Children of Bahrain: Those who oppose the regime are in prisons #Eid_without_childhood

2014-08-01 - 7:01 م

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Why are more than 190 Bahraini children spending Eid inside the prison cells of the “Prison Island” as, the US Assistant Secretary of State, Tom Malinowski described it?

The very first Eid to occur during the period of the 14th February uprising, saw on 31st August 2011 an event that turned Eid celebrations into mourning and sadness. This was the killing of 14-year-old Ali Jawad Al Shaikh, who was shot and killed at the hands of the regimes security forces in Sitra.

Since this time, Eid in Bahrain has changed into protests. However, Eids has been an opportunity for the regime to continue to harvest the lives of a children; a martyr, a detainee and a tortured. Eid is sometimes considered an occasion to remember these children behind the bars whose number has exceeded the hundreds. Other times and for others, Eid is but a time for tragic events.

According to Al Wefaq statistics, the children in the Bahraini prisons have exceeded 450 since the beginning of the revolution on 14 February 2011 until September 2013.

Between 14 February 2011 and until November 2013, the extrajudicial killing cases have resulted in 16 deaths of children. And now the number has surpassed to 20.  

Between Alnham’s eye and Hisham Hassan’s School

On 13 June 2012, the 5-year-old child, Ahmed Alnham, was next to his father who works as a fish seller in one of Al Dair’s neighborhoods when the regime’s forces directly shot Ahmed in his face. Ahmed Alnham lost one of his eyes in front of his parents with blood covereing his face.

Some schools’ administrations called some students’ parents for investigation sessions because of drawings on the students’ desks like Lulu Roundabout. The 8-year-old- Hisham Hassan was suspended from the school on 8 January 2013 and got beaten by the school’s administration members in front of his peers for repeating political slogans. Hisham was entered into a school commission inquiry without his parents knowledge.

Although he was imprisoned, Al Wefaq honored, on 24 July 2014, the outstanding youth, Mohammed Abdulrida Al Jalabi, who graduated from high school with an average of 95%. An empty seat on the platform was specialized for Al Jalabi, where his photo was placed.

Children in the Emergency Courts

The emergency military court (national safety period: from March until October 2011) tried two young boys who were unable to even answer the judge’s questions. Some judges hesitated and asked the 2 boys about their ages. One of the judges asked a boy who had no lawyer to plead for him: What do you want? Do you ask for sentence commutation? The boy then nodded his head and the judges inscribed.

Since 2010, i.e. during the security crisis which preceded 14 of February revolution, the regime has imprisoned tens of children and youths (less than 15 years old, or between 16 and 18 years old).

The trying children of 10 year old like Issa al-Maamari or 11 year olds like Jihad Al Samie and Ali Hassan or 12 year olds like Mirza Abdulshaheed or 13 year olds like Salman Mahdi and Mohammed Sadek Al Arab, has become familiar.

The Youngest Terrorist in the World

Jihad Al Habashi (18 years old) was detained at the age of 15 (July 2011). He was tried pursuant to the “terrorism” act. He was said to be the youngest terrorist in the world. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Ibrahim Al Mekdad who was also sentenced to 10 years in prison for “terrorism” charges found himself obliged to address the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon from his prison cell: “I am the arrested human Ibrahim Al Mekdad from Bahrain, I address you from my prison cell disregarding that I am a child who is tried for terrorism cases which I do not know. There are children who got detained and I am the youngest among them. I was imprisoned on 27 July 2012 while I was returning home from a nearby amusement park. On 4 April 2013, the court sentenced me to 10 years in prison for several cases related to demonstrating. I want to ask you if the punishment for peaceful demonstrations’ is 10 years in prison?”

Amnesty International sarcastically said that when the Bahraini authorities imprisoned the two young boys Jihad Al Habashi and Ibrahim Al Mekdad, it had to sew new prison uniforms for them because there was no suitable uniforms for their sizes. It emphasized that Jihad and Ibrahim’s issue exemplifies the suffering of tens of detained Bahrainis.

The authority has chased the 11-year-old Hussein Hashin Al Fardan since August 2011. Searching for him, the authority has raided Hussein’s home more than 50 times before it arrested him last year. Whereas, the 17-year-old Sadek Al A’sfour had been shot before getting arrested during a chase that led to the death of the martyr Fadel Abbass earlier this year.

Arresting children shows that the regime in Bahrain deliberately and intentionally targets the children themselves. The regime does not rely on evidence but on fabricated charges only. For instance, Jassim Al Banaa (17 years) who suffers from a rare heart disease was arrested. In addition, the authority accused the children with imaginary charges like burning armored vehicle or assaulting security men...etc, despite the fact that the children’s physiques do not even allow them to run away!   

Unbelievable Children Torturing

Torturing children did not stop at this limit, however it has exceeded in an shocking way after the confirmation of news of the torture of children who are less than 15 years old in the youth detention center. Al Wefaq unveiled the suffering of a 14-year-old boy who was severely beaten and stripped, while his head was covered. A sharp instrument was put next to his private parts where he was threatened to be electrocuted. Al Wefaq also said that the public prosecution scolded the boy and accused him of lying when he spoke about what he suffered from. In addition, the juveniles judge did not protect him when he repeated his testimony in front of him, yet the boy was resent to the prison despite all the panic he is forced to endure.

