4 July 2017
The signatory human rights organizations denounce the new arrest campaign against one of its cadres and members, human rights defender Ebtisam Alsaegh and independent human rights activist Mohammed Khalil AlShakhouri by masked security forces in plain clothes who stormed their homes at dawn today.
On the morning of 4 July, armed and masked security personnel stormed the house of human rights defender Ebtisam Alsaegh without providing search or arrest warrants, during which she was handcuffed and transferred to the Criminal Investigation Directorate CID, as they claimed. It is the very same directorate, in which hundreds of activists and opponents reported being subjected to torture.
It is in the same time when security forces in civilian clothes raided the house of independent human rights activist Mohammed Khalil AlShakhouri and transferred him to the same administration, where there are real fears for their wellbeing and exposure to torture again during interrogation sessions.
It is worth mentioning that this is the second time that AlShakhouri and Alsaegh have been arrested in two months, where they have been arrested in May of this year for several hours at the National Security Agency NSA facility in Muharraq City. They reported severe beatings, electric shocks and sexual harassment in order to forcing them to suspend their activities and work in the field of human rights and to announce this through social networks such as Twitter.
Prior to the drafting and writing of this statement, Bahraini human rights organizations received information that human rights defender Ebtisam Alsaegh was seen in Isa Town Women Prison where she was transferred to solitary confinement for a few hours and then taken back to an unknown destination. Reports testified that Alsaegh was seen in a poor physical state, which raises doubts that it is being subject to ill-treatment and torture.
Amnesty International also issued a statement last month condemning the arrest of Alsaegh and demanding that those involved in the torture be held accountable. Alsaegh gave testimonies to a number of international human rights organizations.
The signatory human rights organizations believe that the recent arrest of Mrs. Alsaegh and Mr. AlShakhouri came as revenge for their outspokenness in exposing their torture, ill-treatment and sexual assault to international human rights organizations.
The signatories also see that Mrs. Alsaegh and Mr. AlShakhouri’s valor in revealing what happened to them and working in exposing the perpetrators of torture in the National Security apparatus is a courageous and is what the activities and actions of human rights organizations and bodies is based on. The promotion of human rights principles and pressure to end any violation challenging those principles.
These arrests are a message of intimidation to all those who seek to expose the crimes of torture committed by the Bahraini authorities through their security apparatuses in a systematic and rapid ways. When the purpose of this intimidation is to silence and implicate all voices demanding respect for human rights and effective pressure to end any practices that would confuse the principles of human rights and its internationally respected values.
The signatory human rights organizations call in this statement on the authorities in Bahrain to:
1. Immediately and unconditionally release human rights activists Ebtisam Alsaegh and Muhammad AlShakhouri.
2. Stop targeting human rights activists and allow them to carry out their work without any harassment or retaliation campaigns.
3. Immediately release all human rights activists who have been imprisoned for their peaceful human rights activities.
4. Pursue accountability of those responsible for the torture of Alsaegh and AlShakhouri in the security facility of the National Security Agency NSA in the city of Muharraq.
5. Stop using torture as a mean of pressure to extract false and unreal confessions.
6. Respect article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which stipulate that no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
7. Respect the obligations of the Government of Bahrain to protect human rights defenders and protecting the right to opinion and expression.
8. Allow the Special Rapporteur on Torture and Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders to an urgent visit to Bahrain.
• SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights
• Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR)
• The European-Bahraini Organisation for Human Rights (EBOHR)
• Bahrain Forum for Human Rights
• Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR)