Bahrain: Profiles in Persecution: Habib Ali Mubarak

Habib Ali Mubarak is a 32-year-old Bahraini from Jad Hafes. He was disappeared, tortured, and
convicted in an unfair trial, and his wife and infant son were imprisoned and held for eight months
following his arrest. He remains in Jau Prison.

On 21 October 2014, officers in plain clothing and masks, officers from the Special Security Force
Command (SSFC) in uniform, and officers from the National Security Agency (NSA) raided Habib’s
home without a warrant. Habib was not present, and the officers told his family that if he did not
surrender himself to the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID), they would return and raid the
house on a daily basis. The officers stated that they only wanted to question Mubarak on a “small
issue” and that he would be permitted to return home immediately after questioning.
Two days later, on 23 October 2014, Habib surrendered himself to the CID. Rather than a brief
questioning, however, officers arrested and disappeared Mubarak for five days, during which they
subjected him to torture. CID officers physically beat him on the face, abdomen, and back, and spit
on him during interrogations. They also held him in an extremely cold room, which the inmates
refer to as a “refrigerator,” and subjected him to electric shocks until he lost consciousness. Habib
also reported that the officers treated him in a discriminatory manner, insulting his Shia beliefs and

On 27 October 2014, Mr. Mubarak called his wife and told her that he was being transferred to Dry
Dock Detention Center, and asked her to bring clothing to Dry Dock. However, when his wife
– Zahra AlSheikh, a human rights defender – arrived at Dry Dock, the officers arrested her to serve
a prison sentence issued in January 2014 on charges of illegal assembly. With Zahra was their six-
month old son, Hussein Habib Mubarak. Both mother and son were taken to the Isa Town
Women’s Prison, where they were imprisoned until 19 July 2015.

On 19 November 2015, Habib was convicted on a charge of arson in connection to a fire in Jad
Hafes and sentenced to 15 years in prison. However, Habib was able to provide evidence that he
was at a pharmacy purchasing milk during the fire. The judge did not allow this evidence to be
presented at trial. This sentence was upheld on appeal in May 2016.

In 2017, Habib began to complain that he was suffering from depression and anxiety. He asked for
treatment, but the prison authorities have refused to provide this. In June 2018, Habib was rushed
to the hospital when he suddenly collapsed in the prison. At the hospital, he learned that this was
caused by high blood pressure.

Bahrain’s treatment of Habib and his family is in violation of its treaty obligations and international
law, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICESCR), the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and the Convention Against
Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT). His
detention without charge and subsequent conviction in an unfair trial in violation of Article 14 of the
ICCPR, rendering his detention arbitrary under Article 9 of the ICCPR. The detention of Zahra was
also arbitrary, as it was in violation of her right to freedom of expression and assembly in Articles
19 and 21 of the ICCPR. The refusal of the Bahraini authorities to provide Habib with medical care
and treatment for his mental health are in violation of the right to health in Article 12 of the

The The European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR) encourages Bahrain’s
authorities respect these obligations by releasing Habib and annulling his conviction. Any trial
should be conducted in respect of international standards ensuring fair trials. In this specific case,
the ECDHR calls upon Bahrain to investigate Habib’s claims of torture and hold the perpetrators responsible. Finally, we call on Bahrain, and mainly the authorities in Jau Prison, to immediately
provide physical and mental health treatment to all prisoners in their care.

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