Bahrain: Arbitrarily Arrested and Reportedly Tortured for False Confessions, Yousif Ali Faces Ongoing Violations
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) is gravely concerned over the ongoing campaigns of arbitrary arrests carried out by the Bahraini authorities without a warrant or any legal basis, and especially in regards to the use of torture and threats as a policy to extract false confessions which is usually followed by the deprivation of adequate treatment during imprisonment despite the presented medical reports in some of cases. The BCHR recently documented the case of Yousif Ali Abdulla Yaqoob (31 years old) who was arbitrarily arrested on the 17th of August 2013 and charged with illegal gathering and rioting.
On Saturday, August 17, 2013 there was a call for sit-ins in several areas including Jidhafs. According to his family, Yousif Ali went to his sister’s house, which is only a few meters away from the site of the sit-in. After the demonstrators gathered, he tried to go out, his sister asked him not to, but he insisted on going out. When he went out the suppression of the sit-in had already started by the security forces who were chasing protesters. Yousif attempted to return home, but he got arrested. He was then taken to near the Jidhafs market area where he was verbally and physically abused. The verbal abuse was mainly directed towards Yousif being of the Shia sect. He was later taken to Al-Khamees Police Station.
When his brother heard about Yousif’s arrest, he went to Al-Khamees Police Station and the Exhibition Center Police Station, but both denied his presence. At 11:00 pm of the same day the brother received a call from Al-Khamees Police Station asking for Yousif's identification card. When the brother went and asked to meet him, they refused and informed him that the following day Sunday, August 18, he will be taken to the Public Prosecution. He was taken the following day without the presence of a lawyer. After a week, namely on Monday, August 26, his family received the first call from him telling them that the following day, Tuesday, August 27, there will be a visit and he asked to bring him some things and informed them that he is detained in Block 9 of Dry Docks Prison.
During the visit Yousif informed his brother that he was insulted verbally and beaten with fists and batons with a focus on his face and hands, and that when they informed him about the charges against him, he refused to confess at first, but after the torture he confessed.
On the second visit, his brother took the medicine his brother uses because he often suffer from influenza due to problems in his pharynx, but the Dry Dock prison administration refused to take the medication saying that the medication was old. The family attempted to take the medication again during the third visit, after they got the approval of the prison doctor. The brother added that his brother's situation is worsening, as he sounds discombobulated, and he is not interacting normally with the family during the visits. He also added that the prison administration is giving Yousif unknown medication that is causing partial loss of memory and causing him to say strange things, for example, during the last visit, he insisted that his sisters do not like him.
One of the released detainees who was staying with Yousif in the same prison block informed Yousif's brother that his condition is deteriorating as he rarely speaks to anyone, does not sleep well, and always sits alone. He added that especially during bedtime Yousif starts moving from one place to another, always complains of head pain and talks to himself.
On Thursday, September 19, 2013 the brother received a call informing him that Yousif was admitted to Salmaniya hospital due to his worsening condition, and when the brother went to see him, the hospital denied his presence. The family was later able to confirm that Yousif was in fact at the hospital despite the administration denying his presence. At 11:00 pm the brother was informed that he is back at Dry Dock Prison.
Based on the above, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) demands the following:
- Immediate and unconditional release of Yousif Ali Abdulla and all other political prisoners in Bahrain.
- Provide Yousif Ali and all other prisoners with adequate medical and psychological treatment.
- Put an end to the use of torture as a tool to extract false confessions, and allow the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture to visit Bahrain.
- End the culture of impunity practiced at the highest levels of government; and initiate accountability for those who have committed, ordered, or allowed human rights violations to occur; especially those in high positions.