Some members of the Bahraini royal family beating & torturing political prisoners
Swedish Citizen tortured by Nasser Alkhalifa, son of King Hamad
16 August 2011
The BCHR expresses grave concern and is alarmed to learn that members of the Alkhalifa family have personally been involved in beating and torturing pro-democracy protesters. After the crackdown on the pro-democracy movement in Bahrain the Center has been receiving reports from victims that they were subjected to severe beatings and torture by people they identified as members of the Bahraini royal family. Five members of Alkhalifa have been specifically mentioned by victims, they are: Noura Bint Ebrahim Alkhalifa, Khalifa Bin Ahmed Alkhalifa, Khalifa Bin Abdulla Alkhalifa and sons of the King, Khaled Bin Hamad Alkhalifa and Nasser Bin Hamad Alkhalifa. One of the victims subjected to torture by Nasser Bin Hamad Alkhalifa is Swedish citizen, Mohammed Habeeb Al-Muqdad, currently imprisoned at Al-Gurain military prison.
The first victim to speak out was poet Ms Ayat Al-Qurmuzi, who was imprisoned for reading a couple of anti-government poems during the pearl roundabout peaceful protest. Ayat was arrested by masked civilians and blindfolded, after her release she spoke of being tortured by men and women. One of the women she claims tortured her was Noura Bint Ebrahim Alkhalifa. Ayat gave a detailed account of what she was subjected to on the hands of Noura. Among other things Ayat said Noura cursed her, spat on her, and slapped her many times across the face. Noura threatened Ayat that her tongue would be cut off, when Ayat refused to open her mouth, Noura hit her with a broom on her mouth. Noura also spat into Ayats mouth and used electric shocks on Ayats face. As Noura Alkhaifa tortured Ayat she repeated slurs against shias and said “the people you criticize are your masters, and they will remain in power forever, whether you like it or not”.
Another victim is doctor Fatima Hajji. On the 17th of April Noura Alkhalifa and 25 masked men attacked Dr. Fatimas flat in the village of Bani Jamra and arrested her. During interrogations Noora demanded that Fatima confess, when Fatima said she had done nothing but treat patients Noura replied “If you do not confess I will have to torture you the way I tortured Doctor Ali Al-Ekri.” She added that detainees Roula Al-Saffar and Ghassan Dhaif had already confessed.
Noura started slapping and cursing Fatima continuously for about 25 minutes. Then she used a hose to beat her on her feet. When Noura Alkhalifa looked through Dr. Fatimas blackberry and saw two emails, one to Human Rights Watch about her suspension and the other about Martyr Ahmed Shams she shouted at Dr. Fatima “How dare you ruin the image of our government”, then electrocuted her on her face. Fatima was told to confess that she had pretended to cry in front of foreign media, and that she had stolen 100 bags of blood from the blood bank and given it out to protesters to spill on themselves and pretend to be injured. She was forced to sign a confession after being threatened with rape. Fatima was also sexually harassed by men under the supervision of Noura. She was forced to stand on one leg, make animal noises, sing and dance.
Fatima Al-Bagali who is a student at the teaching college in University of Bahrain was arrested on the 9th of May 2011. She was blindfolded and taken to West Riffa detention center. Where Khalifa Bin Ahmed Alkhalifa The center director interrogated her about a speech she had given on Pearl Square, and about antigovernment comments she had made on facebook. Khalifa beat Fatima, slapping and kicking her as he said “You shia are ungrateful to your masters the Al-Khalifa”. In addition, some of the police officers threatened to rape Fatima if she dared to speak about what she had been subjected to.
Another victim also testified that he was interrogated by Khalifa Bin Ahmed AlKhalifa, who had a picture of the victim in a peaceful protest by the Ministry of Information. The victim says he was asked repeatedly about his participation in that protest, then was blindfolded, beaten and electrocuted on his genitals.
In another case, three of the activists arrested and sentenced for attempting to overthrow the regime also reported that they had been beaten by members of the royal family. The first, Abdulla Isa Al-Mahroos, said he was beaten by Nasser Bin hamad Alkhalifa, and that Nassar forced him to open his mouth then spat in his mouth. Al-Mahroos was also beaten by Head of the Security Apparatus Khalifa Bin Abdulla Alkhalifa. Who kicked him repeatedly in the stomach and ordered the prison guards to walk over his stomach which caused internal bleeding in the abdomen. Afterwhich Al-Mahroos was transferred to the military hospital where he had two surgeries.
