In its monthly report, BFHR highlighted that the west-backed Al Khalifa regime committed 995 serious human rights violations between January 1 and January 31, 2018, including arbitrary arrests, house raids, unfair trials, suppression of peaceful protests, restrictions on freedom of movement, prohibition of Friday prayers, inflammatory media materials that incite hate speech, enforced disappearances, torture and ill-treatment, Bahrain Mirror reported. Arbitrary arrests, raids and restrictions on freedom of movement
121 cases of arbitrary arrest, including 6 children, were recorded, climaxing on January 23, 2018 and amounting to 44 unlawful arrests and 138 raids on houses and residential establishments that were carried out without arrest warrants, and in a manner that spreads terror among citizens. In addition, the freedom of movement was violated through the continuation of the security siege on Duraz for 589 days and the imposition of house arreston the highest religious authority for the Shiite Muslims in Bahrain, Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim, for 252 days without a judicial order or administrative decision.
On January 31, 2018, Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim was transferred to the hospital after a13-day deliberate delay by the authorities, as he was scheduled for surgery on January 18, 2018, therefore his rights to treatment and to freedom of movement were violated.
Meanwhile,the security authorities continued to violate freedom of religion and belief by banning Friday prayers at Duraz for 4 times in January, bringing the number to81 preventions since 2016. In addition, 200 Bahraini citizens have been accused or arrested in the Public Prosecution and presented to the Bahraini judiciary for reasons relating to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Hate speech: 342 media materials
342 media materials and messages that incite or help to incite hatred against human rights defenders, political activists and Bahraini citizens were observed in January. Those materials are divided into 89 media articles published in the official press and 253 materials published on social media by users that include official and media figures, such as Assistant Undersecretary for Information and Follow-up at the Prime Minister's Court, Ibrahim Al-Dosari,Ministry of Information Affairs' adviser, Sawsan Al-Shaer, former MP Mohammed Khaled, and journalists Faisal Al-Sheikh, Farid Hassan, Mona Mutawa and SaeedAl-Hamad.
The media materials inciting hatred published in local press are as follows: 18 articles in the Bahraini Al-Ayam newspaper, 25 articles in Akhbar Al-Khaleej newspaper, 13 articles in the Bahraini Al-Bilad newspaper, and 33 articles in the Bahraini Al-Watan newspaper. Torture, ill-treatment, enforced disappearance and destruction of property
18 cases of torture and ill-treatment, which climaxed on January 14, 2018, were observed.The cases include four women and eight children - one of them an infant - who were subjected to ill-treatment while attempting to enter the sieged area of Duraz. In addition, three children from Buri were also subjected to ill-treatment. The detained child, Sayed Hadi Ali Ne'ma from Iskan Aali and detainee Ammar AbdulGhani from Al-Daih were subjected to torture. Moreover, the right to treatment and healthcare of Hasan Mushaima, Secretary General of the Movement for Civil Liberties and Democracy (HAQ), was violated. Moreover, 2 cases of destruction of property were observed on January 24 and January 27, 2018. Also, 17 cases of enforced disappearance of Bahraini citizens were observed, including Ali Hussein Jassem who disappeared for 45 days, Salman Ismail who disappeared for 40 days, Hussain Humaid Madan who disappeared for 28 days, Mustafa Bahr who disappeared for 27 days, Abbas Rahma who disappeared for 20 days and Mansour Al-Dulabi who disappeared for 20 days.The cases of enforced disappearances were regionally distributed as follows:10 cases from Duraz, 3 cases from Nuwaidrat, and 1 case from each of Manama,Abu Saiba, Bilad Al-Qadeem, and Barbar. Unfair trials
In addition, 77 Bahraini citizens were handed arbitrary sentences, which climaxed on the 24th and 29th of January, 2018, amounting to 24 cases. The total arbitrary sentences amounted to the following: 679 years of imprisonment, 3 years of imprisonment suspended for one year term, total fines of US $268,000, 39 sentences of revoking nationalities, and 10 sentences of deporting citizens whose nationalities were revoked, four of them were deported before January 1, 2018. In addition, the death sentence against Maher Al-Khabaz was upheld,even though four UN experts issued a report saying that he was subjected to torture and ill-treatment. 2 death sentences were issued against Ali Al-Arab and AhmadAl- Mullali. Also, among those who were arbitrarily imprisoned are 4 women.
The trial hearings,which violate the freedom of political action of Bahraini opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman, as well as two former MPs of the Al-Wefaq parliamentary bloc, Sheikh Hassan Sultan and Ali Al-Aswad, continued.The fourth hearing was held on January 4, 2018 and the fifth hearing on January 25, 2018. In the fifth hearing, Sheikh Ali Salman emphasized that the audio recordings which were used as indictments for the charge of spying for Qatar are cut in a way that distorted their contents.
On January 16,2018, Bahrain's Court of Cassation upheld a two-year prison sentence against Nabeel Rajab, head of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and Deputy Secretary-General of the International Federation for Human Rights. A statement by the Bahrain Center for Human Rights said,"We are very worried about Nabeel's safety and well-being,"adding, "Authorities should release him immediately, drop the charges against him, and investigate thoroughly his possible ill-treatment in detention."
Appeals hearings at the military judiciary for 17 civilians and one soldier continued to be held,in which civilian victims were tortured and ill-treated. Three appeals hearings were held on January 10, 14 and 31, 2018, and the case was reserved until February 21, 2018 without investigating the torture complaints which include 11 violations: torture by electric shock, enforced disappearance, sleep andbathing deprivation, severe beatings and solitary confinement. On December 25, 2017,the military court sentenced five civilians and one soldier to death in this case, including human rights activist and head of Liberties and Human Rights Department at Al-Wefaq Society, Mohammed Al-Motaghawi, and the personal escort of Sheikh Isa Qassim, communications engineer Sayed Alawi Hussein. 145 Violations Monitored on 7th Anniversary of Uprising
The human rights organization in a separate report said that 145 serious human rights violations were observed only on 14 February, when Bahraini nation marked the seventh anniversary of their popular uprising.
BFHR added in a statement on Friday (February 16, 2018) that he violations varied between arbitrary arrests, suppression of peaceful protests, enforced disappearances, restrictions on freedom of movement, raids on homes, residential facilities and areas, unfair trials, confiscation or destruction of property, and broadcast of hate speech in the official press and social networking sites.
It pointed out that Bahrain witnessed more than 100 protest activities in 40 districts, pointing out that the activities included 66 peaceful gatherings and dozens of various protest activities such as closing shops, turning lights off, evening prayer session, etc. The BFHR added that 17 peaceful gatherings were subjected to excessive repression leaving 10 Injuries, 9 of which were due to the use of the internationally prohibited shotguns in the areas of Abu Saiba, Sitra, Al-Musalla and Al-Daih, and one case of suffocation in Al-Daih.
The BFHR added that there were 59 illegal raids on private residences and public facilities, pointing out that members of the security services deliberately raided the areas in an intimidating manner. The BFHR also said that 3 cases of property confiscation by the security authorities and one case of property damage were observed, adding that Diraz has been under siege for 605 days, since June 20, 2016. The forum further added that the leader of the Shiite community in Bahrain, Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Ahmed Qassim has been placed under house arrest by the authorities for 267 days, since May 23, 2017, without a judicial order or administrative decision.
Bahrain Forum for Human Rights further said that 31 media articles and messages that incite or encourage to incite hatred were observed in five articles in Bahraini Al-Watan and Akhbar Al-Khaleej newspapers and 26 post on social networking sites.