Please take action on behalf of seven detained human rights defenders Hassan Abdelnabi Hassan, Maytham Badar Jassim Al-Sheikh, Naji Ali Fateel, Mohammed Abdallah Al Singais and Ahmad Jaffar Mohammed Ali in Kingdom of Bahrain
Copy the enclosed letter and send it to the address provided.
Thank you for taking action on behalf of Hassan Abdelnabi Hassan, Maytham Badar Jassim Al-Sheikh, Naji Ali Fateel, Mohammed Abdallah Al Singais and Ahmad Jaffar Mohammed Ali.
HM Shaikh Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa,
King of Bahrain,
Office of the King,
The Amiri Court,
PO Box 555,
Kingdom of Bahrain
I am deeply concerned following the sentencing of detained human rights defenders Hassan Abdelnabi Hassan, Maytham Badar Jassim Al-Sheikh, Naji Ali Fateel, Mohammed Abdallah Al Singais and Ahmad Jaffar Mohammed Ali to between one and seven years' imprisonment. Hassan Abdelnabi Hassan, Maytham Badar Jassim Am-Sheikh, Ahmad Jaffar Mohammed Ali, members of the Unemployment Committee; Naji Ali Fateel, member of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR), and Mohammed Abdullah Al Sengais, head of the Committee to Combat High Prices, were arrested between 21 and 28 December 2007 on charges of participation in an ‘illegal gathering and rioting’ and of ‘theft of a weapon and ammunition and possession of a weapon and ammunition without permission’.
On 13 July 2008, the court sentenced Hassan Abdelnabi Hassan to seven years' imprisonment and a fine of 10,000 Bahraini Dinar (approximately US $26,500); Maytham Badar Jassim Al-Sheikh, Naji Ali Fateel, and Mohammed Abdallah Al Singais were all sentenced to five years, and Ahmad Jaffar Mohammed Ali was sentenced to one year in prison. Abdullah Mohsen Abdulah Saleh, head of the Committee to Combat High Prices, and Ebrahim Mohamed Amin-Al-Arab, founding member of the Martyrs and Victims Committee, were cleared of all charges.
I ha previously expressed its grave concern regarding the conditions of detention and the reported ill-treatment and torture of the aforementioned human rights defenders in urgent actions on 5 and 16 January 2008, 6 and 13 February 2008, 14 March 2008 and 17 April 2008. In addition to the allegations of torture and ill-treatment received, there have been delays and postponements in the judicial proceedings against the men which have allegedly not been in accordance with due process.
I welcome the acquittal of Abdullah Mohsen Abdulah Saleh and Ebrahim Mohamed Amin-Al-Arab but reiterates its grave concern that the conviction and sentencing of the aforementioned five human rights defenders is directly related to their legitimate and peaceful activities in defence of human rights in Bahrain. In view of allegations of serious ill-treatment and torture of the human rights defenders while in detention awaiting trial, I am extremely concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of the men during their custodial sentences.
I urge the authorities in Bahrain to:
1. Grant the immediate and unconditional release of Hassan Abdelnabi Hassan, Maytham Badar Jassim Al-Sheikh, Naji Ali Fateel, Mohammed Abdullah Al Singais, and Ahmad Jaffar Mohammed Ali, as I believe that they have been convicted solely on the basis of their legitimate and peaceful activities in defence of human rights;
2. Ensure that the right to appeal the verdict is fully respected in this case and initiate an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the reports of torture and ill-treatment with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice;
3. Take measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of the aforementioned human rights defenders while in detention and ensure their treatment adheres to all those conditions set out in the ‘Basic Principles for Treatment of Prisoners, adopted by General Assembly resolution 45/111 of 14 December 1990’; and is in accordance with Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment;
4. Guarantee in all circumstances that human rights defenders and human rights organisations in Bahrain are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals, and free of all restrictions, including judicial harassment.
I respectfully remind you that the United Nations Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, adopted by consensus by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1998, recognises the legitimacy of the activities of human rights defenders, their right to freedom of association and to carry out their activities without fear of reprisals.
I would particularly draw attention to Article 6 which states that: “Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others: (b) As provided for in human rights and other applicable international instruments, freely to publish, impart or disseminate to others views, information and knowledge on all human rights and fundamental freedoms; (c) To study, discuss, form and hold opinions on the observance, both in law and in practice, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and, through these and other appropriate means, to draw public attention to those matters.”