Allegation letter to UN Special Rapporteurs concerning Jaafar al Hasabi
Jaafar Al Hasabi is a Bahraini/British national who was granted asylum in the United Kingdom after having been tortured in Bahrain for his political activities in 1994.
In August 2010, while on a trip back to Bahrain to visit his family, Mr Al Hasabi was arrested at the airport by several plain-clothes officials. His arrest was part of a crackdown on political activists – 23 of whom were arrested around the same time.
Mr Al Hasabi was held in detention for more than six months. In the initial stages of his detention he was held incommunicado, denied access to a lawyer and his family and subjected to severe physical and mental torture at the hands of the National Security Agency including beatings, electric shocks, falaqa, threats to his family, continuous forced standing and use of stress positions, sleep deprivation, blindfolding and verbal abuse. In the later stages of his detention Mr Al Hasabi was treated in a degrading manner and held in inhuman conditions.
Following his arrest, Mr Al Hasabi was charged with criminal offences based solely on confessions obtained under torture and was brought to trial with the 22 other detainees late in 2010. The allegations of torture made by Mr Al Hasabi and other detainees were raised on numerous occasions before the Bahraini courts by lawyers in the trial. However, no independent investigation was carried out into the allegations, no independent medical examination was allowed and to our knowledge no person has been punished for these extremely serious violations.
On 23 February 2011, Mr Al Hasabi and the other political detainees were released by the King following a popular uprising in Bahrain. However, soon after, a renewed crackdown resulted in orders for their re-arrest and detention. By that time, Mr Al Hasabi had been able to return to the UK, but five others of the 23 political detainees have been redetained and sentenced to long terms of imprisonment by a military court without fair trial guarantees, while many others remain in hiding. Both the UN Secretary General and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights have spoken out against the trials, with the High Commissioner expressing “serious concerns that the due process rights of the defendants, many of whom are well-known human rights defenders, were not respected”, and adding that they “the trials appear to bear the marks of political persecution”.
REDRESS has written to UN special rapporteurs on human rights to bring Mr Al Hasabi’s case to their attention.
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