Bahrain: Ongoing Incommunicado Detention of Two Detainees in Absence of Known Official Charges

Left: Sayed Alawi Hussain, Right: Sayed Fadhel Radhi

Two men have been detained incommunicado in Bahrain for months. For nearly three months, since his arrest, Sayed Fadhel Abbas Radhi has been detained without access to family or lawyer. Similarly, Sayed Alawi Hussain has spent nearly two months in detention without access to family or lawyer and without being informed of the official charges against him. The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) strongly condemns the practice of incommunicado detention and expresses great concern over the safety of the victims and their wellbeing.

On 29 September 2016, Sayed Fadhel Abbas Radhi (24-years-old) was arrested during a house raid at his home at 3AM by security men in civilian clothes who jumped over the walls and broke into the house without showing any arrest or search warrants. They asked for Radhi and then immediately handcuffed him and arrested him. They also searched the house and confiscated two telephones. Since then, Radhi’s family was not able to see him or visit him. Despite getting four visit permissions from the public prosecution, the Criminal Investigation Directorate (CID) which is detaining Radhi has refused to allow the family to visit him. During these three months of arrest and up until 10 December 2016, Radhi has called his family three times for short calls. His family told BCHR that on his call on 10 December he sounded very weak and his father didn’t recognize his voice. He has not made any calls nor had no access to his lawyer.

His family filed a case with the ombudsman to be allowed to have access to him. They have also approached the National Human Rights Institute (NHRI) for help.

This is not a unique case of incommunicado detention. BCHR continues to follow the ongoing detention of Sayed Alawi Hussain Alawi (43-years-old), who is in detention since 24 October 2016 without being allowed a single visit by his family or any kind of access to his lawyer. His whereabout and location of detention remained unacknowledged by the authorities for a month after arrest and his family received only two calls from him, the last on 14 December 2016 which ended suddenly when the family asked him about his charges. His lawyer was unable so far to get any information of the official charges from the public prosecution.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture considers that incommunicado detention creates conditions that facilitate the perpetration of torture and can, in itself, constitute a form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or even torture. Indeed, as has been the case in many instances reported by BCHR, the period of disconnecting detainees from contact with the outside world is often the period they are allegedly subjected to torture to force confessions at the notorious CID.

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention considers that incommunicado detention “constitutes the most heinous violation of the norm protecting the right to liberty of human beings under customary international law. The arbitrariness is inherent in these forms of deprivation of liberty as the individual is left outside the cloak of any legal protection.”

According to Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Bahrain acceded in 2006, “Anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release.”

Therefore, BCHR calls on the government of Bahrain to:

  • Immediately release Sayed Fadhel Abbas Radhi and Sayed Alawi Hussain Alawi, who are arbitrarily detained without any access to legal procedure and may be at risk of torture; and
  • Put an end to the practice of enforced disappearance, incommunicado detention and arbitrary arrests in Bahrain.