The second is Swedish citizen Mohammed Habib Al-Muqdad, who was detained in an underground prison in the National Security Apparatus in the Fort. Al-Muqdad recalls that while being tortured suddenly everybody was silent. He heard his torturers say “your majesty” someone asked him “do you know who I am?” When Al-Muqdad said no, his blindfold was removed and the man infront of him said “I’m Prince Nasser Bin Hamad Al-Khalifa. When you protested outside our castle in Safriya, only a wall separated us”. Then Nasser asked Al-Muqdad what chants he had said that day at the protest. When Almuqdad said “Down Down Hamad” Nasser slapped Al-Muqdad who fell to the ground, then with the help of torturers beat him severely.
There is a wealth of evidence confirming that, at the very least, the government and the ruling establishment had knowledge and condoned the actions of the security forces. The most notable example of this is the actions and speeches of Nasser Al Khalifa , the son of the reigning monarch. In a public forum, on state television, Nasser Al Khalifa threatened retribution to all those involved in the protests regardless of their position in society and their profession. In a telling final statement, Nasser Al Khalifa noted that, as an island state, those involved in the protests in Bahrain had “nowhere to escape too”. If any doubt could be attributed to his unequivocal assertions, such doubt would be obliterated by the actions of the government and the personal actions of Nasser Al Khalifa. Within a few hours of this statement, the systematic targeting of athletes involved in the protests commenced. To compound this, Nasser himself became personally involved in the torture.
Mohammed Hassan Jawad (64 yrs old) was blindfolded and handcuffed when Nasser Bin Hamad asked him “do you know who I am, its Nasser with you” Then the son of the king started interrogating Mr. Jawad about the Safriya protest and accusing him of organizing the protest. To force him to confess, Nasser beat Mr. Jawad with a hose on his head until he fell to the ground. Then Nasser started kicking him mostly on his back, while swearing at shia clerics and imams.
Different victims beaten at tha Al-Safriya checkpoint (close to the palace of the king) gave their testimonies but asked we do not share their names out of fear for their safety. The first is a bus driver who was driving high school students when he was stopped under gun point by the Bahraini army at the checkpoint. He was shocked when Nasser Bin Hamad, son of the King, came wearing a military uniform and started beating him. The victim says Nasser never used his hands but kicked him, in sensitive areas, in his head and chest, and mostly on his face until he started bleeding. When soldiers told Nasser that they would beat him, Nasser replied “No leave him to me”. After severe beating the victim was arrested for two weeks until the marks on his body faded.
The second victim was stopped at the same checkpoint, where Khaled Bin Hamad, son of King Hamad, ordered him to get out of his car and lie down on the ground. Khaled ordered that the victims car and phone get searched. When an anti government message was found on his phone, Khaled started kicking the victim. The beating continued for two hours and a half, by Khaled and other soldiers with him, until the victims nose and mouth bled. The victim was then forced to kiss Khaleds shoes. While beating the victim Khaled asked him how many times he had been to Pearl Square and swore at shia, and their leaders. This victim was detained for 2 months with no charges or trial.
In the third case at Al-Safriya checkpoint, an older man with two sons were stopped. The older man was told to put his head down in respect to the “Sheikh” (member of royal family), his sons were dragged out of the car and thrown on the ground infront of Khaled Bin Hamad Alkhalifa. Khaled was wearing a military uniform, and started beating the two boys using his gun. Khaled asked the boys about a sticker on their car which read “Sunni and Shia are brothers” he made them read it out loud then said “We are not brothers, all shia are homosexuals.” The boys said they were beaten severely by Khaled and Saudi soldiers. When a Saudi soldier called the victims “dogs”, Khaled said “These are not dogs, they’re pigs. At least our dogs are loyal”.
These are a few of the reports brought to the BCHR about torture and mistreatment by members of the royal family. Many other victims came forward but were afraid they would be targeted if they spoke out and asked us not to include their accounts in our report. Putting members of the royal family in the positions of torturers and interrogators will only lead to more mistrust and anger towards the monarchy. The BCHR also observes that most of the victims tortured or beaten by members of the royal family, were subjected to insults directed towards one sect of the population.
The BCHR demands an investigation into the crimes of the five members of the the royal family mentioned in this report and that all those responsible for mistreating and torturing prisoners be brought to justice.