2022 Portfolios: Interpol Colludes with Serbia and the UAE to Extradite Bahraini Dissident Ahmed Jaafar

2023-12-09 - 3:04 p

Bahrain Mirror (2022 Portfolios): In the early hours of January 24, 2022, Serbia closed the file on Bahraini dissident and torture survivor Ahmed Jaafar, handing him over to Manama after about two months of detention. This took place despite a European court decision prohibiting it, following pressure from Interpol, now led by the Emirati Ahmed Naser Al-Raisi, and from Bahrain's security forces.

Ahmed Jaafar, arrested in 2007 and documented as tortured by prominent human rights organizations, was released two years later under royal amnesty. Authorities resumed pursuing him after the 2011 events, leading him to flee abroad in 2013.

Two years after leaving Bahrain, Bahraini courts issued two life sentences in absentia against him in 2015 for politically motivated charges, forming the basis for his inclusion on the red list the same year.

After years in exile, Ahmed Jaafar sought asylum in a safe European country but transited through Serbia, which decided on November 3, 2021, to detain him and execute the red notice against him.

Despite appeals to human rights organizations and courts to halt his extradition, Interpol, now under Emirati leadership, insisted on receiving and delivering him to Bahrain.

On December 7, 2021, the Supreme Court approved Ahmed Jaafar's extradition. Although he appealed, it was rejected on January 18, 2022. The decision was sent to Serbian Justice Minister Maja Popović, who approved it, paving the way for Serbia to forcibly return him to Bahrain within days.

In an attempt to avoid extradition, Ahmed Jaafar applied for asylum in Serbia on January 20. Serbia received his request the next day, and on the same day, the European Court of Human Rights issued a temporary measure urging Serbia to halt Ahmed's extradition pending further information, including the "possible risks of torture and/or ill-treatment he may face if extradited to Bahrain." The court also inquired about his right to "review his life sentence in Bahrain" and instructed Serbia to request information from Bahrain by February 11. It said Serbia should not extradite Ahmed before February 25, 2022.

Despite informing Serbian authorities of the decision, they decided to extradite him without concern. He was handed over to Bahraini officials waiting for him at Belgrade International Airport.

From Belgrade, Ahmed Jaafar was flown to Bahrain on a private plane owned by the UAE's "Royal Jet," owned by Mohammed bin Hamad bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, a member of the ruling family of Abu Dhabi.

On the next day, January 25, 2022, the Ministry of Interior announced receiving Ahmed Jaafar "after coordination and communication with a friendly country." After the statement, Jaafar contacted his family, informing them of his presence in the notorious Criminal Investigations Building, one of the main facilities where political detainees are tortured. The Interior Ministry also contacted his family, requesting them to collect his personal belongings.

On January 29, 2022, the Public Prosecutor announced that Ahmed Jaafar had been imprisoned to begin serving his sentences, four life sentences and ten years, along with fines. However, the statement from the prosecutor's office, seemingly issued under international and human rights pressure, contradicted a phone call from Jaafar to his family, where he claimed not to know his whereabouts.

After extensive communications by his family and activists, it was confirmed that Ahmed Jaafar is in an isolated building in the Jaw area. It remains uncertain whether it is an isolated building within Jaw Central Prison or a separate building within the Police Academy adjacent to Jaw prison. It was also confirmed that Jaafar is indeed subjected to brutal torture typical of Bahraini security forces, and his life is in danger.

On February 7, 2022, Jaafar contacted his family, asking them to deposit a sum of money so he could buy a calling card. He explained that he had been transferred to another location, told it was Jaw prison.

The tale of Ahmed Jaafar's extradition to Bahrain sends a message to activists worldwide that Bahrain will leverage all its influence and authority, pressuring European states to violate European laws. This is because this tiny kingdom is entirely intolerant of dissidents and ready to pursue them around the world for revenge whenever it finds a way.

Arabic Version