Bahrain: arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Mr. Hussain Jawad

Urgent Appeal
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The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the ongoing arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Mr. Hussain Jawad, Chairman of the European-Bahraini Organisation for Human Rights (EBOHR).

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

Description of the situation:

According to the information received, on March 17, 2015, Mr. Jawad will appear before the Lower Criminal Court on charges of “collecting funds from Bahrain and abroad without authorisation" . During the investigation related to these charges, Mr. Jawad reported that he signed confessions under torture and threats from Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) (see background information).

The Observatory calls on the Bahraini authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Jawad, and drop all charges against him as he is targeted solely for his legitimate human rights activities.

The Observatory is further concerned by the allegations of ill-treatment and torture during detention (see background information), and urges the authorities to guarantee the physical and mental integrity of Mr. Jawad, as well as to open immediate and effective investigations into these allegations.

The Observatory more generally urges the Bahraini authorities to put an end to all acts of harassment – including at the judicial and physical levels – against Mr. Jawad, and to comply with relevant international human rights standards and instruments, in particular the United Nations (UN) Convention Against Torture, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998.

Background information:

On February 16 2015, Mr. Hussain Jawad was arrested by masked police officers in plain clothes, who searched his house and confiscated his passport and mobile phone. Mr. Jawad was not informed about the reason of his arrest. After 10 hours of incommunicado detention, Mr. Jawad managed to call his wife and inform her that he was detained in the CID. He also informed her that he was ill-treated in detention.

On February 18, Mr. Jawad was taken to the Public Prosecution without his lawyer or family being informed. The Public Prosecution ordered the release of Mr. Jawad pending trial on charges of “illegal gathering” and “rioting”. However, until the time of writing, Mr. Jawad remains held at the CID.

On February 21, Mr. Jawad appeared before the Public Prosecution for another case against him. He appeared to have suffered from physical and psychological torture and ill-treatment. He was allegedly beaten, threatened with death, and threatened that his wife would be harmed. He was also reportedly blind-folded, deprived of sleep and drinking water, and forced to constantly stand. He was also forced to listen to the screams of other inmates who appeared to have been electrically shocked, in order to scare him into signing confessions. His hands appeared to be swollen and bruised as a result of the hand-cuffs that were not removed since his arrest.

He was also denied to go to the bathroom, and was beaten when he requested to do so. He was denied contact with his family and lawyer, and only managed to call his wife twice. When he informed her in the first call that he was hurt, he suffered retaliation. He was also sexually harassed where he was stripped naked and groped.

During the interrogation at the Public Prosecution, Mr. Jawad appeared to be not fully conscious, hallucinating and falling asleep. His clothes were covered with urine. He was forced to sign confessions obtained under torture. He is now facing new charges based on these confessions of “collecting funds from Bahrain and abroad without authorisation”. The Prosecution then ordered him seven days detention pending investigation.

On February 23, Mr. Jawad was brought to the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) for interrogation about the complaint filed by his lawyers for allegations of torture. On March 11, Mr. Jawad’s wife, Ms. Asma Darwish, was summoned to testify before the SIU as a witness.

Mr. Hussain Jawad was previously arrested on November 23, 2013, and was interrogated about a speech he gave at a protest rally in 2013. He was released on bail on January 9, 2014, and remains charged with “criticising government institutions”, “insulting the flag and emblem of the country”, “attempting to disrupt public security” and “illegal gathering”.

Actions requested:

The Observatory urges the authorities of Bahrain to:

i. Guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Hussain Jawad and all human rights defenders in Bahrain;

ii. Immediately release Mr. Hussain Jawad and drop all charges against him, and against all human rights defenders arbitrarily arrested and judicially harassed in Bahrain;

iii. Carry out an independent and effective investigation into the allegations of torture and ill-treatment against Mr. Hussain Jawad, in order to identify all those responsible and apply them the sanctions provided by law;

iv. Put an end to any act of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Hussain Jawad and against all human rights defenders in Bahrain;

v. Conform in any circumstances with the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted on December 9, 1998 by the United Nations General Assembly, in particular:
- its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually or in association with others, to promote the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels” ;
-  its Article 6 (c) which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others 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” ;
-  and its Article 12.2 which states that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”.

vi. 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, Tel: +973 172 27 555; Fax : +973 172 12 6032
• Cheikh Khalid bin Ali AL KHALIFA, Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs, Tel: +973 175 31 333; Fax: +973 175 31 284
• Lt. Gen. Cheikh Rashed bin Abdulla AL KHALIFA, Minister of Interior, Tel: +973 17572222 and +973 17390000. Email:
• Permanent Mission of Bahrain to the United Nations in Geneva, 1 chemin Jacques-Attenville, 1218 Grand-Saconnex, CP 39, 1292 Chambésy, Switzerland. Fax: + 41 22 758 96 50. Email:

Please also write to diplomatic representations of Bahrain in your respective countries.

Paris-Geneva, March 16, 2015.

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

The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.

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