“It was just a bump” they claimed

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With 15 people still in custody for allegedly torching a police car and stealing a weapon, there were several claims of the accused being subjected to harsh treatment including beatings. Their lawyer demanded that they immediately be submitted to medical examination to ascertain the reality of the situation, the Ministry of Interior refused initially, but under mounting pressure, ultimately agreed but only after about a month had passed after the initial allegations surfaced. They also required that the assigned doctors were government appointed. They refused – point blank – any doctor proposed by human rights societies.

Stop police brutalityUnfortunately for the Ministry of Interior, the doctors’ reports submitted to court yesterday unequivocally showed that some of the accused were in fact subjected to beatings and mistreatment.

“Not so!” the Ministry cried out, and demanded that the examining doctors should be brought in for cross examination.

Let me re-iterate my position once again: if an independent investigation and trial clearly shows that the accused did torch the police car and stole the gun and ammunition then they should be thrown in prison to serve whatever the court decides as a fit punishment for them.

However, that does not, ever, excuse the Ministry of Interior’s personnel for beating them or subjecting them to any form of mistreatment. They should have abided by normal and decent human rights codes by at least not forcibly extracting false confessions – sorry, there is no other explanation for using such barbaric methods.

Therefore, and regardless of their crime, this is a clear technical infringement on the accused’s rights and hence should immediately be released. The people who did the beatings should be thrown in jail instead.

This incident brings to mind a joke a friend of mine related to me recently, it deals with how Arab police – stereotypically – go about their business:

    On a police course conducted by an international police training institute, three Arab policemen trainees where told to go into the woods and catch a rabbit as part of survival skills development.

    Off the trainees went to pursue their task, but the instructors got worried when several hours later their charges still did not report back. Going a short distance into the woods, they heard some shouts and thumps. Quickening their pace, they came upon a clearing with the three trainees surrounding something lying on the ground which was moaning with pain.

    Alarmed at the situation, the trainers stealthily approached the scene furtively to try to discover what was going on, when all of a sudden, and amongst much mirth and laughter by their charges, they noticed that two of the trainees where holding down a bloodied and nearly dead dear while the third was kicking the shit out of it and shouting:

    “confess that you are a rabbit, you bastard, CONFESS!”

Does that sound familiar? If there are no respect for human rights by the organ which should most apply them, there is absolutely no hope for justice.

This has brought shame, again, on the whole country and everybody in it. The accused have had their rights flouted and as such, no case should be brought against them, even if they are proven guilty.

The people who should be punished are those who beat them and infringed upon their charges’ basic human rights.

  • Redbelt
    17 April 2008

    A lot more work must be done.

  • Merlin
    17 April 2008

    Mahmood – Can you give us an update on the latest and greatest with the JustBahraini campaign? What are you doing now that you have raised the funds?

  • mahmood
    17 April 2008

    I haven’t done much lately, other than give out the remaining buttons I had in stock. The next phase will be the creation of several video spots (PSAa) which I intend to broadcast through the web. I shall approach Bahrain TV for them to put them on-air, but I’m not holding much hope in them being accepted no matter how good or how topical they are.

  • I
    18 April 2008

    Nice idea getting them aired on BTV, but who these days watches BTV?
    Anyone who can afford satellite certainly doesn’t bother. That leaves whom?


  • anony
    18 April 2008

    I remember once I went to a police station for some issue and saw this guy, apparently he was in custody and tried to do something. I can’t recall what he tried to do but I’m assuming he tried to escape or push the officer, and he was immediately beaten and then put to ground in a forcible manner (note: that guy was even cuffed yet he still attempted to do something). So in this case it might have been the same. I’m not trying to defend the Ministry, I totally agree with your point that the Ministry has no right to beat him or mistreat him. However you must know that in some cases the guy in custody might act in a way that requires beating. What if he tried to assault the officer? I know this is just hypothetical but if that was the case the only defense the officer would do is beat him and then restrain him. But if that person in custody was beaten up too badly, then logically the beating was unjustified and wrong.

  • Anonny
    18 April 2008


    Your ID is too close to mine!


  • im in idiot
    19 April 2008

    >>you must know that in some cases the guy in custody might act in a way that requires beating

    Yeah, I mean God forbid someone who’s been taken into custody for having the wrong dialect has the audacity to show the slightest amount of dignity. A good ass whooping is a very humane and natural reflex, right?

  • Ann (MobayDP)
    19 April 2008

    Therefore, and regardless of their crime, this is a clear technical infringement on the accused’s rights and hence should immediately be released. The people who did the beatings should be thrown in jail instead.

    While I agree with final part of the statement, I cannot agree with the penultimate sentence.
    Although the accused’s rights have been infringed, there is, in law, a provision for compensation (albeit in most cases, a woefully inadequate sort of compensation) for his sufferings.
    The answer, however, cannot lie in his being automatically released from standing trial for whatever charges have been proffered against him. If he stands accused of commiting a rape or murder, what justice would there be to the family of the victim if the accused is turned loose on the mere grounds that HE has been unjustly treated and beaten?

  • Mike
    22 April 2008

    So, the moral of the story is, when you are apprehended by the authorities(look up definition of this word) make sure to resist enough to get your a** whooped by the authorities(again, look up meaning of this word) before all the cameras and medical staff arrive so you can then demand to be set free for having your rights violated.
    The Palestinians use this technique to great effect with world opinion.

  • mahmood
    22 April 2008

    Ann, the job of the public security apparatus is to ensure the safety of the community they serve. They are not put there to beat confessions out of people, nor are they there to impose an inordinate amount of beatings by way of restoring someone who they see as resisting arrest to an acquiescent form. If they do, then they obviously have gone beyond their mandate in any country you wish to name, apart from going against humane norms.

    Therefore, if effects of beatings are detected by court appointed doctors on prisoners to a level where they ascertain that the beatings could be considered systemic, then surely you will agree that there is a big problem in the security apparatus much more than there is of even criminals wreaking havoc in a community.

    That situation to me is actually quite dangerous because it negates the reason for having a police force in the country as under those conditions they have betrayed the trust they have been given, the absence of which makes their utility null and void to the people, but of immense value to be used to subjugate anyone the authorities don’t like – you or me included – by various nefarious ways foreign to us but familiar to them.

    Therefore, I consider the problem at hand now as that of and with the police and is much more in urgent need of repair than the accused whose statements cannot stand in court due to them being subjected to inhumane treatment.

  • heraish
    4 May 2008

    Since these youth have so much energy and tendency towards aggression I have a suggestion. They should be inducted into the army and sent on peacekeeping missions under the banner of the UN. They could go and help solve the problem in Darfur for example. I am also sure that Saudi Arabia will be more then happy to fund such a project.

Depraved minds