[The following report was originally published by the Bahrain Center for Human Rights on 17 May 2013.]
Injuries, Arrests and House Raids: Case of a Bahraini Family
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses grave concern at the continuing police of the Bahraini authorities in violating the rights of children, and targeting entire families as retribution.
The family of Ashour Hassan Ali from Samaheej have been the victims of repeated targeting by the Bahraini authorities for the past 2 years. Ashour has three sons, namely Younis (twenty-one years old), Sadiq (nineteen years old), Jassim (sixteen years old) and three daughters.
Ashour Hassan Ali’s home has been raided by security forces more than ten times since the 14th of March 2013 only, during certain months in the past year and a half on a nightly basis, and the family has received more than fifteen summons for their three sons.
Ashour Hassan: “I wish I could die and not live to see this misery where my sons are taken one after the other in front of me and there’s nothing I can do to help them.”
Younis and Sadiq Ashour were both arrested in September 2011 from Samaheej mosque. They were reportedly beaten, blindfolded and taken away. They were charged with arson, and during their imprisonment four more cases were brought against them; and they were interrogated about tire burning in Muharraq, a case of unknown perpetrators. Every time there was a decision for their release they would be taken to the police station to be picked up by their parents, but then parents would be informed that a new case has been brought against them and they will not be released.
Sadiq Ashour is currently serving a two-year sentence; a verdict delivered on the 16th of May 2013. He was charged with possession of Molotov cocktails and illegal gathering; two years is the maximum sentence. He was arrested on the 14th of March 2013, barely two weeks after his release, by security forces near Samaheej mosque on his way to prayer and taken to Samaheej police station. There he was reportedly made to stand in the corridor where every passing police would hit him on the head. He was interrogated on the whereabouts of his brother Younis, and reportedly severely beaten with batons and kicking by four riot police and officers. He was also reportedly subjected to sexual assault by touching the genital area. Sadiq informed the official at the public prosecution about the violations he was subjected to, but no investigation has been launched to this date.
Lawyer Zahra Masoud: “The case of Sadiq Ashour is a case in which the only evidence provided was Sadiq’s confessions which were reportedly taken under duress. Sadiq informed both the public prosecution and the court of this; but the public prosecution took no action to this date to investigate his claims despite witnessing the marks on Sadiq’s body. To add to that, the arresting officer refused to show up to testify at court which the defense requested numerous times; and the court took no action against him.”
Sadiq is currently facing 4 other cases, including the one he was arrested for in September 2012; which was a result of the targeting of an infamous officer at Samaheej police station, Yousif Mulla Bukhait. This officer has numerous complaints against him for being involved in committing human rights violations including but not limited to torture and arbitrary arrests.
Sadiq was shot in the left side of his face with a sound grenade in 2012. Due to the militarization of the main hospital Salmaniya, and out of fear of arrest and prevention from medical treatment, his wound was sutured at home without anesthesia.
Younis Ashour is wanted by the authorities and has been in hiding for three months. Civilians in hiding live and sleep in the worst conditions, moving from one location to another to avoid arrest.
Younis was first arrested prior to the February 2011 mass pro-democracy protests, and charged with burning tyres. He was released in Febraury after the start of the protests with the other political prisoners. During the State of National Safety Younis was arrested again by the Samaheej police, who started to systematically target the Ashour brothers in most cases that would arise.
Younis was shot in the left leg with a tear gas canister and suffered injuries to the soft tissue and tendons. Due to inadequate medical care and fear of going to the hospital Younis has problems walking on his left leg. He also has tens of pellets lodged in his right eye, right trunk and right hand due to being shot on different occasions by security forces. He did not have them removed as he was afraid of going to the hospital.
Jassim Ashour has been summoned several times and interrogated on the whereabouts of his brother Younis; he does not sleep at home continuously in fear of arrest. Due to the continued targeting, Jassim, who is a top student, has not been able to attend school on a regular basis, and this has greatly affected his education.
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls on the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Nations and all other allies and relevant international institutions to put pressure on the Government of Bahrain to:
- Immediately stop the targeting and harassment of Ashour Hassan Ali’s family.
- Immediately release Sadiq and drop all trumped up charges against him and his brother Younis.
- Investigate and hold accountable all those affiliated with the Ministry of Interior, especially officer Yousif Mulla Bukhait, who took part in violations against this family.
- Allow the Ashour brothers to finish their education without targeting and harassment.
- Allow the Ashour brothers access to medical treatment without fear of retribution, and immediately cease the militarization of hospitals in Bahrain.
- Reform the judiciary system so that it is not used as a political tool against Bahraini citizens, but rather an independent and just system according to international standards.
- Launch an independent investigation into the participation of the public prosecution in targeting civilians and covering up human rights violations.