraini law this was a breach of their rights. Therefore he requested time to consult with the clients before the beginning of the trial. The judge granted them 30 minutes and ordered the courtroom be cleared of everyone except the lawyers and the detainees. 30 minutes later, everyone was brought back into the court room, the judge again read the names of the detainees and the charges against them, to which they pled not guilty. They also alleged that all confessions were coerced. As per the request of the lawyers, the detainees were allowed to make statements to the court.
1. Dr. Abduljalil Alsingace:
I was subjected to severe beatings since I was arrested on the 13th of August. I was beaten on my ears, my crutches were taken away and I was forced to stand for long periods of time in a basement under the National Security Apparatus building. They threatened to rape my wife, daughters and sister, and every night I heard the screams of others being tortured. One of the times, before they finished interrogating me, they opened the door so I could hear the others being tortured, and this went on every night after midnight and until sunrise. They forbid me from using my prescription glasses for 9 weeks, I was not allowed to take my medications and I was suspended from my job. I want guarantee from the court that I will not be tortured again because on the night when I was taken to the public prosecution, where I denied all charges, they did not allow me to sleep after that. They forced me to stand until the next night, forbid me from using the bathroom and I was not allowed to pray until the second time I was taken to the public prosecution. They threatened me again that they would beat me if I did not do as told this time. One of the interrogators from the National Security blindfolded me and grabbed me from my neck, telling me I better not repeat what I did the night before. At the public prosecution I asked them to make a note of what I said several times, but they did not. They made me sign a statement I had not seen or read. That same night they took me to see a physician, and one of the interrogators hit me on the chest and told me that he will show me.
2. Alsheikh Mohammed Habib Almuqdad (Swedish citizen): The charges made against me are void, I did not partake a role in any terrorism, on the contrary, I am a victim of the terrorism being carried out against us. Since my arrest when I was taken to an underground prison, I have been severely tortured. They used electric shocks, my eyes were blindfolded and my hands tied behind my back. I was not allowed to sleep for the first 5-6 days. When I was allowed to pray or sleep they refused to remove the blindfold, to add to that the place was dark. I was made to stand for long periods and it exhausted me. I asked the officer to allow me to sleep for only an hour and he would reply not even a second. Whenever I would fall to the ground out of exhaustion they would beat me and tell me to stand again. I fell several times and fainted. I was beaten severely and hung, the torture marks are still on my body today. They used creams to hide the marks when I was taken to the public prosecution. At the public prosecution I told the public prosecutor about what I had been subjected to despite that I had been threatened by the National Security that they would torture me again. I mentioned that in front of the lawyer, and the public prosecutor saw the marks of torture on my body. After that they took me to see a physician, and he wrote a report but it was not compatible to the marks on my body. Due to the severity of the beatings on my head and ears, both my ear drums have torn. I was taken to the Bahrain Defense Force hospital, where Dr. Amal told me that I had torn both ear drums. Some nights I bled on the pillow due to the severity of the beatings as well as the electric shocks. That and the insults I received drove me to agree to sign a confession at the National Security. They showed me the confession and I tried to read it but they did not allow it and they forced me to sign. I signed not knowing what was in the confession. I am still in solitary confinement. They accused me of funding terrorism. I am prepared to spend the rest of my life in prison if they are able to prove that I spend a single penny according to what they have said. They told me I had paid Alsingace and I said no. They tortured me so I said write what you want. They wanted me to say an amount so I asked what Alsingace had said. They told me 2000 dinars, so I told them to write 2000 dinars. I am completely positive and sure of my innocence, and a victim of terrorism.
3. Alshaikh Saeed Alnuri: I was kidnapped because I cannot call what happened an arrest. They took me to the intelligence agency and immediately hit me on my turban and head. I was forced to stand for two days and this was during Ramadhan until sunset (time of breaking the fast). I was blindfolded the whole time, even at the time of ablution and prayer they refused to remove my blindfold. The interrogator cursed at me and insulted me during the interrogations, while being blindfolded, and he would threaten to take my clothes off as he said he would like to see me naked. As a cleric this to me was worse than the physical torture and beatings. I was tortured and beaten on my hands, legs and face. I was hung in the falaqa way and they beat me on the soles of my feet until they turned blue. They then used cream to hide the marks but they are still visible. I was given electric shocks and I was forced to sign anything they asked, especially documents concerning the funding charge; as I told them that I had funded some boys to carry out acts of violence. I do not know what kind of oath you take here, but as a cleric I swear by the God of the heavens and earth that I never paid anyone a single penny to burn or any kind of similar act. At the public prosecution I told the public prosecutor that I had been beaten and seen a physician but he ignored the marks on my body. Finally, I ask that I be removed from solitary confinement and I want a guarantee from this court that I will not be tortured again.