The prominent human right defender, Nabeel Rajab, witnessed the suffering of a number of children and youth on the hands of prison guards. Jihad Al Habashi and Mostafa Al Mekdad were among the tortured and put in solitary confinement for more than a week without letting their parents know.

Amnesty International accused the Bahraini authorities in December 2013 of torturing children who were arrested during the uprising and said that “tens of children were beaten and tortured while in prison during the past two years”. “Some children were threatened by rape in order to extract their confessions,” added the organization. It also ensured that, “putting children in prison, abusing them and torturing them are familiar things in Bahrain”. According to the organization, Bahrain “disregards the international laws through resorting to extreme measures like forcing harsh punishments in imprisoning children”.

The case of the Bahraini children…from Bassiouni’s report to the US department of state

Although the case of Bahraini children has reached international organizations such as the Amnesty International organization and Human Rights Watch, the US State Departments report about human rights in Bahrain in 2013 included a whole paragraph about the file:

“Children were also subjected to torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment. Human rights groups reported that authorities detained children, sometimes under the age of 15and subjected them to various forms of mistreatment, including beating, slapping, kicking, lashing with rubber hoses, threats of sexual assault, burning with cigarettes, and verbal abuse. Local human rights group Bahrain Human Rights Observatory reported in September that authorities had detained 101 children since January. Human rights activists reported that at least one child was under the age of 13”.

However, if the martyr Ali Al Shaikh was killed in the presence of Bassiouni, it is not surprising to see the martyr Said Mahmoud Mohsen (14 years) getting killed in the same place in Sitra three years later where he was left bleeding on the ground after being shot by a mercenary.

International organizations and great powers are aware of everything happening around the world. The international community, who does not get shaken by the great war crimes against humanity in Gaza, refuses to lift a finger regarding the systematic sectarian and political rooting up in Bahrain, even if when it has included Children!

More than 190 Bahraini Children are in prisons

As the regime wants to close our mosques, insult our holy places and cut off our livelihoods, it wants to get out children lost in prisons. It wants to increase the pain of the mothers and fathers while spending Eid without their children as other normal families.

More than 190 Bahraini children are spending Eid in jail, although we all know that the Bahraini issue is not that of arrests, children and victims. It is rather a political change that wants to end dictatorship and authoritarian ruling in the country. However, reviewing these sufferings and sacrifices, particularly the children, means that the revolution is still ongoing.

The main opposition party, Al Wefaq, organized a campaign last year under the title of “assassinating the childhood”. In addition, the Bahraini human rights organizations, with Bahrain Center for Human Rights, Bahrain Human Rights Society and Bahrain Observatory, considered this file, documented a lot of cases and unveiled them to the public. The aforementioned organizations also reported these cases to the Special Rapporteurs of the UN and other mechanisms.

The villages’ networks were also active on social media networking; Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and others. They also worked to document all of the detainee cases, in particular, the cases of children and youths through repeated and organized campaigns to never forget their arrest.

Moreover, Bahrain Mirror specialized a whole chapter in “the Field’s Outcomes 3”, which documented the revolution in 2013, about targeting the children. It has also been working hard since it’s establishment to cover every violation against a child.

The Eid Photos

Prominent in most photographs of children this Eid is the victory sign made with their hands, a symbol of the uprising that has been used for over three and a half years. Nonetheless, we always have to bear in minds that our children are not safe even in our homes.

Every child’s photo tells a sad story. In the campaign organized by Bahrain Mirror, we present a different type of Eid photo; the photo of the detained child with its simple details and great impact. It is not a weeping and lamenting campaign; it is only to remind people that there are still some, even children, who are paying dearly for this political battle.  

The campaign will start today to post the arrested cards in groups on its twitter account. Please write your comments under the photos, print and publish them. Let these photos decorate the streets. Let us feel that those who sacrificed and the victims are alive among us in this Eid. Let the arrested children’s photos be with our children’s photos in their Eid.

Thanks and Acknowledgment

Bahrain Mirror would like to thank the organizations that participated in its campaign and supported it. Special thanks to Bahrain Observatory for Human Rights, Bahrain Center for Human Rights and the National and International Campaign to free prisoners of conscience in Bahrain “I am Free”.

Bahrain Mirror expresses its gratitude for the Bahraini designer who designed “the arrested child card” and the posters related to the campaign.

Despite the exhausting and wide research conducted by Bahrain Mirror in cooperation with the said organizations, the information mentioned in the arrested children cards might need some updates or addition. It is to note that the campaign included the cases that Bahrain Mirror could reach. We are ready to correct any information or receive any addition from concerned people.  

النسخة العربية

التعليقات المنشورة لا تعبر بالضرورة عن رأي الموقع

comments powered by Disqus