Bahrain Mirror-Exclusive: A group of United Nations experts has expressed deep concern at the alleged arbitrary detention of Bahraini human rights defender Ibtisam Al-Saegh amid reports she has been tortured and sexually abused and is now on hunger strike.
"Ms. Al-Saegh has been denied her fundamental right to due process from the very moment of her arrest to this day," the experts said. "We are very worried at information that her health has dramatically deteriorated in the last few days."
"We express the gravest concern at these allegations of torture and ill-treatment suffered by Ms. Al-Saegh and we fear that she may be currently subjected to further acts of torture," the experts said. They indicated that "The use or incitement of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment is absolutely prohibited, under all circumstances." The experts called upon the Government of Bahrain to strictly abide by its obligations under international human rights law.
"The Bahraini authorities have a duty to investigate all allegations of human rights violations committed against Ms. Al-Saegh, including torture by security forces during interrogations, and to prevent their re-occurrence," they emphasized. Ms. Al-Saegh's alleged treatment comes amid an ongoing campaign of attacks and reprisals against human rights defenders and political activists in Bahrain.
"We reiterate our serious concerns regarding the wider context of a general crackdown and mounting pressure exerted on civil society and dissidents in Bahrain, the ongoing prosecution and punishment of human rights defenders, and especially intimidation and reprisals against people who have cooperated with UN human rights mechanisms," the experts underscored.
The experts are: Mr. Nils Melzer, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; Mrs. Dubravka Šimonović, Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences; Mr. Michel Forst, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; and Mr. José Antonio Guevara Bermúdez, current Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.