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Bahrain: Trial of Ali Abdulemam and 10 other human rights defenders postponed until 25 November amid renewed allegations of torture
Ali Abdulemam and 10 other human rights defenders have been given a new trial date of 25 November as Front Line reiterates its deep concern over serious allegations of the torture of the detainees. “I was subjected to torture, beatings, insults and verbal abuse. They threatened to dismiss my wife and other family members from their jobs".
In addition to expressing its concern at the alledged use of torture the organisation renews its call for the immediate and unconditional release of the imprisoned human rights defenders on the basis that they have been detained solely on the basis of their legitimate human rights work and that no credible evidence has been presented against them.
Front Line has received detailed reports of the torture of of detainees and calls on the Bahraini authorities to take immediate action to protect the physical and psychological integrity of the human rights defenders and other detainees.
The reports Front Line has received have included allegations of severe beatings, the use of falaqa ( beating on the soles of the feet) hanging by the wrists and sexual assault.
Ali Abdulemam has described how he was tortured.
“I was subjected to torture, beatings, insults and verbal abuse. They threatened to dismiss my wife and other family members from their jobs. I was interrogated in the prosecution without a lawyer, and the officer there who appeared to be from the National Security dismissed my denials to the allegations put against me. He never allowed me to respond to the questions he was asking, but rather answering them himself whilst I was stood behind the door as I was not permitted to sit during the investigation.” – Ali Abdulemam, 28 Oct 2010.
According to other reports received:
“Detainee (..1..) was subjected to severe beatings on his ears and legs, as well as hung in the Falaqa way. The severity of the beatings caused swelling in his feet which made it difficult for him to keep his shoes on. It was obvious that he had pain in his legs and knees during the visit due to torture, and marks of handcuffs around his wrists were apparent despite his long sleeves. He continuously sat with his arms folded across his chest as if ordered to, and was being watched, in an attempt to hide the marks on his wrist”.
“Detainee (..2..) was sexually abused as a plastic rod was forced into his anus. He was also beaten severely on his ears, and the pain was obvious as he kept touching and holding his ears for the length of the visit. He was not able to sit properly due to the sexual assault, and it was difficult for him to stand. He kept massaging his knees the whole time due to the sharp pains he had due to suspicions of beatings on his feet and being hung for long periods in the falaqa way. His children were not allowed in the visitation room this time and were kept outside.
“Detainee (..3..) had clear marks of beatings on his face as it was discolored, as well as on parts of his hands. There were also apparent marks of handcuffs on his wrist caused by long periods of hanging, which looked like had been taken off him right before the visit. The family of detainee (..4..) was forced to leave after less than five minutes because the security forces saw the detainee attempting to reveal torture marks on his chest to his family”.
On 28 October a total of 23 people were detained including human rights defender Ali Abdulemam, 10 other human rights defenders and 12 political activists. All 23 were put on trial in Manama, Bahrain charged with being part of an alleged “terrorist network”.
All of the defendants denied such charges. All but one of the defendants claimed that they had been tortured during their period in detention. The trial was adjourned until 11 November.
The 11 human rights defenders accused of participating in the Terrorist Network are:
1. Ali Abdulemam, arrested on the 4th of September 2010, owner of bahrainonline.org;
2. Dr. Abduljalil Al-Sengais: arrested on 13 August 2010, spokesman and Director of the Human Rights Bureau of the Haq Movement for Civil Liberties and Democracy ;
3. Abdul-Ghani Khanjar: arrested on 15 August 2010 is spokesperson for the Bahraini National Committee for Martyrs and Victims of Torture;
4. Suhail Al-Shehabi: arrested on 19 August 2010 is active in a number of associations including the Committee of the Relatives of Detainees and the Committee of the Unemployed;
5. Ahmed Jawad Al-Fardan: arrested on 19 August 2010 is a member of the Committee of the Relatives of Detainees in Karzakan;
6. Ali Jawad Al-Fardan: arrested on 20 August 2010 is a member of the Committee of the relatives of Detainees in Karzakan;
7. Salman Naji: arrested on 21 August 2010 is a member of the Committee of the Unemployed;8. AbdulHadi Al-Saffar: arrested on 22 August 2010 is chairman of the Committee Against High Prices and actively involved in other associations including the Committee of the Relatives of Detainees;
9. Hassan Al-Haddad: arrested on 23 August 2010. He is member of the Committee of the Unemployed;
10. Mr Jaffar Al-Hessabi, independent human rights defender supporting the rights of detainees in Bahrain, arrested on 16 August 2010;
11. Dr Mohammed Saeed arrested on 17 August is a board member of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights.
While Front Line calls for the immediate release of all 11 human rights defenders it is also calling for an urgent investigation of the allegations of torture.