UA: 287/11 BAHRAIN - ON TRIAL FOR "SPREADING FALSE RUMOURS"
23 september 2011
A Bahraini man accused of involvement with pro-reform protests has been detained in Bahrain since March and says he has been tortured. His next court session will be on 28 September when the verdict will be announced. He is a likely prisoner of conscience.
Hashim Adel Mohammed Saeed Al Mosawi, 22, an employee of General Electric and graduate of Newcastle University in the UK, was arrested on 18 March 2011, apparently without a warrant, in the car park of the Marriot Hotel in the capital, Manama. He was held incommunicado for nearly four months, during which he alleges he was tortured and held in solitary confinement for the first 10 days. He says he was beaten and forced to stand up for hours at a time, and then forced to sign a statement whose content he did not know; it was apparently presented later as his "confession". Only then was he allowed to call his family for the first time and tell them he was being detained by the Ministry of Interior. He was then transferred to the "Dry Dock" prison in Manama and held in solitary confinement for 10 days, where he alleges he was verbally abused and beaten by the guards. He was later transferred to another wing of the prison where he remains held with other inmates.
His trial started on 6 July before the National Safety Court of First Instance, a military court, charged with "spreading false rumours about the government" in February and March 2011, during widespread anti-government protests. The case was postponed until 22 August and transferred to a civilian court. His lawyer was only allowed to see and talk to him briefly for the first time after this session. The case was postponed on two further occasions and resumed on 21 September. The verdict is scheduled for 28 September.
The authorities are said to suspect him of sending information about the political situation in Bahrain to protesters and foreign journalists by phone, email and Twitter. He denies the charge against him and, according to his lawyer, the prosecution has not produced any evidence to substantiate it. If, as it appears, he is being detained solely for his actual or perceived peaceful criticism of the government, Amnesty International would consider him a prisoner of conscience and call for his immediate and unconditional release.
Please write immediately in English or Arabic:
* Expressing concern that Hashim Adel Mohammed Saeed Al Mosawi appears to be a prisoner of conscience detained solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression and calling, if this is the case, for him to be released immediately and unconditionally;
* Urging the authorities to order an immediate independent investigation into his alleged torture and other ill-treatment and bring anyone responsible to justice.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 28 SEPTEMBER 2011 TO:
Shaikh Hamad bin 'Issa Al Khalifa
Office of His Majesty the King
P.O. Box 555
Rifa'a Palace, al-Manama, Bahrain
Fax: +973 176 64 587
Salutation: Your Majesty
Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa
Office of the Prime Minister
P.O. Box 1000, al-Manama, Bahrain
Fax: +973 175 33 033
Salutation: Your Highness
Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs
Shaikh Khalid bin Ali bin Abdullah Al Khalifa
Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs,
P.O. Box 13, al-Manama, Bahrain
Fax: +973 175 31 284
Salutation: Your Excellency
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.
Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain
30 Belgrave Square
London SW1X 8QB
Fax: +44 20 7201 9183
Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.
Hashim Adel Mohammed Saeed Al Mosawi's lawyer has asked for him to be released on bail on several occasions, but all such requests have been denied. Several of the requests were made because Hashim wished to be taken to Salmaniya Hospital to donate blood for his 16-year-old brother, who has blood cancer and is in urgent need of a transfusion. His blood type is compatible with his brother's.
Scores of health workers, opposition and human rights activists, teachers and others are facing military trials in Bahrain. Months have passed since scores of people demonstrated in Pearl Roundabout in February and March 2011, but the human rights situation in Bahrain is still very grim. Hundreds of people suspected of being connected with the anti-government protests are detained amid serious allegations of torture; scores of them have received unfair trials before military courts; and at least 2,500 others have been suspended or fired from their jobs.
Fifteen opposition figures who led and participated in the demonstrations in February and March were sentenced on 22 June to very harsh prison terms, including seven life sentences, on broadly worded terrorism charges. They have appealed their convictions and a verdict in their appeal trial is expected on 28 September.
On 29 June, the King decreed that all cases linked to the February-March 2011 protests would be transferred to ordinary civilian courts; he then issued a further decree on 18 August (Decree 28/20011) ordering that the National Safety Court of First Instance continue to deal with felony (serious criminal) cases, while misdemeanor (less serious) cases would be referred to the civilian courts.