When CIA Tortured Detainees to Death — And Agents Escaped Accountability and Were Promoted
By: Kevin Gosztola – 2 April, 2014 – FDL
There is not much being reported about CIA torture, as detailed in the major report by the Senate intelligence committee, that has not been reported previously. However, there has been no accountability, and the struggle between CIA and Senate over the report and what parts will be declassified for the public to read offers an opportunity to reckon with some of the horrific acts that were committed.
McClatchy Newspapers spoke with some sources for a story on the contents of the report and was apparently able to confirm that “the CIA’s own internal documents confirm the agency’s culpability in the hypothermia death of one Afghan captive.” The CIA has never had to publicly discuss the incident, even though in 2009 the Justice Department under President Barack Obama opened an investigation into what happened.
As summarized by Larry Siems in The Torture Report: What the Documents Say About America’s Post-9/11 Torture Program, a young agent named “Matt, “a former Naval intelligence officer who joined the CIA and was put in charge of an operation for which he had no experience or training.” At the Salt Pit prison in Afghanistan, he ordered a captive named Gul Rahman to be “dragged around his concrete cell, doused with water and left shackled overnight.”
The temperature plummeted. Rahman, who was in the cell all night half-naked, was found dead. This happened despite the fact that Matt knew the prison was in need of heaters, which he had requested from the CIA’s Afghanistan station chief.
A report by CIA inspector general John Helgerson faulted the agency for “fail[ing] to provide adequate staffing, guidance and support to those involved with the detention and interrogation of detainees.” This report called attention to the poor judgment of Matt and the role of Paul, a CIA station chief in Afghanistan. And Helgerson also recommended that Rahman’s death be “referred to the Justice Department for prosecution.”
However, the Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) refused to prosecute insisting that a “declination memorandum” protected Matt from prosecution because he had no “specific intent.” The memo by Jay Bybee explained that, as manager of the Salt Pit site, if Matt “did not intend for Rahman to suffer severe pain from low temperature in his cell, he would lack specific intent under the anti-torture statute.”
John Sifton, an attorney and private human rights investigator, wrote for Slate, “The declination memo ‘regarding Gul Rahman’s death” was essentially an after-the-fact blessing for Rahman’s killer, in the form of a memo stating that DoJ would not prosecute the officers responsible.”
The Justice Department’s Criminal Division “provided declinations in cases of detainee abuse, thus giving individual officers de facto immunity from criminal prosecution.” Even if the Justice Department wanted to prosecute under Obama, this declination could be cited by defense counsel “as a partial shield.” (Sifton suggested these “declinations” may have been issued as “after-the-fact-immunities” similar to pardons.) …more
April 3, 2014 No Comments
As the United Nation’s Human Rights Council discusses state practiced torture and impunity in its 25th session, Mr. Kevin Laue, the Legal Advisor of the Redress Trust has called on the participants to read the report released by his organisation about torture in Bahrain.
Torture expert criticises ongoing use of torture in Bahrain
13 March, 2014 – ABNA
(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) – As the United Nation’s Human Rights Council discusses state practiced torture and impunity in its 25th session, Mr. Kevin Laue, the Legal Advisor of the Redress Trust has called on the participants to read the report released by his organisation about torture in Bahrain.
Bahrain has been criticized by a number of European States in the Human Rights Council for having refused twice the visit of the Special Rapporteur on Torture, who has reiterated his request for the third time.
A number of Bahraini activists and opposition members are attending the Human Rights Council’s 25th session.
Mr. Kevin Laue said in a side event at the HRC 25th session that Bahrain uses torture to extract false confessions and show protesters as terrorists, as well as to repress the people from speaking out.
He added that torture is not restricted to the past 3 years but has always been used by rulers to stop calls for reform.