4. Dr. Mohammed Saeed Alsahlawi (Board member of Bahrain Center for Human Rights): Directly after my arrest they stripped me of all my clothes and told me to kneel, and the interrogator told me that they could do anything they wanted to me, even rape. Then they made me stand, they blindfolded me and tied my hands. I was taken to an interrogation room and I do not know how many people were there. They threw me on the floor while I was completely naked and someone sat on top of me while another grabbed my legs. Then one of them started beating the soles of my feet using a hose. They then beat me with their fists and shoes on my ears and I fell to the floor several times due to the severe beating. My body was full of bruises. I asked the public prosecutor to see a physician, and when I did, the physician sat in his seat and did not do a checkup. Being a doctor myself, I told him that there were certain things he needed to do like take an x-ray and do tests so he said why did you not tell the interrogator that. He then asked me if I had torture marks on me.
5. Alshaikh Abdulhadi Almukhodher: Due to your request that I keep this brief, I was subjected to the same kind of torture mentioned by the other detainees for around 90 consecutive hours. I was hung in the falaqa position and forced to stand for consecutive hours. I was subjected to everything mentioned by Dr. Alsingace and Dr. Mohammed Saeed. They forced me to break my fast during Ramadhan, as I had to choose between dying due to torture or drinking the water. I request protection from this court because last night an officer from the National Security came to me and threatened to torture me again more severely than before if I deny the charges today or mention the torture. I also request you remove me from the solitary confinement and that I be allowed family visits.
6. Abdulghani Khanjar: I was in solitary confinement for 7 days since they first took me. They forced me to sit on a metal chair, when I stood up I had sharp pains in my back and joints. I sat on the chair despite that I have cartilage dislocation. I was subjected to torture and beating on my head and I lost consciousness. They took me to get treated for five days, and I was underground in a small room in the National Security Apparatus building.
7. Alshaikh Mirza AlMahroos:
I was beaten severely, and got beaten on my stomach which caused internal bleeding and I had to be taken to the Bahrain Defense Force hospital. The torture included keeping me blindfolded, keeping my hands tied and forcing me to stand for long periods of time.
8. Jaafar Alhasabi (British Citizen): I stayed for 23 days without sleeping. They allowed me to sit only during prayer times and when eating. I was subjected to severe torture and there are clear marks on my hands due to being hung in the falaqa way. They threatened to rape me. My only crime is that I live in Britain with Saeed Alshehabi.
9. Renowned Blogger Ali Abdulemam I was subjected to torture, beatings, insults and verbal abuse. They threatened to dismiss my wife and other family members from their jobs. I was interrogated in the prosecution without a lawyer, and the officer there who appeared to be from the National Security dismissed my denials to the allegations put against me. He never allowed me to respond to the questions he was asking, but rather answering them himself whilst I was stood behind the door as I was not permitted to sit during the investigation.
10. Sayed Aqeel Al-Sari I was subjected to all of the acts of torture which the previous defendants outlined, and they threatened to dismiss my wife from her job. Because of the severe torture I experiences, I am still receiving treatment at the Military Hospital to this day.
11. AlHurr Yousif I was subjected to all of the acts of torture which the previous defendants outlined, as well as being stripped off my clothes on a number of occasions and forced to sign the first statement which was brought to me. As for the second statement, I was forced to sign it without seeing it. In the Attorneys office, the prosecutor threatened to beat me if I did not sign the documents. The effects and signs of torture are still apparent on my body as I was hung from my feet. The prosecutor then asked me about the government services I was given, such as housing, and informed me that these would all be taken off me. They warned me last night not to mention in court today any of the torture acts that I was subjected to, such as being stripped naked and sexually assaulted by inserting a hose into my anus.
12. Ahmed Al Fardan I arrived to the prison without knowing where I was as my eyes were covered and I was handcuffed on our journey to the prison. I informed the officers that I suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes, and a slipped disc but they continued to beat me until I fell to the ground. They then warned me that I would be dismissed from my job, and have all my governmental services withdrawn including my house. I was kept in solitary confinement the whole time I was held, and when I had mentioned this to my lawyer Mohamed Al-Tajer when I met him in the prosecution, I was warned that I would be tortured again. When Mohamed A-Tajer had left, the police officer that was with me made a phone call to somebody who threatened to beat me, which became a reality later on that night. The officer then warned me not to denial the charges put against me, or bring up issues of torture in todays court hearing.
