Husain AlSari was a 23-year-old employee when he was arrested by authorities at the Central Investigation Department (CID). Husain was tortured, unlawfully detained and forced to sign a confession to crimes he did not commit. Despite a medical report proving he was at the hospital the day the crime was committed, he was found guilty and also charged with additional crimes while in prison. He remains in Jau Prison to this day.
Husain received a summon to his house on 23 October 2014 requesting his presence at the CID in Adliya without mentioning the reason for the arrest or the charges. He went on the same day and was promptly arrested and sent to interrogations blindfolded and handcuffed and was put in a dark cell alone. At 10:00 a.m. he was called by Office 99, a department at the CID, and was tortured in order to extract a confession. He endured insults and defamation at the hands of CID officers, who undressed him and hit him with wooden and iron boards, despite his injury and pain in his knee as a result of his injury while playing soccer at Sitra Club. Husain suffered from pain in his head as a result of the severe beatings, to which he was denied medical treatment. He was also coerced into signing a statement confessing to charges brought against him, and eventually confessed to stop the torture. He was transferred from the CID to the Public Prosecution Office (PPO) 10 hours later, before being transferred to Dry Dock Detention Center at 2:10 a.m. on 24 October 2014. His lawyer was not permitted to attend the interrogation. Husain was only allowed contact with his family two weeks after his arrest.
Husain had been informed after his arrest that he was charged with burning a car belonging to 2014 parliamentary elections candidate Sheikh Majeed AlAsfoor in the city of Sitra. When AlAsfoor was present at the prosecution on 21 October 2014 before Husain’s arrest, he did not accuse anyone of burning his car. Later, he dropped all charges as he believed Husain was innocent. In addition, a knee ligament in one of Hussein’s feet was injured due to playing football at Sitra Football Club, and he was undergoing treatment at Aali Hospital on the day of the burning of AlAsfoor’s car, with an operation being scheduled for him before he was arrested. The family submitted medical reports from Aali Hospital to the court confirming their claims that Hussain was in the hospital on the day of the accident, as evidence of his innocence and also of the impossibility of him participating in assemblies or gatherings on that day.
Despite evidence of his innocence, Husain was charged with: Assembly, arson, rioting and possession of explosive material in the first case. While in prison, he was charged with a second case, assaulting a police officer. On 6 September 2015, Husain was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the first case, which was reduced to 7 years in March 2016 as a result of the appeal. As for the second case, he was sentenced for 3 years in prison on 11 January 2015, which was reduced to 2 years as a result of the appeal, making the total of his sentence after appeal 9 years in prison. Husain was also denied access to an attorney and did not have adequate time and facilities to prepare for trial.
The treatment Husain has suffered at the hands of Bahraini authorities, from his arrest to the torture and mistreatment he endured during detention, to being deprived of a fair trial, constitutes violations of international law, including the Convention Against Torture and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, both of which were ratified by Bahrain. ADHRB calls upon the authorities to drop the preselected charges against Husain and to investigate claims of torture and inhumane treatment by CID officers in order to hold those officials accountable. Finally, ADHRB urges Bahraini authorities to hold a retrial for Husain that respects international standards and take into consideration all pieces of evidence.
This post was originally published on Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain.