Detainees abuse

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Since December 17th, 2007, the unfortunate day in which Ali Jassim Mohammed died after a demonstration commemorating an unofficial Martyr’s Day, protests have not stopped in Bahrain. These protests resulted in further detentions, some of which have lasted for more than four months.

Those detained allege gross abuse of their human rights and have received support from national and international human rights organisations who demanded their release and for the authorities to stop abusing prisoners. Some prisoners’ health has deteriorated appreciably since incarceration, some say again due to ill treatment. One of those detained apparently lies in hospital at the moment due to kidney-related complications. Repeated calls for the government to allow doctors to see and examine the prisoners to see to their health and ascertain whether they have actually been subjected to torture has been resolutely refused by the ministry then, but only allowed months after the demands were made, observers suggest that doctors cannot determine whether detainees have been abused because all evidence of those allegations would have now disappeared.

This situation does not help us at all. Especially the fact that the accused’s long periods of detention on the premise of “continuing investigations”, a situation which seems to promote indefinite detentions without charging the accused with any criminal activities. This is unacceptable. A limit to how many hours or days a person could be detained should be set in law, and if prosecutors cannot or do not show concrete evidence of wrong-doing, that person must be presumed innocent and released from custody.

Allegations of torture destroy a country’s credibility, especially one which has been advertising itself rather vigorously as one that is embarking on reforms and trying very hard to attract international investment, both of which will simply not take place unless a clear and transparent effort is immediately made to investigate these allegations and put the perpetrators of this alleged torture – if found to be true – on public trial.

I firmly believe that criminals must be made to bear the consequences of their crimes. If a person turns violent and burns a police jeep, damages private property, or kills an innocent soul, that person must be made accountable for his crimes. Therefore, if those detained are independently judged to have committed the crime of burning a jeep and stealing weapons and ammunitions from that jeep, then they most definitely should serve time in prison, they cannot and should not be let go. But if the prosecution service cannot find evidence of them perpetrating that crime then of course they should be released.

Special consideration must be given to those who fall ill during incarceration; regardless of crime committed, as it is simply of human decency to make medical attention available to that person. Let alone one who has simply been accused of criminal activity without solid evidence being presented.

Therefore, I highly encourage our chief reformer, our crown prince Shaikh Salman, to add Judicial Reforms to his already brimming plate of reforms. I think that without people trusting the judicial system before anything else, no real reform can take place in this country.

I urge him to look into this situation; especially as people have now started to believe that those detained were not incarcerated for them being involved in the burning of the jeep, but were simply due to their political beliefs.

It might interest you to know that one of those detained, and whose health is very much in jeopardy at the moment, had been a blogger. His blog – in Arabic – is available at http://bahraineyes.blogspot.com/.

I hope that common sense will prevail.

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6 Comments
  • Sam
    7 April 2008

    Can we really trust the so called “medical reports” produced by appointed medical practitioners? We have all seen govt mouthpieces’ in the press saying that the “medical reports showed that those detained had no signs of physical torture.”

    Say we take that as being the god-sent truth.

    Have we ruled out other forms of torture that don’t leave marks of beatings, bruises or otherwise? Just to name a few.

    – Sexual assaults
    – Sleep deprivation
    – Verbal abuse
    – Mental abuse
    – Psychological abuse
    – Stress positions
    – Forced nudity

    This country needs to come to terms with the abuse that happens away from public view. The signing of charters, agreements, conventions means sweet FA to the illiterate foot soldiers of the establishment who cannot even recite our guaranteed constitutional rights!

  • Just me
    7 April 2008

    “One of those detained” has a name and it is Abdullah Mohsen.

    I don’t understand why you adopt a kind of pseudo-official tone to declare your position as if you somehow would like to distance yourself from the situation.
    I would agree with every single one of your points if the rule of law did indeed prevail. But let us be realistic. These are politically motivated trials which include people who were not at the incident at the time. The evidence is weak – there was ‘allegedly’ a gun, but people have questioned its existence. And some of the men are accused of ‘attempted murder’ even though there was no one in the van.

    I’m afraid you place too much false hope and faith in a system which has always been used as a mechanism of asserting power and instilling fear.

    I hope you can bring yourself to show a little understanding for those being clearly persecuted.

    Those detained are real people, who have had their trial perpetually postponed.

  • mahmood
    7 April 2008

    Those detained are real people, who have had their trial perpetually postponed.

    I agree. Justice delayed is justice denied and I’m all for judicial reforms in this country. I would not mind one little bit if all the judges get sidegraded and a full jury-based judicial system is adopted. But that’s not what we’re talking about here and that deserves research and comments on its own.

    My position is clearly stated in that if an independent judiciary found people guilty, they most certainly be prosecuted. If no fault is found, then they should immediately be released regardless of who they are.

    I have a problem with what other bloggers have written seeking sympathy and international action to release Abdulla by playing his blogging credentials. As far as I am concerned this is a non-issue.

    If I commit a criminal act, my being a blogger or otherwise is immaterial. That does not and should not weigh in on whether I receive support. Especially if the charges levied against me have nothing to do with my blogging.

    The platform I adopt in support ALL of those detained since December 17th is uniform. Give them justice and try them if they are found guilty, otherwise, the government is in gross violation of their human rights by imprisoning them for so long.

    In that regard; Maytham, Hassan, Mohammed and Ahmed should have the very same defence and support from all of us as does Abdulla.

    But let us be realistic. These are politically motivated trials which include people who were not at the incident at the time. The evidence is weak

    You might have better information about this issue than me. I cannot make a decision because I am not privy to the facts. You might and if you are, please do share them so that we can take a solid position.

    Until then, you will forgive me for taking a general position based on my convictions and I would give the benefit of the doubt to the defendants and the government, even though that last position could very much be in error. I simply do not have enough information to base my decision on.

  • Alarmed
    8 April 2008

    One of those detained apparently lies in hospital at the moment due to kidney-related complications

    Kidney failure is a hallmark of heavy beating. Damaged/pulped muscle tissue releases a substance called myoglobin into the blood. This has an adverse effect on the kidneys. I believe it’s some kind of clogging effect?

  • Anonny
    10 April 2008

    I’ve just read about the murder of a policeman. It’s difficult to find sympathy for any “demonstrators” when some of them are behaving like this.

    I used to feel odd travelling through security points to go to work. Now I feel more secure.

  • Anon 4 ever
    10 April 2008

    he was transfered to Salmaia hospital recently…
    Check his pictures in his hospital bed here

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