» News

HRW: Exiled Prominent Bahraini Activist’s Family Targeted

2017-03-07 - 5:42 am

Bahrain Mirror: Bahraini authorities are apparently targeting the family members of a prominent Bahraini activist in retribution for his human rights work, said Human Rights Watch in a report today on Monday (March 6, 2017).

HRW noted that since March 2, 2017, authorities have detained the brother-in-law and mother-in-law of Sayed Ahmad al-Wadaei, a United Kingdom-based Bahraini human rights activist who has accused the Bahraini authorities, including senior members of the ruling Al Khalifa family, of serious human rights abuses.

"This looks like a cowardly attempt to break the resolve of an activist by attacking his family," stressed Eric Goldstein, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "The Bahraini authorities forced Sayed al-Wadaei into exile in Britain, where he's a thorn in their side. Since they can't touch him, they've resorted to threatening and harassing his wife, infant son, and in-laws."

A relative told HRW that a large group of masked men, accompanied by police officers, detained Sayed al-Wadaei's 18-year-old brother-in law, Nazar Sayed Namaa al-Wadaei, at a house in Jid Ali on March 2, and on March 5, police in civilian clothes went to the home of Nazar Sayed Namaa al-Wadaei's mother and Sayed al-Wadaei's mother-in-law, Hajar Mansoor Hasan, and summoned her to the CID. They; however, refused to explain the basis for the summons.

The HR group also noted that prior to being taken into custody at the CID, Hasan said that her son, Nazar Sayed Namaa al-Wadaei, had called her to say that CID officers had tortured him and forced him to implicate other relatives in wrongdoing.

In a report on Bahrain issued in November 2015, HRW identified a general pattern of detainee abuse, including torture, in CID facilities. The NGO further highlighted that the detention of Sayed al-Wadaei's in-laws appears to be part of a campaign of retribution in response to his human rights work.

Duaa al-Wadaei told HRW that senior Bahraini officials threatened her husband and both their families during a seven-hour interrogation at Manama airport on October 27, 2016. She said that she was checking in for a London-bound flight with the couple's 2-year-old son when airport officials asked her to accompany them for a search. Officers took her to a private room, removed her headscarf and shoes, and searched her bag and her son's stroller. She said she refused to accompany them to another part of the irport unless officers explained where they were taking her and why. They then forcibly separated her from her son, she said, and dragged her by her wrists until she stood up and accompanied them to an interrogation room.

Authorities forced Duaa al-Wadaei and her son to miss that flight but allowed them to leave Bahrain on November 1. However, upon arriving in the UK, she discovered officers had charged her with assaulting a police officer.

HRW indicated that the airport interrogation occurred hours after Sayed al-Wadaei had protested the King of Bahrain's visit to meet British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Concluding the report, HRW quoted Goldstein who stressed that "Bahrain should tackle the serious human rights abuses identified by Sayed al-Wadaei instead of punishing the messenger and his extended family."



comments powered by Disqus