The Redress report was issued in April 2013 under the title “Bahrain: Fundamental reform or torture without end?” It overviews torture and political life in Bahrain, before and after the 2011 prodemocracy uprising. It made a number of recommendations to the Government of Bahrain to address torture and impunity as well as recommendations to international actors to reach effective implementation of the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment according to international law. …more
March 14, 2014 No Comments
Bahrain: Abducted, Beaten and Threatened
3 February, 2014 – Bahrain Center for Human Rights
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses concern about the continuation of grave violations including abduction of civilians, severe beatings and leaving them in a stranded area. These actions appear to come as a form of punishment and threat for those who participate in pro-democracy protests in the country. The BCHR has document numerous such cases in different areas that witness daily protests demanding the right to self-determination.
A civilian, who asked to remain unnamed for safety reasons, told the BCHR that he was abducted by security forces on the 17th of January 2014. He was reportedly severely beaten with different weapons and blunt objects. He added that he was verbally abused, and the security forces used very derogatory sectarian terms during the beating. The victim was then taken to Karraneh beach, where he thought he would be dumped, but the security forces continued to beat him until he lost consciousness after which they left. A number of Karraneh residents found him and moved him to a house where he was treated by a volunteer nurse as he feared anticipated arrest if he were to go to the hospital. …more
February 4, 2014 No Comments
Bahrain says probing torture claims by men jailed in bombs case
30 December, 2013 – Reuters
Bahrain said on Tuesday it was investigating torture claims by three men jailed for 15 years for two homemade-bomb attacks – including one during last year’s Formula 1 car race.
On Sunday, five men – including two who were tried in absentia – were convicted by a court for their role in the blasts, which destroyed several vehicles but caused no injuries, according to the Gulf Arab state’s official BNA news agency.
BNA said the men had admitted being behind the bombings but the men’s lawyer, Jassim Sarhan, told Reuters they pleaded not guilty to involvement in the attacks and told the court their confessions during questioning were obtained under torture.
“The Kingdom of Bahrain does not and will not tolerate any form of torture or mistreatment. The Special Investigation Unit (SIU) did receive complaints from the defendants,” the government’s Information Affairs Authority (IAA) said in an emailed statement to Reuters.
“The SIU takes these allegations very seriously and have looked into these claims. Their investigation is currently ongoing. We can’t give further information until the investigation is completed.”
Bahrain, home to the U.S. Fifth Fleet, has been in political turmoil since a 2011 uprising led by majority Shi’ites who demand more say in running the kingdom, which is ruled by the Sunni Muslim al-Khalifa dynasty.
Widespread and excessive force, including confessions under torture, was detailed in a report by an international human rights commission led by Cherif Bassiouni, a prominent Egyptian-American jurist.
The Bahrain government says it has taken steps to address security forces actions, but activists say abuses continue.
The SIU was set up as part of the Bassiouni commission’s recommendations.
The Manama government quelled the 2011 revolt in the island kingdom, but almost daily protests and small-scale clashes continue, and bomb attacks have been increasing since mid-2012. …source
December 31, 2013 No Comments
Thousands protest in Bahrain capital, demand ’torturers be brought to justice’
Bahrain Observer – 24 November, 2013 –
Thousands of Shiite protesters in Bahrain have staged a rally in the capital Manama, protesting against what they called repression against the opposition amid an ongoing crackdown on the largely peaceful demonstrations.
Protesters waved the country’s national flag and chanted slogans on Friday, demanding that the detained opposition activists be freed. In a statement, the opposition denounced “the continuing arrests, political trial and discrimination” against Shiites.
Also, the number of the arrested Shiites has grown in recent months, the opposition said. The march took place in the Shiite area of the capital, Bilad al-Qadim.
In the latest case, on Monday 17 Shiite activists had their appeals against sentences of up to 15 years rejected, after being convicted of attacking the security forces.
In October, the authorities closed an exhibition dedicated to the anti-government uprising and shut down the display, which was organized by the main opposition group Al-Wefaq. The group also staged the latest rally.
In August, the country’s leader, King Hamad, attempted to ban demonstrations in Manama.
During Friday’s march the opposition, led by the Shiite Al-Wefaq movement, claimed the government had not implemented the recommendations of a commission that looked into violence in the spring of 2011.
The investigation was carried out in the autumn of 2011, and concluded that it was mainly Shiite protesters that were targeted during the crackdown.
