On the 13th of December, MEP Ana Gomes sent a letter to HR/VP Federica Mogherini regarding Habib Ali Mubarak’s case.
Habib Ali Mubarak is a 32-years-old Bahraini man who is currently serving, since November 2015, his 15 years prison sentence in Jau Prison. He had been forcibly disappeared, tortured and convicted of arson despite having a credible alibi.
He was arrested on October 21st 2014 by officers who raided Habib’s home without an official warrant. That day though, Habib was not present during the raid and the officers told his family that would have to surrender himself to the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) in order to be questioned on “small issues” and would be permitted to return home immediately after questioning.
Habib surrendered himself to the CID two days, on the 23rd of October 2014. However, as officers had promised, the questioning wasn’t brief and officers arrested and disappeared Mubarak for five days, during which they subjected him to torture. Habib explained he had been physically beaten on his face, abdomen and back as well as spit during his interrogations. Another abuse by the security forces was that he was held in an extremely cold room, which the inmates refer to as a “refrigerator”. He was also subjected to electric shocks until he lost consciousness and was discriminated by the officers because of his Shia beliefs and doctrine.
More than one year later, on the 19thof November 2015, Habib was convicted on charges 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 that fire.Nonetheless, the judge did not allow his evidence to be presented at the trial. The sentence was further upheld on appeal in May 2016. In the meantime, Habib’s wife, a human rights defender, was also arrested and imprisoned along with their six-month-old son. As her husband, she was also subjected to torture and was forced to record a video, which was then posted online, of herself apologizing to the Bahraini King. She is currently living outside Bahrain; however, she fears her husband may face further charges such as terrorism allegations.
This case is emblematic of how the Bahraini security establishment functions. It demonstrates that the authorities systematically violate basic fundamental human rights. Among these violations are:
A warrantless house raid, arbitrary arrest, enforced disappearance, torture, religious discrimination, unfair trials, refusal by the judge to allow the defendant to present a sufficient defence, denial of medical care, harassment and imprisonment of human rights defenders, and imprisonment of family members of the defendant.
Please find below the letter written by MEP Ana Gomes on Mubarak’s case
Ms. Federica Mogherini
High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
European External Action Service
Strasbourg, 13 December 2018
I would like to bring to your attention the case of Habib Ali Mubarak, a Bahraini citizen who was sentenced to 15 years in prison on a charge of arson.
Mr. Mubarak’s house was raided without warrant in October 2014 and having been absent, he was told he needed to surrender himself to the Criminal Investigations Directorate in order to be questioned on a small issue, which he did two days later.
However, he was arrested, disappeared and was tortured for five days. One year later, on 19 November 2015, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison on a charge of arson in connection to a fire in Jad Hafes, despite him being able to provide evidence that he was elsewhere during the fire. Now, his wife, a human rights activist, is afraid that he might face further charges of terrorism.
In light of these facts, I would like to know if the EEAS and/or the EU Delegation to Bahrain has been following this case. If so, I urge you to put pressure on local authorities to guarantee a free and impartial trial, as well as to accept the evidence that Mr. Mubarak has been trying to put forward.
Member of the European Parliament