- KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN
- Jehad Sadeq Aziz Salman, Ebrahim Ahmed Radi al-Moqdad, Naser Saeed Hassan, Hassan Abdul Jalil al-Ekri
Gender m/f: all male
- 8 Jul 2020
- Distribution date:
- 8 Aug 2012
- UA No:
Two men and two boys under the age of 18 are currently held in a prison in Bahrain after they participated in a protest. None had access to family members until nearly 48 hours after their arrest.
Jehad Sadeq Aziz Salman (15), Ebrahim Ahmed Radi al-Moqdad (15), Naser Saeed Hassan (20) and Hassan Abdul Jalil al-Ekri (20) were arrested on 23 July 2012 during an anti-government protest in Bilad al-Qadeem, west of Manama, the capital of Bahrain. After their arrest, they were first taken to a police station in Gudaibiya neighbourhood in Manama; then to the Criminal Investigation Department for interrogation, before being taken to the Public Prosecutor Office for further questioning. They were not allowed to speak to their families or to contact lawyers until nearly 48 hours after the arrest, and there was no lawyer present during their interrogation. They finally called their families nearly 48 hours after their arrest to inform them where they were being held.
All four are currently held in the Dry Dock prison in Manama and their detention has been extended until 23 September 2012. They have been charged with rioting and “illegal gathering”. They have now had access to their families although some of them have not seen their lawyers yet. At least one of the juveniles told his family he was participating in a peaceful protest. If some or all are held solely for the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of assembly, they should be released immediately and unconditionally.
The age of criminal responsibility in Bahraini law is 15 years old. However being under 18, Jehad Sadeq Aziz Salman and Ebrahim Ahmed Radi al-Moqdad are children and should be exposed only to Bahrain's Juvenile Justice system and not the regular criminal justice system. The Committee on the Rights of the Child has stated that ‘every person under the age of 18 years at the time of the alleged commission of an offence must be treated in accordance with the rules of juvenile justice’ (CRC General Comment No. 10,CRC/C/GC/10, 2007, paragraph 37). According to international standards on detention, young prisoners should be kept separate from adults.
Article 15 of the Convention for the Rights of the Child (CRC), to which Bahrain is a state party, states: 1. States Parties recognize the rights of the child to freedom of association and to freedom of peaceful assembly. 2. No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of these rights other than those imposed in conformity with the law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, public order (ordre public), the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.
Article 37 of CRC states that: States Parties shall ensure that: (b) No child shall be deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily. The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be in conformity with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time; (d) Every child deprived of his or her liberty shall have the right to prompt access to legal and other appropriate assistance, as well as the right to challenge the legality of the deprivation of his or her liberty before a court or other competent, independent and impartial authority, and to a prompt decision on any such action.
Furthermore, Article 40 also states: 2(a) No child shall be alleged as, be accused of, or recognized as having infringed the penal law by reason of acts or omissions that were not prohibited by national or international law at the time they were committed; 2(b)(ii) To be informed promptly and directly of the charges against him or her, and, if appropriate, through his or her parents or legal guardians, and to have legal or other appropriate assistance in the preparation and presentation of his or her defence and 2 (b)(iv) Not to be compelled to give testimony or to confess guilt; to examine or have examined adverse witnesses and to obtain the participation and examination of witnesses on his or her behalf under conditions of equality.
The Bahraini authorities have publicly stated their intention to introduce reforms and ‘learn lessons’ from events in February and March 2011, when they cracked down on anti-government protesters. In November 2011, the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), set up by the king, Shaikh Hamad bin ‘Issa Al Khalifa, submitted a report of its investigation into human rights violations committed in connection with the anti-government protests. The report concluded that the authorities had committed gross human rights violations with impunity, including unlawful killings and excessive use of force against protesters, widespread torture and other ill-treatment of protesters and unfair trials. The report also urged the government to establish immediately an independent body made up of representatives of civil society, the opposition and the government; to oversee the implementation of the BICI’s recommendations; to usher in legislative reforms to ensure laws are in line with international human rights standards; to bring to account those responsible for abuses; to release all prisoners of conscience and to conduct investigations into allegations of torture.
An 11-year-old boy, Ali Hassan, was also arrested in Bahrain in May 2012. He was released on 5 July after a Juvenile Court convicted him on charges of “participating with others in an illegal gathering of more than five people, in order to disturb public security by way of violence” under articles purporting to the Juvenile Laws and Articles 178 and 179 of Bahrain’s Penal Code and sentenced him to remain under supervision for a year during which he would be assessed every six months by social workers. Further info: MDE 11/043/2012, www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE11/043/2012/en
- KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN
- Jehad Sadeq Aziz Salman and Ebrahim Ahmed Radi al-Moqdad
- 8 Jul 2020
- Distribution date:
- 9 Oct 2013
- UA No:
Two Bahraini boys, Jehad Sadeq ‘Aziz Salman and Ebrahim Ahmed Radi al-Moqdad, had their 10-year prison sentences upheld by the High Criminal Court of Appeal.
