in implementing the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry
Recommendation 1722 (b)
To establish a standing independent body to examine all complaints of torture or ill-treatment, excessive use of force or other abuses at the hands of the authorities. The burden of proving that treatment complies with the prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment should be on the State.
While the government is planning to have the Public Prosecution (headed by the Attorney General) fulfill this role, there are serious questions about the impartiality of the Public Prosecution, see recommendation 1716 for details. Meanwhile, failure to implement this recommendation has led to police impunity in ongoing torture and abuse.
Kidnapping and abuse
In a recent case, a boy was kidnapped by thugs backed by police, abused, and released. Irish activist Elaine Masons who spent a week in Bahrain before being deported recounted his story to Bahrain Watch:
He told me that this was the third time he was kidnapped, and before 14 February 2011 he was imprisoned for one month in a political case. On 15 February 2012, he received a phone call from a blocked number and they told him they were coming to get him. He was outside his home in the village when a car with four hooded men grabbed him, put a bag over his head, tied his hands behind his back and drove off to an unknown location. They cut his body and beat him and then drove back to his village and dumped him out of the car on the road. They did not sexually assault him on this occasion, but did sexually assault him on the previous occasions.... This young boy is only 16 and has been through so much and is truly in fear for his life. After the incident, the people that did this to him posted a tweet of what they had done and named him in the tweet.Elaine Masons
Pictures of the victim's wounds, which Elaine cleaned:
Sayed Yousif Almuhafdah, the Head of Monitoring & Follow Up at the Bahrain Center for Human Rights posted the following photographs on 27 February 2012. Elaine Masons confirmed to Bahrain Watch that the photos below show the same individual as above, some weeks later. Additional cuts are visible on his body. Both Sayed Yousif and Elaine report that on this occasion, he was threatened with rape and death if he did not become an informant. Elaine reports that the perpetrators in this case were said to be from the Criminal Investigation Directorate (CID).
On 21 March 2012, the same boy was kidnapped and cut again. He was found unconscious lying in a garage with no underwear and his pants pulled down, cuts all over his arms and legs, and his hands tied behind his back. The boy reported that non-Bahraini agents from the Criminal Investigation Directorate (CID) had beat him and cut him with knives when he refused to work as an informant for them. It was also said that he was sexually harassed. Elaine Masons, in touch with activists on the ground, reported that the kidnapping happened on the way to school, and that the perpetrators were the same in this incident as the two incidents described above.
Freedom House identified the victim as Ali al-Singace, nephew of Bahraini activist Abduljalil al-Singace, currently serving a live sentence in prison. A video shows people trying to free his hands, and pictures are available below.
The Public Prosecution promised an investigation into this case, the results of which were released two days later on 23 March. The government's investigation found that he had fabricated his injuries. His lawyer apparently requested an independent forensic examination, but the request was not considered.
Public Prosecution: Investigation of the case of alleged assault of a child in Sanabis revealed that he injured himself bna.bh/portal/news/50.— Ministry of Interior (@moi_bahrain) March 23, 2012
Beatings, brutal arrests, and torture
Victims' bodies in several recent deaths have shown signs of torture or abuse. There has been no accountability in these cases, as well as several other high-profile cases, such as the December police beating of youths on a roof seen below.
The incident was captured from five other angles, and two videos show the scene on the roof after the beating. The government promised an investigation, though there have been no updates since the initial promise.
Legal Affairs at MOI suspended some police personnel to investigate attack case against citizens in Shakhura yesterday (Friday)— Ministry of Interior (@moi_bahrain) December 17, 2011
Police still brutalize arrestees, as can be seen in the below video from 12 February 2012.
|(source: www.govactions.bh on 3/3/2012)|
The External Legal Experts have advised that the "standing body" role can be fulfilled by the office of the Attorney-General. The UNODC will provide technical assistance with implementing this recommendation as (see recommendation 1717) as will ISISC (see recommendation 1722(a)).
|Recommendation 1722 (b)|
|Establish an independent body to examine all complains of torture, excessive use of force, or other abuses by authorities|
|Government claim: Implemented|