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International HR Groups Ask Bahraini Gov’t for Information about Detainee who Forcibly Disappeared Nine Months Ago

2017-08-25 - 9:11 p

Bahrain Mirror: International human rights organizations sent a joint letter to the Bahraini authorities saying they "seek clarification on the reasons for the detention, current legal status, and detention location of Sayed Alawi Hussain al-Alawi," raising concern that he is at high risk of torture or other ill-treatment, and that the ongoing denial of information to his families as to his whereabouts is tantamount to enforced disappearance. They also asked for clarification about what charges, if any, have been brought against him.

"We also urge you to release him unless he is to be charged with a recognizable criminal offence," the HR groups stressed, noting that they are looking forward to receiving the Bahraini government's response on this urgent matter.

"Sayed Alawi has been detained for over nine months, with no access to a lawyer or to his family since his arrest. During this time, he was allowed only four brief phone calls to his family, who has repeatedly inquired during this time about the reasons for and location of his detention. To date, the authorities have not provided this information," they said, adding that "the right of access to a lawyer is a fundamental safeguard against torture and other ill-treatment, and is one of the key norms established for a fair trial under international human rights standards."

The rights organizations highlighted that "it is important to enable detainees to challenge their detention at an early stage and serves as an important safeguard against torture and other ill-treatment, coerced "confessions", enforced disappearance and other human rights violations. It also enables individuals suspected of or charged with a criminal offence to protect their rights and begin to prepare their defense."

In their letter, they also pointed out that persons deprived of their liberty should also be able to communicate and have contact with family members and friends, as well as medical professionals, noting that "under international law and standards, anyone who is arrested and detained has the right to inform, or have the authorities notify, someone in the outside world that they have been taken into custody and where they are held."

"In addition, they should be given all reasonable facilities to communicate with and receive visits from their family. [...] It enables persons concerned about the wellbeing of detainees to see where they are held and their condition so as to be able to intervene on their behalf if there is reason for concern. It is also a key safeguard against enforced disappearances."

The HR groups further stated that they continue to receive reports of torture and other ill-treatment of detainees during interrogation at the CID and National Security Agency buildings, stressing that in view of this and the circumstances of his detention described in this letter, they are seriously concerned about Sayed Alawi's current treatment and safety and believe he is at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

"We are also concerned that he may be brought before a military court and requests assurances that no civilian, including Sayed Alawi, will be tried before a military court, in line with international standards," they said.

The signatories of the joint letter include Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain, Amnesty International, Bahrain Center for Human Rights, Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, CIVICUS World Alliance for Citizen Participation, and European Center for Democracy and Human Rights.

Arabic Version



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