Qasim Ahmed AlMalki was a 23-year-old business administration student at Bahrain University at the time of his arrest in March 2017. Since his arrest, the Bahraini authorities have subjected him to torture and denied him access to an attorney. He currently remains in Jau Prison.
On 13 March 2017, masked officers from the Ministry of Interior (MoI) forcibly entered and raided Qasim’s home while he was away. The officers did not present a warrant or mention the reason for their search. The Bahraini officials questioned the homeowner on Qasim’s whereabouts, who refused to disclose this information. Consequently, they raided a family member’s home the same morning where they found and arrested Qasim, still without a warrant or an explanation.
Qasim was taken to the Public Prosecution’s Office (PPO) for interrogation. During his interrogation, he was submitted to torture by prison officers. They subjected him to extensive beatings and ill-treatment and denigrated his religion in order to obtain confessions, threatening that the torture would become unbearable if he resisted. Qasim thus signed pre-written confessions which stated that he admitted joining a terrorist cell, attending a religious seminar in Iran, and assisting with the creation of the so-called “Bahraini Hezbollah.” These confessions were later used against him in trial. Qasim was prevented from meeting and speaking with his legal counsel during interrogations. He could only benefit legal representation during his court hearing for a limited time.
After two months at the PPO, Qasim was transferred to Dry Dock Detention Center, where he was detained for more than a year. On 18 April 2018, the court accepted his forced confessions as evidence against him, and sentenced Qasim to 17 years in prison. He is currently detained in Jau Prison.
The circumstance of Qasim’s arrest, interrogation, conviction and detention constitute a violation of international law, notably the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) to which Bahrain adhered to. In addition, Bahrain has contravened principles of international law laid out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) by not promptly informing him of his charges at the time of his arrest and compelling him to testify against himself during acts of torture.
The European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR) calls upon Bahrain to uphold its human rights obligations by releasing Qasim from arbitrary detention in accordance with international law, and if relevant, ensuring a retrial trial is consistent with due process and fair trial rights. ECDHR also calls on the authorities to take responsibility and investigate allegations of ill-treatment and torture.