Bahrain: Sajad AlAlawi (23 years old): Arrested, Reportedly Tortured, Facing Fabricated Charges
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses grave concern about the continued targeting of freedom of expression and the use of torture to extract confessions in Bahrain. Sajad Al-Alawi, 23 years old, was arrested, allegedly tortured and charges were fabricated against him for peacefully protesting in the capital Manama.
Sajad Al-Alawi was arrested on 22 September 2013 after he was surrounded by civilian cars belonging to the National Security Apparatus in Budaiya road. He first called his family from Budaiya police station to collect his car. Then he called twice from the Criminal Investigation Directorate (NSA), a location where there is reported systematic use of torture, where he stayed for three days. On the 26 September, Al-Alawi was transferred to the Dry Docks prison.
His family was able to see him for the first time after his arrest was on 30 September 2013. His father said that Sajad was not walking normally. He added that during the first days of Sajad’s transfer to the Dry Docks prison, other prisoners had to support him as he had difficulties walking. Sajad was a healthy young man not suffering from any physical difficulties prior to his arrest.
Lawyer Mohsen Al-Alawi stated that after more than a month and a half from Sajad’s arrest, he could finally meet his client on 7 November after obtaining an approval from the court which was rejected several times by the public prosecution office. Lawyer Al-Alawi added that his client told him in the visit that the officer who interrogated him reportedly told him "I know your case is participating in Manama's protests. However, it is a light sentence and you will be free quickly, so I will give you more than one charge." Al-Alawi also told his lawyer that he was subjected to torture. The lawyer added that he personally witnessed the [marks of] torture on Sajad’s back.
According to his lawyer, Sajad's charge is the creation of a terrorism cell to make explosions in vital areas. His case was transferred to court and he was ordered to 60 days pending investigation, a period given for those charged under the terrorism law. It is important to note that Sajad was a law student at the University of Bahrain and was expelled due to absence for the fear of being arrested in the recent events.
The BCHR believes that Al-Alawi was arrested because of exercising his right to peaceful assembly. He was arbitrary arrested, charges was fabricated against him and he was reportedly tortured to force him to sign confessions.
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls on the United States, the United Kingdom, the UN, and all other close allies and relevant international institutions to apply real pressure on the Government of Bahrain to:
- Immediately and unconditionally release Sajad Al-Alawi as well as all other political prisoners for merely exercising their right to freedom of peaceful assembly.
- End the practice of systematic torture as a tool to extract confessions.