Friday, June 20, 2014

Bahrain: Enforced disappearance of protester cause for concern in Bahrain


On 18 June 2014, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights expressed grave concern over the wellbeing of Mustafa Bahar, who had been subjected to enforced disappearance for eleven days as of 18 June.

On 7 June, 25 year-old Mustafa Bahar and Redha Al-Bashri, a 15 year-old child, were arrested as a result of an ambush on a protest. The security forces used excessive force against the protesters and eye-witnesses stated that Bahar was severely beaten during his arrest. It was reported that he was taken to the hospital after his injuries, but the BCHR cannot confirm this. Following his arrest, his uncle went to Alwusta police station where they confirmed that Bahar was in their custody, but said he would not allowed to see or speak to his nephew.

At the time of publication, there had been no news of Bahar's health or whereabouts and his family has not received any calls from him. Given the process of most enforced disappearances, it is likely that Bahar is being held at the Criminal Investigation Directorate (CID), which is known to use torture on detainees to extract false confessions. However, the CID has denied that Bahar is currently in their custody.

On 2 October 2011, Bahar was injured by a sound bomb which caused the shattering of his nose and deformation of his face. Following his injury, he was at the ICU for almost a month and underwent several surgeries. This injury still requires medical attention and is cause for serious concern about his current health condition.

Bahara was previously arrested on 5 November 2012 when visiting another youth in prison and on 2 July 2013 while praying alone at the site of a demolished mosque.

The BCHR holds the Minister of Interior fully responsible for any ill-treatment and/or torture of Mustafa Bahar.

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls on the United Kingdom, the United States, and all other close allies of the Bahraini government to pressure the authorities in Bahrain to:
  • Immediately release Mustafa Bahar along with all other prisoners arrested with politically motivated charges;
  • Immediately allow access to adequate medical treatment for all prisoners in Bahrain;
  • Launch an independent fact-finding commission to look into abuses and violations committed by security forces during and after arrests;
  • Immediately put an end to the practice of enforced disappearances by the Bahraini government;
  • End the use of systematic torture as a tool to extract false confessions;
  • End the culture of impunity and hold accountable all officials, especially those holding high positions, who are implicated in human rights violations.