The report concludes that “force and firearms were used in an excessive manner that was, on many occasions, unnecessary, disproportionate, and indiscriminate.”
The latest protest in the capital comes at the same time as the press conference dedicated to the anniversary of the investigation.
It was also confirmed by numerous international human rights organizations that the Bahraini government used systematic torture and other forms of physical and psychological abuse on detainees.
Over 80 people have been killed in the crackdown since the protests began almost three years ago, according to the International Federation for Human Rights. …source
November 25, 2013 No Comments
Bahrain: An Oasis for Torture
26 June, 2013 – Bahrain Center for Human Rights
On the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses grave concern about the ongoing systematic torture in Bahrain with full impunity for the violators. Over the past year, the BCHR has documented dozens of torture cases, inside and outside formal detention centres, from the moment of arrest and at times even after receiving a sentence. Torture in Bahrain usually occurs in the dark, during times of enforced disappearance; and due to impunity officers even videotape their victims after. Not only has no official been held accountable for torture, on the contrary, some of the violators were promoted.
In April 2013, the Government of Bahrain effectively cancelled the visit of the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Mr. Juan E. Méndez, which was schedule to take place from 8 to 15 May 2013. In an official statement, Mr. Méndez stated:
“This is the second time that my visit has been postponed, at very short notice. It is effectively a cancellation as no alternative dates were proposed nor is there a future road map to discuss.”
“The culture of impunity, and the main reason why systematic torture continues in Bahrain, extends far beyond the pro-democracy movement in 2011; the best example being Decree 56 which was issued by Hamad bin Isa Alkhalifa in 2002 granting those responsible of crimes of torture in the 90’s full amnesty. The lack of accountability locally and internationally fosters the continuation of such violations; impunity must end immediately; starting with high officials in the Government of Bahrain” – Maryam Al-Khawaja, Acting President of BCHR
It is important to note here that the cases presented are only a sample of the many cases received by the BCHR. Due to the culture of impunity many victims of torture fear retribution after speaking about their ordeal.
In addition, this report covers cases of ongoing torture. It is important to note that victims of torture have not been able to receive rehabilitation; and those who are still detained are also denied adequate medical care.
Torture during time of arrest
On 24 May 2013, Redha Abdullah Isa Al-Ghasra (25 years old) was brutally arrested after civilian cars surrounded his motorcycle. Activists and tweeps (users on Twitter) broadcasted on their twitter accounts a sound recording of someone screaming in pain, which they claimed was a voice recording of the detainee Redha Al-Ghasra while security forces were reportedly beating and torturing him on the street (see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxZuVSbPeXQ). Pro-government twitter accounts published photographs of Al-Ghasra while he was handcuffed and lying on the ground, with blood on his face (see: https://twitter.com/Deertybhr/status/337845219053674496). More details on this case on http://www.bahrainrights.org/en/node/6146.
Faisal Mansour Eid Nasser (28 years old) was arrested on 9 March 2013. He was reportedly beaten by approximately 15 security officers, punching and kicking, while he was being transported from his home to the interrogation center. He was verbally abused using vulgar language, and he was threatened with rape, as well as threats to rape his mother and sisters. This was while he was being interrogated to disclose the hiding place of a number of people who are wanted.
Torture in Detention for Confessions
During his time at the Criminal Investigations Department, Faisal Mansour was blindfolded for the entire period and he was forced to stand for long periods of time during which he was not allowed to sit down at all. To add to that, he was also deprived from sleep for approximately four nights.
Furthermore, in order to force him to confess to the charges brought against him – despite his denial – he was handcuffed from behind, then kicked with boots and beaten with hands and an object, believed to be a plastic stick, on different parts of his body. He was verbally abused using vulgar language and his religious beliefs were cursed. He was also subjected to sexual assault by unknown officers; one of the interrogators reportedly pulled down Faisal’s pants and sexually molested him by pulling his genitals; telling him to confess to the charges against him and testify that others accused participated with him, otherwise he will be subjected to rape.
One of the investigators reportedly told Faisal: “I’m going to put your name on every case, even if you did not participate in it”. Faisal Mansour, while blindfolded, was forced to sign a statement without knowing its content.
Faisal told the BCHR that during his detention at the Dry Dock prison, he was taken from his cell on 25 April 2013 to the Criminal Investigation Department again to interrogate him in a new case. He was forced to sign a ready-made statement which he was not allowed to read, under the threats of rape and beatings.
Hussein Ramadan Mohamed Shaaban (34 years old) was arrested on 23 April 2013. He was reportedly threatened that his wife would be raped at the time of his arrest if he refused to cooperate with them. He was held for 6 days at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) where he was reportedly forced to stand for the entire period without sitting at all; during which he was blindfolded. In addition, he was deprived from sleep for the whole period of his detention at the CID, and he was handcuffed from behind for long periods which caused him pain in his shoulder and back; which he still suffers from. He was reportedly threatened with rape if he refused to sign the confessions and he was subjected to continuous verbal harassment.
The Implication of the Public Prosecution
At the public prosecution, Faisal Mansour reported that the prosecutor screamed at him, threatening that if he did not confess to the charges against him he will be taken back to the Criminal Investigations Department and exposed to more beatings; reportedly adding: “I’m going to beat you while you’re here”. …more
November 1, 2013 No Comments
Photojournalist in Bahraini Jail Denied Medical Treatment
TEHRAN (FNA)- Photojournalist Hussain Hubail is being denied adequate medical care and treatment in a Bahraini jail.
The regime uses such methods as retaliation against prisoners of conscience, political prisoners and other prisoners, Alwefaq.net reported Sunday.
Hubail is suffering from heart pain and shortness of breath but he has not yet been transferred to hospital. According to his family, the prison’s clinic has given him a non-prescribed medicine.
He was arrested on 31st July 2013 and is now facing accusations related to his media activism, such as using social media to incite hatred of the regime.
His family fears that his health condition may worsen and cause further complications. Nevertheless, the Government takes full responsibility for any possible complications Hubail may suffer due to its deliberate denial of providing him with the necessary medical treatment.
Younis al Hadher, another prisoner in Bahrain, is also being denied medical treatment, despite his deteriorating health condition. Al Hadher was arrested at the building of the Immigration and Passports Department when he went to renew his passport on 19th December 2012. Younis is suffering from chronic epilepsy. Sadly, due to the continuous denial of medical care he is subjected to, he has lost the ability to walk and move normally and is suffering from complications in hearing and eyesight. According to his family, he also suffers from heart cramps as a result of his epilepsy that is confirmed in his medical report.
Mohammed Sahwan, is detained and injured with Shotgun pellets –internationally prohibited arms – and needs immediate treatment due to his critical condition. But he too is being denied medical treatment in jail and only given painkillers.
These are three of many cases of denial of medical care in the Bahraini jails. Indeed, some prisoners have died in jail due to the absence and denial of medical care and treatment, like Mohamed Mushaima.
Al Wefaq National Islamic Society demands the Authorities to provide full medical care and treatment to the political prisoners as a humanitarian right. Al Wefaq considers this issue in the hands of the international community since the regime has crossed the humanitarian lines by denying prisoners medical treatment as a punishment against dissidents and individual citizens.
Al Wefaq stresses that the Government of Bahrain has proven that it is irresponsible and is not able to maintain the safety and security of individual citizens and does not value their lives. As the Government does not only arbitrarily and vengefully arrest and prosecute citizens in trials based on coerced confessions under torture, it goes further to put their lives in danger. …source
October 28, 2013 No Comments
Torture is still in practiced in Guantanamo
Voltaire Network – 28 October, 2013
Mr. James Connell, the lawyer of 36-year old Ammar al Baluchi who is detained in Guantanamo, stated that his client has been tortured for years.
Mr. Connell has based this statement on two unclassified medical documents that show signs of apparent torture. However, according to prosecutor Clay Trivett, everything that concerns interrogations is classified as ’’sources and methods’’ of the CIA. Discretion also applies to interrogatios carried out in secret off-shore prisons, located on Navy boats in international waters. The lawyer is therefore not allowed to refer to the incidents or the methods proving that his client was tortured.
