Amnesty Int'l: US national gets 10 years after unfair trial
UA: 264/13 Index: MDE 11/044/2013 Bahrain Date: 25 September 2013
us national gets 10 years after unfair trial
Taqi ‘Abdallah al-Maydan, a 25 year-old US national, was sentenced on 24 September to 10 years’ imprisonment after unfair trial. He was reportedly tortured following his arrest in October 2012 and was forced to sign a “confession”. He was charged with “attempting to kill policemen”, “burning an armoured police vehicle” and “illegal gathering and rioting”.
Taqi ‘Abdallah al-Maydan was arrested from his home in al-Sanabis, west of Manama the capital, on 7 October 2012. According to the information available to Amnesty International, at around 2am a group of around seven or eight hooded and plain-clothed security men stormed the house where he was living with his parents. Taqi ‘Abdallah al-Maydan was sleeping with his two brothers in a room when the men entered the room after his mother told them where he was sleeping. They took him away without showing any arrest warrant or even revealing their own identities. He was taken to the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) in al-Qodhaibiya in Manama. There he was interrogated until late afternoon. The police wanted him to confess that he was part of a group that blocked the road by burning tyres and attacked a police patrol with Molotov cocktails on 5 October 2012 in al-Budaya’ Street in Manama. He was reportedly blindfolded and kicked and punched on different parts of his body for several hours. He reported being made to stand on one foot for a long period of time and being threatened with rape. The interrogators also allegedly threatened to rape his mother and sister. In the end they made him sign a “confession” which he could not read as he was blindfolded. His family went to several police stations to look for him but they were told he was not held there until a call on 8 October from Taqi Abdallah al-Maydan from the Dry Dock Prison.
During the trial before Branch 3 of the High Criminal Court which started in March 2013, Taqi ‘Abdallah al-Maydan denied any involvement in the attack on the police on 5 October 2012. He stated he was at home when the incident happened. He also denied any knowledge of or link with the other defendants, two of whom were also sentenced to 10 years imprisonment each after they admitted in court their culpability. His lawyer told Amnesty International there is no evidence criminal culpability on the part of Taqi ‘Abdallah al-Maydan and that he intends to appeal.
Please write immediately in English, Arabic or your own language:
- Expressing concern that Taqi ‘Abdallah al-Maydan was sentenced to 10 years in prison after an unfair trial;
- Urging the Bahraini authorities to set up an independent and impartial investigation into his allegation that he had been tortured during interrogation and that his “confession” was used against him;
- Calling on the Bahraini authorities to ensure that evidence obtained under torture or other ill-treatment is not used in any proceedings against Taqi ‘Abdallah al-Maydan and that he is granted a fair appeal in line with international standards for fair trial.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 6 NOVEMBER 2013 TO:
Shaikh Hamad bin ‘Issa Al Khalifa
Office of His Majesty the King
P.O. Box 555
Rifa’a Palace, al-Manama, Bahrain
Fax: +973 1766 4587 (keep trying)
Salutation: Your Majesty
Minister of Interior
Shaikh Rashid bin ‘Abdullah Al Khalifa
Ministry of Interior
P.O. Box 13, al-Manama, Bahrain
Fax: +973 1723 2661
Salutation: Your Excellency
And copies to:
Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs
Shaikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa
Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs
P. O. Box 450, al-Manama, Bahrain
Fax: +973 1753 1284
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below:
Name Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 Fax Fax number Email Email address Salutation Salutation
Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.
US national gets 10 years after unfair trial
Taqi ‘Abdallah al-Maydan was born in 1988 in Connecticut (USA), from a Saudi father and Bahraini mother. He studied in the USA before moving to Bahrain with his parents. His lawyer, appointed by his family with the assistance of the US Embassy in Bahrain, told Amnesty International that there is no evidence of any criminal culpability against his client. Five prosecution witnesses, all policemen, denied any knowledge of Taqi ‘Abdallah al-Maydan when asked by the lawyer. They stated that they did not see the defendant anywhere near the place of the incident. Taqi ‘Abdallah al-Maydan was transferred to Jaw Prison on 25 September.
Two-and-a-half years after the popular uprising in Bahrain, and beneath the fanfare of reform, prisoners of conscience, including some arrested during the protests, remain behind bars and the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly continue to be suppressed. In recent months, not only have prisoners of conscience not been released, but more people have been jailed simply for daring to express their views, whether via Twitter or on peaceful marches. A number of women activists have been detained too. Bahraini courts have appeared more concerned with toeing the government’s line than offering effective remedy to Bahrainis and upholding the rule of law.
The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), appointed by Royal Order on 29 June 2011, was charged with investigating and reporting on human rights violations committed in connection with the 2011 protests. At the launch of the BICI report in November 2011, the government publicly committed itself to implementing the recommendations set out in the report. The report recounted the government’s response to the mass protests and documented wide-ranging human rights abuses. Among its key recommendations, the report called on the government to bring to account those responsible for human rights violations, including torture and excessive use of force, and carry out independent investigations into allegations of torture.
However, many of the government’s pledges remain unfulfilled. The establishment of BICI and its report was considered to be a groundbreaking initiative, but, almost two years on, the promise of meaningful reform has been betrayed by the government’s unwillingness to implement key recommendations around accountability; this includes its failure to carry out independent, effective and transparent investigations into allegations of torture and other ill-treatment and excessive use of force, and to prosecute all those who gave the orders to commit human rights abuses. For further information see the report Reform shelved, repression unleashed (Index: MDE 11/062/2012), November 2012, http://amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE11/062/2012/en.
On 28 July 2013 Bahrain’s parliament held an extraordinary session and then submitted 22 recommendations to the king, Shaikh Hamad Bin ‘Issa Al Khalifa. The recommendations toughen punishments laid out in the 2006 anti-terrorism law. A few days later the king issued several decrees curtailing the right to freedom of expression further, including banning all protests, sit-ins and public gatherings in Manama indefinitely and giving the security forces additional sweeping powers.
On 9 September 2013 a joint statement signed by 47 countries at the UN Human Rights Council, expressed serious concern about the ongoing human rights violations in the country.
Name: Taqi Abdallah al-Maydan
Gender m/f: m
UA: 264/13 Index: MDE 11/044/2013 Issue Date: 25 September 2013