Bahrain: Detention of Isa Ebrahim Hasan

This article is sourced from Americans for Democracy and Human Rights, one of the European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights’ sister organisations.

Isa Ebrahim Hasan is a 28-year-old Bahraini citizen. Since his arbitrary arrest and detention in 2015, the Bahraini authorities have subjected him to torture and an enforced disappearance, and convicted him in an unfair trial. He is currently being held in Jau Prison.

On 3 November 2015, masked men linked to the Special Security Force Command (SSFC) surrounded Isa’s workplace and arrested him. The SSFC officers did not mention a reason for his arrest, nor did they provide a warrant. Once Isa was in the car, officers began torturing him. Isa was then brought him to the Criminal Investigation Directorate (CID). Bahraini authorities disappeared Isa for a total of 28 days following his arrest.

During his disappearance, National Security Agency (NSA) officers tortured Isa by denying him sleep, subjecting him to electric shocks, forcing him to stand for long periods of time, stripping him of his clothes, pouring cold water on him before placing him in a cold room, and keeping him blindfolded and handcuffed for 24 hours in order to coerce him to sign confessions for three separate cases, which he eventually did.  Additionally, Isa alleges he was subjected to mistreatment from the NSA officers because of his religion and race. As a result of this torture Isa developed extensive back and body pain; despite this, the authorities did not provide him with any treatments.  Complaints were filed to the Ministry of Interior (MoI) Ombudsman and the National Institute for Human Rights (NIHR) regarding Isa’s condition, but both submissions were ignored. On 1 December 2015, Isa was transferred to Dry Dock Detention Center.

Isa was charged with forming a group accused of possessing weapons, joining a terrorist group called “Zulfiqar Brigades,” and forming a terrorist group called the “Bahraini Hezbollah.” Prior to his trial, authorities denied Isa access to his lawyer to adequately prepare for his defence. Between April 2017 and April 2019, the Fourth High Criminal Court sentenced Isa in three separate cases. On 25 April 2017, Isa was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for forming a group accused of possessing weapons and was transferred to Jau Prison.  On 15 May 2018, Isa was charged with joining the “Zulfiqar Brigades” and sentenced to an additional eight years’ imprisonment and the had his Bahraini citizenship revoked – this was later reinstated by royal order on 20 April 2019, along with 550 other individuals. On 16 April 2019, Isa was sentenced to a further seven years’ imprisonment for forming a terrorist group called the “Bahraini Hezbollah.”  Isa appealed the latter two charges, both of which were upheld. Isa remains at Jau Prison.

The Government of Bahrain’s treatment of Isa is in violation of Bahrain’s international human rights obligations, including the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment (CAT), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and International Covenant on Social, Cultural and Economic Rights (ICESCR), to each of which Bahrain has acceded. Articles 2 and 11 of the CAT prohibit torture and ill-treatment and require State Parties to prevent torture as well as to investigate and punish its perpetrators. Additionally, Article 14 of the ICCPR stipulates that all individuals are entitled to a fair trial; despite this fact, Bahraini authorities convicted Isa in a trial which that flagrantly violated these provisions. Finally, Article 12 of the ICESCR enumerates the right to health, under which the Bahraini authorities are required to provide for the medical care of Isa for his extensive back and body pain.

The European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR) joins Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) in calling for the immediate release of Isa and for an investigation to be launched into his allegations of torture and ill-treatment. We further call for the authorities to provide Isa with compensation for his arbitrary detention and suffering. Bahrain must immediately instruct prison authorities to provide swift and regular medical care to all prisoners and detainees. International actors, including the European Union, must put pressure on Bahrain to meet its treaty obligations and respect fundamental human rights.

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