Recommendation 1722 (d)

To avoid detention without prompt access to lawyers and without access to the outside world for more than two or three days. In any event, all detention should be subject to effective monitoring by an independent body. Moreover, every person arrested should be given a copy of the arrest warrant and no person should be held incommunicado. Arrested persons should have access to their legal counsel and family visits in the same way as any person detained under the Bahrain Code of Criminal Procedure.

Status

The practice of arrests during night raids continues. The Head of Monitoring and Follow Up at the Bahrain Center for Human Rights claimed on 6 March that individuals arrested during night raids were not shown warrants, and police stations had no details on the whereabouts of the detainees:

Warrantless arrests violate the spirit of this recommendation.

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights reports, based on witness and victim testimony, that a youth hostel and a municipal building are among locations that have been converted into "unofficial" centers of detention and abuse. An activist posted pictures showing a large number of police cars in the hostel's parking lot, a picture of the hostel with the sign apparently removed, and pictures showing construction of a large concrete wall around the hostel. The existence of unofficial detention centers violates the spirit of this recommendation, as such centers are likely not subject to independent monitoring.

The Minister of Interior issued a decision on 30 January 2012 requiring all arrestees to be held at Dry Dock detention center, under the supervision of the Ministry of Interior's Inspector General. The decision was published in the Official Gazette on 1 March 2012. There is concern about the recently re-appointed Ministry of Interior Inspector General, as he has previously denied torture, and there are serious torture allegations against his son. See recommendation 1717 for more details.

Government Claim

(source: www.govactions.bh on 3/3/2012)

On (b) the External Legal Experts have advised that "effective monitoring by an independent body" of detention facilities could be carried out by the National Human Rights Institution, provided it is established in accordance with the Paris Principles. Cabinet has before it draft legislation for the establishment of the NHRI in accordance with the Paris Principles. This legislation expressly envisages, at Article 5(b), that the NHRI would monitor detention facilities.

The MOI signed a memorandum of understanding with the ICRC on 8 December 2011. The ICRC is conducting visits of all detention facilities and will be giving advice and assistance to the MOI in its reform efforts.

A new detention centre was opened in January 2012 at Dry Dock prison. This will be where all detainees charged with offences but not yet convicted will be held. The centre will be supervised by the Inspector-General at the MOI, moving to the authority outside the MoI in due course, as advised by the External Legal Experts.

On (a) and (c), further to the order of the Minister of Interior dated 22 December 2011, a new procedure was put in place whereby all those arrested must co-sign (with the arresting/supervising officer) a document listing the arrestees' rights. The checklist includes a box that reminds the officer that

(a) an arrest warrant must be shown to the arrestee (with a copy also made available);

(b) the arrestee must also be given the right to call their lawyer immediately; and

(c) family visits should be recorded and allowed in accordance with Bahrain Code of Criminal Procedure. The checklist is electronic and saved on a central system; the files and the police stations will be the subject of random checks by senior officers.

Recommendation 1722 (d)
Avoid incommunicado detention for more than two to three days, all detention should be monitored by an independent body, everyone arrested should be given a copy of the arrest warrant
Status: Violated
Government claim: Implemented

Summary:

  • Violation A human rights organization has reported abduction and detention in "unofficial" detention centers
  • Inaction No clear timetable for independent monitoring of prisons; meanwhile, MoI Inspector General with torture links will monitor prisons
  • Violation Warrantless arrests have been reported