On 29 September the High Criminal Court of Appeal in Manama upheld the 10-year prison sentences against Jehad Sadeq ‘Aziz Salman and Ebrahim Ahmed Radi al-Moqdad, both aged 16. The two children had been convicted under articles of the Bahrain Penal Code and the 2006 anti-terrorist law with “intending to murder policemen”, “burning tyres on a main road”, “using force against two policemen, “burning a police car”, “illegal gathering” in order “to commit crimes and undermine public security”, and “possession of Molotov cocktails”.
The court also upheld prison sentences against four men, three to 15 years and one to 10 years, on similar charges. Two of the men were not present in court and had also been sentenced at their original trial in their absence.
The boys were originally sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment on 4 April. According to one of the children’s lawyers their conviction was based on “confessions" that they allege they were forced to sign, without the presence of a lawyer or a family member, and which they recanted during the trial. The children are being held at Jaw Prison for adults, around 30km south of the capital Manama, where they are housed in Bloc 3 along with men aged 20 and over.
The trial of Jehad Sadeq Aziz Salman, Ebrahim Ahmed Radi al-Moqdad and the four male adults began on 16 October 2012 before the High Criminal Court in Manama, which issued verdicts against all six on 4 April 2013. The two teenagers and the two adults who appeared in court were arrested on 23 July 2012 during an anti-government protest in Bilad al-Qadeem, west of Manama. When the two children finally saw their families they told them they had been beaten in detention. One of the adults told the court how he had lost the hearing in one ear and was suffering back pain as a result of being beaten in custody.
In the last two years scores of Bahraini children have been detained in connection with ongoing anti-government protests. They have been accused of participating in “illegal gatherings”, rioting, burning tyres and throwing Molotov cocktails at police patrols, among other offences. Some have been released but dozens are currently being tried or held without trial, pending investigation. In a number of cases children have reportedly been tortured or otherwise ill-treated in order to force them to sign “confessions”. In other cases they have been formally charged with criminal offences under the Penal Code and the 2006 anti-terrorism law, tried as adults and then convicted and sentenced to prison terms.
Provisions in Bahraini legislation with regards to children, including those affecting children in conflict with the law, flout international standards of juvenile justice. Bahrain’s Penal Code (Article 32) establishes a minimum age of criminal responsibility of 15, but in reality the legal minimum age of criminal responsibility is seven years, which is extremely low compared to internationally accepted standards. According to the 1976 Juvenile Law a child in Bahrain is someone not exceeding 15 years of age, whereas the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by Bahrain in 1992, defines a child as anyone below the age of 18. On 6 August 2013 the King, Shaikh Hamad Bin ‘Issa Al Khalifa, issued two emergency decrees including one amending the 1976 juvenile law, which now stipulates that if anyone under 16 years of age takes part in a demonstration, public gathering or sit-in, his or her parents will be warned in writing by the Ministry of Interior. If six months after the warning the juvenile is found in a new demonstration his or her father could face jail, a fine or both.
Principles of juvenile justice, which would apply to anyone under the age of 18 who comes into contact with the criminal justice system, include: detention or imprisonment only as a measure of last resort - under regular review and for the shortest appropriate time and a commitment to the use of alternatives to detention whenever possible; prohibition of solitary confinement; separation of children in detention facilities from adult detainees; attention to the particular needs of children in custody; and an emphasis on reformation and social rehabilitation of child prisoners.
Two and a half years after the popular uprising in Bahrain, and beneath the fanfare of reform, prisoners of conscience, including some arrested during the protests, remain behind bars and the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly continue to be suppressed. In recent months not only have prisoners of conscience not been released, but more people have been jailed simply for daring to express their views, whether via Twitter or on peaceful marches. Bahraini courts have appeared more concerned with toeing the government’s line than offering effective remedy to Bahrainis and upholding the rule of law.
On 12 September the European Parliament passed a resolution calling for the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Bahrain. Amongst other recommendations, the resolution urges the Bahraini authorities to respect the rights of juveniles, to refrain from detaining them in adult facilities, and to treat juveniles in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Bahrain is a party. Also in mid-September a joint statement signed by 47 countries at the UN Human Rights Council expressed concerns about ongoing human rights violations in Bahrain.
Name: Jehad Sadeq Aziz Salman and Ebrahim Ahmed Radi al-Moqdad
Gender m/f: m
Further information UA: 236/12 Index: MDE 11/046/2013 Issue Date: 30 September