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Startseite Urgent Actions 2011 03 Eight activists detained Human rights defender tortured in detention
FI 079/11-4
Abgeschlossen am 17. Juni 2011

Human rights defender tortured in detention

AI-Index: MDE 11/024/2011

‘Abdulhadi Alkhawaja, a prominent human rights defender, has allegedly been tortured in detention and had to undergo surgery as a result of the injuries sustained. He is now being held in an unknown location in Bahrain. Two members of parliament were detained on 1 May and may also be at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.

‘Abdulhadi Alkhawaja, a prominent human rights defender and former Protection Co-ordinator for Front Line, an international NGO that works with human rights defenders, was arrested on 9 April. His arrest was in connection with the anti-government protests in February and March 2011. He was arrested in his daughter’s house. According to his family, he was beaten during the arrest, taken away barefoot and not allowed to take his medication with him. He has not been permitted family visits, although his family reportedly spoke with him on the phone on 20 April.

According to reports received by Amnesty International, when ‘Abdulhadi Alkhawaja was admitted to the Bahrain Defence Force military hospital in al-Riffa’, central Bahrain, around the end of April, he had cracks on his jaw and skull and black marks on his arms, allegedly caused by torture. He was reportedly admitted for six days and had several operations on his head and face. He was hastily returned to prison where he was said to have been tortured again.

The arrests of political opposition figures have continued in April and May. Those arrested include Matar Ibrahim Matar and Jawad Fairouz, who were detained on 1 May. Both men were members of parliament for al-Wefaq, the largest Shi’a party in Bahrain, who resigned together with most other members of al-Wefaq in protest at the government’s crackdown on the protests. On 4 May the Secretary General of the Islamic Action Society, Sheikh Mohamed Ali al-Mahfoodh, was also detained. The whereabouts of the three men remain unknown and Amnesty International fears they might be at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.

Additional Information

On 4 May, Bahrain’s parliament voted to extend a repressive state of emergency amid continued arrests of dissidents. Around 47 doctors and nurses, some detained for weeks, are facing trial in a military court after they were charged on 3 May for their role in treating anti-government protesters. On 5 May, some of the doctors where released but others continue to be detained.
The overwhelming majority of those detained since March 2011 are Shi’a Muslims who were active during the protests. Their whereabouts mostly remain unknown.

Some detainees have reportedly been tortured or otherwise ill-treated following arrest and at least four people have died in suspicious circumstances.

The dismissal of government employees who are known to have participated in protests continues unabated.

There have also been reports of several Shi'a mosques being destroyed by the security forces, allegedly because they did not have building permits.

This has increased suspicions that the whole of the majority Shi’a population of Bahrain is being punished for the February-March protests, which called for reforms and, in some cases, regime change.

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