Human Rights Council Working Group on Arbitrary Detention Demands Release of Naji Fateel
2023-04-01 - 2:31 am
Bahrain Mirror: The Human Rights Council Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has called on the Bahraini government to immediately and unconditionally release detained human rights defender Naji Fateel, and to conduct an impartial investigation to identify and hold perpetrators accountable.
The group expressed in an opinion it published in March following a complaint filed by Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) and the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), "grave concerns about the health of Fateel, who was arrested by the authorities in 2013 and tortured while arbitrarily detained in Jaw Prison, under four different articles of the Working Group, in violation of international human rights law."
The UN team considered that "the only way to correct the situation of Fateel is to release him immediately and provide him medical care," and called for conducting "an impartial investigation to identify the perpetrators of violations and hold them accountable."
The UN team stated that the seriousness of the violations practiced against Fateel prompted it to refer his case to 4 UN special procedures offices, calling on Bahrain to "allow the UN special procedures offices to visit Bahrain to investigate these violations," reminding that Bahrain has for years rejected the request of the special procedures teams to visit it.
It stated that Fateel was subjected to physical and psychological torture. He was deprived of food and from reaching his lawyer. He was forced to sign on confessions between 2013 and 2016. Fateel was found guilty in three separate cases and sentenced to a total of 25 years and six months in prison. It indicated that throughout that period and until recently, Fateel was repeatedly denied medical care and staged multiple hunger strikes to protest the ill-treatment he was subjected to in Jaw Prison.
It noted that "the Bahraini government states that an arrest warrant was issued against Fateel, but it did not mention that the warrant was submitted to him," noting that "the Bahraini government failed to establish a legal basis for Fateel's arrest."
The group said that Fateel was not presented before a member of the Office of the Public Prosecution within 48 hours of his arrest, adding that any delay should be justified. Fateel was brought before the Office of the Public Prosecution four days after his arrest, in violation of national law.
The Working Group found that he was subjected to enforced disappearance, in contravention of articles of International Law and that he was held incommunicado for 34 days between 10 March and 12 April 2015 while serving his sentence in Jaw Prison.
Fateel was arrested on 2 May 2013 at his home. A group of masked policemen, some wearing civilian clothing entered and searched Fateel's home, confiscating his phones, personal documents and a camera and a laptop belonging to his family. The officers did not present a warrant at the time of his arrest, nor was he or his family informed of the reason for his arrest. During the arrest, the masked officers assaulted Fateel, beating him severely and stomping on his head. After his arrest, he was taken to the Criminal Investigation Directorate and held incommunicado for two days.