Bahrain: Profile in Persecution: Husain Ali Khamis

Husain Ali Khamis is a 31-year-old Bahraini citizen. Bahraini authorities arrested him in 2018 without a warrant, threatened him to coerce a confession, and subjected him to an unfair trial. He is currently imprisoned at Jau Prison.

Arrest

On 23 January 2018, officers in plain clothes, National Security Agency (NSA) officers, and officers from the Special Security Force Command (SSFC) raided Ali Khamis’ house at dawn. They arrested him, seized his phone and laptops, as well as his passport. The officers then disappeared him for three days, until 26 January, when he was able to make a brief call. He declared he was being held at the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) building in Adliya. The authorities then transferred him to Jau Prison under the administration and authority of the CID, where he was detained for 42 other days.

During those 42 days, Husain was blindfolded. The authorities denied him access to his lawyer during his interrogations despite his requests. Officers threatened him during interrogations to coerce him into making a confession, which he eventually did.

On 4 March 2018, Husain was transferred to Dry Dock Detention Center, where he was detained for six months until he was presented to the Public Prosecution’s Office (PPO). He then remained in detention at Dry Dock for four months until he appeared before a court. The authorities charged Husain with joining a terrorist group, to which he objected on the grounds that he had not been questioned in relation to such charges. The court however permitted the prosecution to use Husain’s coerced confession as evidence against him.

Current Situation

On 16 April 2019, the court convicted Husain in a mass trial that was later denounced by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights as “fail[ing] to comply with international fair trial standards.” The court sentenced him to ten years in prison and a 100,000 dinar fine, and also revoked his nationality, rendering him stateless. The authorities transferred Husain to Jau Prison following his conviction, where he remains. On 20 April 2019, he was one of 551 Bahrainis re-nationalized, but his sentence was otherwise upheld on appeal on 12 May 2019.

The actions against Husain violate international law, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Bahrain has acceded. In addition, the government of Bahrain has contravened principles of international law laid out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). By arbitrarily arresting and detaining Husain, Bahrain has violated Husain’s freedom from arbitrary detention per the ICCPR and UDHR. Further, by denying him adequate legal counsel, Bahrain has violated Husain’s right to a fair trial, as enshrined in the ICCPR and UDHR.

The European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR) calls upon Bahrain to respect its human rights obligations by annulling Husain’s sentence, releasing him from arbitrary detention in accordance with international law, and, if serious criminal charges can be maintained against him, ensuring any subsequent trial is consistent with due process and fair trial rights.

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