What Happened to Detainee Zuhair Ibrahim & his Wife before Appearing in Court, Bahrain Center for Human Rights
2018-11-30 - 11:57 p
Bahrain Mirror: The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) issued a new report entitled "Bahrain: Concerns of Further Death Penalties amid Disregard of Prisoners' Torture Allegations". The report focused on the story of detainee Zuhair Ibrahim Jassim, who had a scheduled appearance before court on Thursday (November 29, 2018) for trial.
Zuhair's family and those concerned with human rights in Bahrain fear that he will be sentenced to death, the maximum penalty for similar cases. Zuhair faces charges of joining a terrorist cell, conducting operations in Bahrain against police officers, training on the use of weapons, carrying out operations against police officers, and killing a policeman in a bus bombing on October 27.
The report detailed what happened to detainee Zuhair and his family, according to their statements made to the Bahrain Center for Human Rights.
The story of the family begins with the attack of a masked civilian force who stormed their house in the Sitra area on November 2, 2017. The force arbitrarily arrested Zuhair after searching the house and confiscated Zuhair's personal belongings without giving the family any information or justifications for the arrest and didn't show any search warrant or legal permission to enter the premises and search it.
Hanan Ali (35 years old), Zuhair's wife, said that she was beaten by the masked civilian forces who broke into her house after her husband was arrested. They punched and slapped her with force and pulled her by her neck, causing her neck pain, as well as threatening her with rape and pointing a gun to her head during interrogation in an an isolated room in the house, so that she would give them information about her husband Zuhair. This took place before Zuhair's family was summoned to the criminal investigation building, where their fingerprints were taken.
Zuhair spent about 55 days in the criminal investigation building before being transferred to the Dry Dock detention center, after the Public Prosecutor's Office for Terrorism cases ordered detaining him for six months.
Zuhair told his family that he was severely tortured by the detectives who interrogated him. He was stripped of his clothes, hanged by his hands and feet, electrocuted in sensitive areas of the body, sexually harassed, punched, slapped in the face and kicked. The interrogators also threatened to kill his family if he does not confess to the charges raised against him.
Hence, Zuhair signed papers and confessions on the above-mentioned charges, according to the Bahraini Ministry of the Interior, which defamed him as well as other defendants on Bahrain's official state TV on November 15, 2017, 13 days after his arrest.
On February 20, 2018, the Public Prosecution ordered that the case be referred to the High Criminal Court. Zuhair's family says that he spoke to the judge about the torture he was subjected to, but the judge did not give any regards to what he said. His family also filed a complaint about his torture at the Special Investigation Unit of the Public Prosecutor's Office, yet still haven't received a response from them.
"The death sentences are issued in trials where there is no fair trial guarantees, and although there are allegations of victims being tortured that are presented to the judges, their complaints are not heard by legal means, which renders them unjust," said Ibrahim Sarhan, legal adviser at the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. The BCHR believes that the continued use of this harsh punishment by Bahrain is a violation of international conventions and treaties, particularly Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person."
Based on the abovementioned, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights called upon the United States of America, the United Kingdom, the United Nations, the European Union, all close allies and international bodies to pressure the Government of Bahrain to release Zuhair Jassim, stop his trial, drop all confessions extracted from him under torture, put an end to the use of the death penalty, abolish previous death sentences, investigate allegations of torture of defendants, and hold accountable members of the security services who are found to have been involved in the commission of any form of torture no matter how high their positions are.
Since February 2011, Bahraini courts have issued 32 death sentences against 32 detainees arrested on political grounds, most of whom reported being subjected to physical and psychological torture, forcing them to confess to the charges raised against them. Three of those defendants were in fact executed in January 2017 by firing squad after being convicted of killing a policeman.
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