Bahrain: Detention of Jawad Redha AlTarifi


Jawad Redha AlTarifi is a 27-year-old Bahraini citizen. Since his arbitrary arrest and detention in 2017, the Bahraini authorities have subjected him to torture, mistreated him on the basis of his religion, and convicted him in an unfair trial. He is currently being held in Jau Prison.

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

On 13 December 2017, officers wearing civilian clothing arrested AlTarifi at his workplace. They were not in possession of a warrant and did not provide any stated reason for his arrest. That same day at approximately midnight, masked men believed to be linked to the National Security Agency (NSA) raided AlTarifi’s house, again without permission or a warrant. During their raid, they damaged AlTarifi’s furniture and other possessions in the house. They remained inside his home for five hours.

Following his arrest, the media plastered AlTarifi’s picture on the news alongside descriptions of his alleged terrorist activities; however, at this time, AlTarifi was not made aware of any charges against him. The Bahraini authorities disappeared AlTarifi for five weeks, during which they detained him at the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID). There, CID officers tortured him in order to coerce him into making a confession. They subjected AlTarifi to ill-treatment, beatings, and persistent verbal abuse while also denigrating his religious beliefs. Additionally, the prison officers did not allow AlTarifi to communicate with his attorney until his first court hearing.

About two months after his arrest, complaints regarding the raid at AlTarifi’s home, his torture, vandalism of his house, and the confiscation of items from his home were delivered to Bahrain’s Ministry of Interior (MoI) Ombudsman. As of July 2019, the Ombudsman has not responded. On 21 January 2019, Bahraini officers transferred AlTarifi from the CID to Dry Dock Detention Center to wait for his trial.

On 16 April 2019, the Bahraini government convicted AlTarifi on four charges related to his alleged terrorist activity in the so-called “Bahraini Hezbollah” case, a mass trial of 169 defendants. This mass trial has been condemned by our partner organization Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB), and which has been covered in other Profiles in Persecution on the European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights’ (ECDHR) website. The court admitted the coerced confessions and sentenced AlTarifi to life imprisonment while also stripping him of his nationality. His nationality was later re-instated by a royal order on 20 April 2019, but his conviction was upheld on appeal on 30 June 2019. On 24 April 2019, AlTarifi was transferred from Dry Dock Detention Center to Jau Prison to carry out his sentence.

Bahrain’s actions against AlTarifi violate international law, including the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), both of which Bahrain is party to. AlTarifi’s arrest and detention without a warrant infringe on his right to his liberty and security, which are protected under Article 9 of the ICCPR. Similarly, AlTarifi’s conviction, in light of the coerced confession obtained through torture, resulted in an unfair trial under Article 14 of the ICCPR and was in violation of Article 15 of the CAT.  Lastly, Bahrain’s ill-treatment towards AlTarifi because of his religious beliefs violates Article 18 of the ICCPR, which provides for the rights to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

ECDHR joins ADHRB in calling upon Bahrain to uphold its human rights obligations by annulling AlTarifi’s conviction in light of his coerced confession and unfair trial. Bahrain must ensure that any subsequent trial is consistent with due process and fair trial rights. We additionally urge the authorities to investigate claims of torture and ill-treatment by prison officials, to hold those officials accountable, and to keep AlTarifi informed on the status of his complaints. ECDHR further calls on the European Union to raise these concerns directly with Bahrain and with the international community.