Bahrain: Profile in Persecution, Jasim Ahmed Dharab

Jasim Ahmed Dharab is a 21-year-old Bahraini student. He was part of the informal online group “February 14”, which was designated by the Bahraini government as a terrorist organization.

Arrest

On 25 January 2015, Jasim was arrested and charged for two alleged crimes of illegal assembly and rioting. He was acquitted on one of them and sentenced to four months in prison for the second, which he served. In 2017, after his release, he was convicted in absentia on another charge of rioting.

On 26 February 2018, Jasim was arrested again by riot police officers and other officers in civilian clothing, along with two other individuals. The officers arrested him without a warrant and did not give a reason for their arrest. According to reports, vehicles of the National Security Agency (NSA) were also present at the scene.

After the arrest, Jasim was taken to the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID). The officers disappeared him for ten days and interrogated him for two weeks. He was subjected to torture and ill-treatment the whole time. On 6 March 2018 he was presented to the Office of Public Prosecution (OPP) and charged with multiple crimes. He was then transferred to the Dry Dock Detention Center.

Jasim was tried in the frame of the “February 14 Coalition” case with charges such as “joining a group or organization whose purpose is to disrupt the law or the violation of rights and freedom”, “manufacturing and possessing usable or explosive containers”, and “illegal assembly to commit crimes and breach security.” On 27 December 2018, Jasim was sentenced to seven years in prison and was stripped of his citizenship, which was reinstated on 20 April 2019 along 550 others. Three days after this conviction, on 30 December 2018, he was sentenced to an additional three years for harboring a fugitive. Overall, Jasim has been sentenced to more than 20 years in prison, reduced to 17 years on appeal. His sentence in the February 14 Coalition case was upheld on 12 May 2019.

Jasim’s trial was unfair. For some of the charges he faced, he was not represented by a lawyer. When he had one, the authorities interfered in the counseling sessions, so that he was not well prepared for his trial. Moreover, his lawyer was not granted access to Jasim’s interrogation sessions. Jasim was also prevented from attending most of the trial sessions. Despite being present in the courthouse and prevented by the authorities from entering the court, the record falsely states that Jasim “refused” to attend his court sessions.

Current situation

Jasim is currently being held in solitary confinement, where he has been for six months. He reports that he is only allowed to use the toilet once a day at a specific time and is held in a room without air-conditioning.

He is currently being held at New Dry Dock, the section of Jau Prison reserved for individuals under the age of 21.

The European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR) firmly condemns the ruling of the Bahrain’s Court and calls upon the  Bahraini government to drop all the charges against Jasim Ahmed Dharab and release him immediately, in regard of the violations of International Law, including Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) which Bahrain acceded to. ECDHR calls on Bahrain to take responsibility and meet the international human rights standards.

 

 

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