13. Ali Al Fardan The night before I was arrested, my brother Ahmed was arrested and I requested them to provide me with the request. Is this why I was arrested? I was arrested the next day from my bedroom, and I was subjected to the same kind of torture as the previous defendants.
14. Ahmed Malallah One of my finger nails was removed, and another removed in the hospital. The signs and effects of torture are still very clear. I was threatened in the bus on the way to the public prosecution, and after I signed the confession, they took me to the basement again and asked me about Mr. AbdulWahab Hussain after which I was taken somewhere else and tortured. Since my arrest this is the first time I see a lawyer.
15. Salman Naji: I was subjected to torture like the others (and he revealed his arms and legs to show marks of torture) I cannot move my legs until now, and whenever I ask to go to the hospital they say there is no need. I was threatened last time that I would be tortured again if I deny the charges. Finally I ask to see a physician.
16. AbdulAmir Alaradi: I was subjected to less torture than the rest because I have an injury in my cartilage and back and informed the officer. They beat me anyway which caused me to fall to the floor several times. For three days I was kept barefoot in the cell and bathroom. There was a strange incident in which they asked me what my job is and I said that I was supervisor for drilling in the Ministry of Agriculture. They told me to not even dream about going back to my job and that I will see the same as what happened in the Ministry of Electricity. I understood that he meant the situation of discrimination against Shia’s. I am surprised that in the interrogation and at the public prosecution they were not able to prove anything against me, but put me on the list of those accused anyway.
17. Hassan Alhaddad: I was subjected to the same torture mentioned by the others. In the beginning the treatment was so severe that I did not even get the chance to tell them that I was on medication for my colon. The beatings made my colon problem worse and I was taken to the Bahrain Defense Force hospital to get an appendectomy. I requested to call a lawyer but they refused and they interrogated me in the public prosecution without a lawyer. Last night they threatened to torture me again. The first statement I signed I did not see, but the second statement, I laughed when I read it and told them but I did not do any of this. They forced me to sign it after they called an officer who threatened to severely torture me. I am still in solitary confinement. My last family visit lasted for only a minute and they forbid us to meet with them, allowing me to only greet them; they did not even allow me to ask about the lawyer.
18. Mahmood Ramadhan: I was subjected to everything mentioned by the others.
19. Suhail Alshehabi: I was subjected to everything mentioned by the others.
20. Hussain Omran: Six years ago I had an operation done in my back due to cartilage dislocation and I got paralyzed in my leg. Six months ago I had another operation and I recovered completely. Now, due to the torture, I have severe pain and I think my condition has returned. I cannot be sure of that without an MRI, not through a physician in the prison.
21. Abdulhadi Alsaffar: I was tortured less than the others. They beat me on my feet and hung me in the falaqa way. I want a guarantee from the court (to not be tortured) and to be removed from solitary confinement.
22. Ahmed Jamsheer: I was not tortured and at the public prosecution I denied all charges against me.
23. Ebrahim Taher: I was subjected to torture and I am now in solitary confinement. In Ramadhan I did not fast or pray for 7 days due to the torture and interrogations. I was beaten on my legs and hands and sprayed with hot and cold water. I was given electric shocks and after denying all charges at the public prosecution I was tortured on the bus. I want a guarantee that I will not be tortured again and that I be removed from solitary confinement.
(24-Hassan Mushaima and 25-Saeed Alshihabi were absent – in London)
- The defense has provided the invalidity of the proceedings in front of the public prosecutor and the presiding judge, and ask that the investigation be done again according to article 176 from the law of legal procedure. - The defense request that the proceedings be halted until the detainees are taken to medical checkups by a specialized medical committee. - The defense request the release of all the detainees, and should this be denied then the defense requests that they be moved to a prison not belonging to the National Security Apparatus and to guarantee that they will not be tortured again. - The defense request that the lawyers be allowed visits to the detainees, as they have provided proof that they have not been allowed visitations despite the public prosecutors statements in the media. - The defense requests that they be given all the documents related to the case and that the families of the detainees be allowed visits.
An hour after the court was adjourned, the judge decided the following:
- That the detainees be moved to another prison under control of Interior Ministry instead of the National Security Apparatus. - That the lawyers be allowed to meet with the detainees. - That five of the detainees be allowed to see physicians. - That the next hearing will take place on the 11th of November, 2010. - To present the lawyers with the documents related to the case.
These testimonies and information was received from Laila Dashti, a Bahraini Human Rights Activist who was present at the court.