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Amnesty Int’l: 7 Stories of Shocking Injustice after the ‘Arab Spring’ in Bahrain

2016-02-15 - 1:38 am

Bahrain Mirror: Amnesty International published a report including seven stories that it described as "shocking injustices" which Bahrainis have been suffering from since the eruption of the February 14, 2011 uprising.

The human rights organization published a special report on the fifth anniversary of the Bahraini uprising about martyrs Ali Mushaima, Hani Abdelaziz, Zakariya Al-Asheri, Abdelkarim Al-Fakhrawi, as well as journalist Nazeeha Saeed, human rights activist Hussain Jawad Parweez and Ali Al-Tajer, lawyer Mohammad Al-Tajer's brother.

Amnesty's report stated the following:

Five years ago, people in Bahrain rose up in protest to demand reform, but were met with violence from security forces.

Ali Abdulhadi Mushaima

Ali Mushaima was the first protester to be killed during the uprising in Bahrain after being shot on 14 February 2011. Another protester, Fadhel al-Matrouk, was shot dead at Ali Mushaima's funeral the next day. A security officer was sentenced to seven years in prison for Ali Mushaima's death, but this was reduced on appeal to three years. In May 2015, the officer was pardoned under a royal decree and released early. Two officers were also tried for causing Fadhel al-Matrouk's death, but were acquitted after the court found they had "acted in self-defence".

Hani Abdelaziz

Hani ‘Abdelaziz' Abdullah Jumaa,32, was shot three times in the village of Bilad al-Qadeem on 19 March 2011. A police officer was sentenced to seven years in prison for his death, but this was reduced on appeal to six months in part because the court said the officer had "acted in self-defence".

Zakariya Al-Asheri

Zakariya al-‘Asheri, 40, died in prison in April 2011 after being arrested for taking a  leading role in the protests. One witness detained with him said that they had been blindfolded, handcuffed and ordered to lie on their stomachs. In the morning, Zakariya al-‘Asheri began hallucinating and banging on his cell door, and was then assaulted by the guards. The witness said he heard Zakariya al-‘Asheri screaming as officers beat him and that his screams became muffled. Two low-ranking police officers were charged with "assault resulting in unintentional death" and three were charged with "failure to report the crime" but all five were acquitted. At the trial, other witnesses said officers had stuffed a newspaper into al-‘Asheri's mouth. Those responsible for his death have still not been identified or brought to justice.

Abdelkarim Al-Fakhrawi

Abdelkarim Al-Fakhrawi, 49, died on 11 April 2011 after being beaten to death while in the custody of Bahrain's National Security Agency (NSA). He was a founder of Al Wasat newspaper, one of the few independent newspapers in Bahrain, and a member of a prominent political party. Two NSA officers were sentenced to seven years for his death, but this was reduced to three years on appeal.

Nazeeha Saeed

Journalist Nazeeha Saeed was arrested in May 2011 and accused of being part of a group that wanted to overthrow the monarchy, which she denied. A group of security officers then beat her with a hose-pipe, and punched and kicked her while she was blindfolded. A policewoman also gave her electric shocks and pushed her head down a toilet. One police officer was prosecuted but was acquitted - despite forensic and medical reports which all noted bruises on Nazeeha's body, and two reports attributing the bruises to beatings with a long object. The investigation into her torture has now closed because of a "lack of evidence".

Hussain Jawad (Parweez)

Hussain Jawad, chairman of the European-Bahraini Organization for Human Rights, was arrested in February 2015 and questioned about his work with organizations including Amnesty International. He told us that, while in detention, he was beaten, blindfolded, handcuffed, prevented from going to the toilet, and threatened with sexual abuse. He also said he was forced to "confess" to the charges of "receiving money from home and abroad in order to support and finance subversive groups". In December, he was sentenced to two years in prison on the basis of this "confession" and police statements. The authorities dropped the investigation into his alleged torture because of "lack of evidence".

Ali Isa al Tajer

Ali Isa al Tajer, the brother of a prominent human rights lawyer, was arrested in November 2015. He was locked up with no access to a lawyer for 25 days and eventually charged with "joining an illegal terrorist organization to overthrow the government" and "training individuals on the use of weapons for terrorist purposes". He denied all charges and said he had been tortured to sign a "confession" he could not read as he was blindfolded. He said he had been kept naked for most of the 25 days, threatened with electric shocks, deprived of sleep and beaten all over his body, including his genitals. Ali is still in prison, suffering from the pain caused by his torture. Although his lawyer filed a complaint, none of the people responsible for Ali's torture has been brought to justice.

Amnesty demanded the Bahraini authorities to launch an urgent and independent investigation into his alleged torture, and completely disregard any "confessions" obtained through torture in proceedings against him.

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