Bahrain: Arbitrary arrest and detention of Mrs. Ebtisam Al-Saegh

Urgent Appeal

BHR 003 / 0717 / OBS 076
Arbitrary detention /
Judicial harassment

July 5, 2017

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Bahrain.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the arbitrary arrest and detention of Mrs. Ebtisam Al-Saegh, Monitoring and Documentation Officer at the NGO Salam for Democracy and Human Rights.

According to the information received, on July 4, 2017, at approximatively 12:45am, armed, masked and plain clothed officers from the Bahrain security forces raided Mrs. Ebtisam Al-Saegh’s home and arrested her without any warrant. It is feared that the security forces officers might belong to the National Security Agency (NSA).

Following her arrest, Mrs. Ebtisam Al-Saegh was briefly seen by detainees in the morning of July 4, 2017, at the Isa Town women’s prison visibly in poor physical conditions before being taken away to an undisclosed location. Detainees who could see Mrs. Ebtisam Al-Saegh reported that she may have been beaten.

Although her whereabouts were not immediately disclosed to her family, on July 4, 2017, at around 9pm, Mrs. Ebtisam Al-Saegh called her family from Isa Town women’s prison, where she is being detained in solitary confinement outside of interrogation hours. She reported being interrogated for long hours under though circumstances and being forced to sign on false confessions. She also reported being sent to the Ministry of Interior’s clinic in Al Qaalaa, were she was diagnosed with low blood pressure.

As of publication of this Urgent Appeal, Mrs. Ebtisam Al-Saegh had no access to her family or a lawyer. Moreover, no information could be obtained as per potential charges against her.

The Observatory recalls that in May 2017, Mrs. Ebtisam Al-Saegh was previously held, tortured and sexually assaulted by the NSA at Muharraq police station, where she was being detained in connection with her human rights activities [1].

Mrs. Ebtisam Al-Saegh, who together with 22 other human rights defenders in April 2017, was subjected to a travel ban and falsely accused of participating in “illegal gatherings” in the city of Duraz [2], is also the target of a defamation campaign conducted by the pro-government newspaper Al-Ayam, which accused her of fabricating reports on human rights violations in Bahrain. On May 15, 2017, Mrs. Al-Saegh’s car was burnt.

The Observatory expresses its outmost concerns over the arbitrary detention in solitary confinement of Mrs. Ebtisam Al-Saegh and fears that she might be at risk of torture while in detention. The Observatory urges Bahraini authorities to guarantee her physical and psychological integrity, to allow her to access her family and lawyer and to immediately and unconditionally release her.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities in Bahrain, urging them to:

i. Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity of Mrs. Ebtisam Al-Saegh, as well as of all human rights defenders in Bahrain;

ii. Immediately and unconditionally release Mrs. Ebtisam Al-Saegh, as well as all detained human rights defenders in Bahrainas their detention is arbitrary since it only aims at punishing them for their legitimate human rights activities;

iii. Immediately allow Mrs. Ebtisam Al-Saegh to access her family and lawyers and guarantee her right to due process and a fair trial;

iv. Order an immediate, thorough, transparent, effective and impartial investigation into the above-mentioned allegations of torture, ill-treatment, and physical and psychological pressure of Mrs. Ebtisam Al-Saegh by security agents during her interrogation in May 2017 in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before an independent tribunal, and apply the sanctions provided by the law to them;

v. Put an end to all forms of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mrs. Ebtisam Al-Saeghand all human rights defenders in Bahrain, so that they are able to carry out their legitimate activities without hindrance and fear of reprisals;

vi. Comply with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, in particular with its Articles 1, 5(b), and 12.2;

vii.Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Bahrain.


• Cheikh Hamad bin Issa AL KHALIFA, King of Bahrain, Fax: +973 176 64 587
• Cheikh Khaled Bin Ahmad AL KHALIFA, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fax: 00973 17 21 05 75;
• Cheikh Khalid bin Ali AL KHALIFA, Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs, Fax: +973 175 31 284
• Lt. Gen. Cheikh Rashed bin Abdulla AL KHALIFA, Minister of Interior, Email:
• H.E. Mr. Yusuf Abdulkarim Bucheeri, Permanent Mission of Bahrain to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Fax: + 41 22 758 96 50. Email:
• H.E. Ahmed Mohammed Yousif Aldoseri, Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the Kingdom of Belgium, Fax: 0032 (0) 26472274; E-mail:

Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of Bahrain in your respective country.

Paris-Geneva, July 5, 2017

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and OMCT. The objective of this programme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
· E-mail:
· Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
· Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

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