Bahrain: Detention of Ali Mahdi Alaiwi arrested at the age of 17 is still in prison

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Ali Mahdi Alaiwi is a Bahraini citizen who was arrested at the age of seventeen. He was subjected to unfair trial and he is now detained in Jau prison where he is recently suffering from ill health.

This information in this profile originally appeared on ADHRB’s website, our main sister organisation. 

Ali was arrested without a warrant on 22 May 2013. At dawn regular police officers, riot police and officers in plain clothing and masks raided his house while the residents were asleep.

After his arrest, Ali was subjected to forced disappearance during which officers took him at the

Criminal Investigation Directorate (CID) for interrogation. After that, they transferred him to the Dry Dock Detention Centre. Although the court appointed him a lawyer, he was prevented from communicating with him and he never attended Ali’s interrogation.

Firstly, Ali was only charged with arson. However, after a long period of detention, he received summonses also for illegal assembly and riots, burning tires and assault on a security officer. On 1 April 2014 he was sentenced to three years in prison for the first three charges and to one year in prison for the last one. Thus, he was condemned to ten total years in prison. On 2 April 2014 he was transferred to Jau prison and held with other minors. Then, on 28 September the Court of Appeal upheld the sentence on the arson and illegal assembly charges.

Ali was transferred to New Dry Dock, the section of Jau Prison for individuals under the age of 21, after the violent events happened in Jau prison in March 2015, where security forces used tear-gas and beat inmates. When he turned 22 he was transferred to the general prison. From late January to February 2019 he was held incommunicado.

Ali’s family reported that his health is deteriorating, referring at him as “psychologically tired”. He has become short-tempered, yells for no reason, quarrels with his cell-mates, and has recently refused family visits. They are assuming he may suffer from Trichotillomania as he also has hallucinations. Before entering the prison Ali did not have any medical conditions.

On 24 February 2019, the family filed a complaint with the Ministry of Interior Ombudsman, in which they asked for Ali to be examined by a specialised psychological doctor or a neurologist. Furthermore, around 26 March 2019, the family’s lawyer submitted a letter to the public prosecutor calling for Ali to be presented to a psychologist.  On 8 April 2019, the lawyer received the acceptance. However, as of May 2019, the prison authorities have taken no action.

Besides, on 14 March 2019, the family submitted a complaint to the National Institution for Human Rights (NIHR) regarding the conditions of Ali’s detention. On 22 April 2019, the NIHR informed Ali’s mother that the request of presenting Ali to a psychiatrist was accepted, but they did not give her a specific date for an appointment.

The European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR) strongly condemns Ali Mahdi Alaiwi’s detention. The government of Bahrain is violating fundamental human rights and international obligations such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights. Moreover, ECDHR callas upon Ali’s immediate release.