Mr. Connel asked that the president of the military court come to inspect the prisoner’s cell inside the Guantanamo 7 camp (the secret part reserved for the CIA). But the military judge refused, since officially torture is no longer being practiced there.
Ammar al-Baluchi is a Yemeni immigrant. He was arrested in Pakistan on April 29th 2003, then detained illegally and tortured in a secret CIA prison for over two years. He was transfered on September 2006 to Guantanamo where he’s been illegally imprisoned for 7 years.
According to the National Commission on the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, Ammar al-Baluchi is supposed to have purchased the tickets for and provided the air pirates with various tips about life in the United-States. In addition, he purportedly served as a straw man in numerous money transactions.
The case of Ammar al-Baluchi has been evoked in the debates about the possible closing of Guantanamo. Senator Mitch McConnel had concluded that he would have to be freed at the closing of the camp, for lack of evidence against him.
October 28, 2013 No Comments
Bahrain: Chaotic scenes as protests continued inside and outside prisons
By davidswanson – 11 October, 2013 – Warisacrime.org
Yousuf Al Nashmi, 31, a young Bahraini citizen, is dying as a result of severe torture inflicted on him in jail. This week the regime ordered his release when it became clear that he was approaching “clinical death”. His family protested his ill-treatment and detention. His lawyer, Zainab Abdul Aziz repeatedly called for his release but the Alkhalifa insisted on keeping him at the torture dungeons despite his severe brain tumour. He was tried while his body was on machines. Only when he approached death did the Alkhalifa ordered his release so that he dies outside jail.
Bahraini detainees at the Dry Dock and the central prison (Jau) have been on hunger strike since 2nd October. They are protesting against ill-treatment, intolerable prison conditions and the new restrictions imposed during family visits. Several detainees collapsed as a result. Those prisons have become notorious for the lack of essential facilities needed for human habitation and intensification of repression, attacks on, and torture of detainees.
A young Bahraini sentenced to life imprisonment went on strike demanding that his solitary confinement be ended. Kumail Al Manami has been kept in his small cell for two years during which he reached the verge of death. He fell into coma several times and his body began fading away as a result of torture, ill-treatment and psychological effects of his incommunicado detention.
On Tuesday 8th October, five youth from Duraz Town were seized by members of Death Squads and taken to unknown destinations. Among them is Sayed Abbas Sayed Mahdi, whose brother, Sayed Mahmood is already in jail on trumpeted charges and false accusations. He is married with two children. At mid-day Wednesday, three youth were snatched from their homes at Bilad Al Qadeem Town. Among them was the brother of Martyr Hani Abdul Aziz. …more
October 15, 2013 No Comments
Bahrain courts ignore testimonies of torture
17 Septemebr, 2013 – ABNA.co
(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) – Testimonies of torture, brutal assault and coerced confession are repeatedly given by detainees before courts in Bahrain. But the courts do not take any measures in such cases. A number of detainees accused in the claimed “Riffa bombing” have boycotted Sunday’s hearing session (15th September) because they do not trust the judiciary, the detainees’ lawyers said.
The defense lawyers said the detainees have been repeatedly subjected to torture while the courts have failed to take necessary measures.
Al-Wefaq had demanded that an independent and impartial commission be formed to investigate incidents claimed to have happened by the security apparatuses, such as the Riffa bombing. A big number of claims made the security apparatuses have been proven false before courts, leading to the natural conclusion that they lack credibility.
September 17, 2013 No Comments
‘Confession’ video stirs Bahrain, rights group decries police abuse
14 June, 2013 – Trielo
Footage of what appears to be a forced confession torn by security forces from a protester to implicate his fellows has sparked controversy in Bahrain. This comes as US lawmakers urge the government to allow a visit by the UN torture envoy.
A video uploaded on YouTube shows a shirtless young man, who identifies himself as Hussain Jameel Jafer Ali Marhoon from Hamad Town, giving what appears to have been a forced confession to an unseen security officer.
In the video, Marhoon is forced to answer approximately 60 rapid-fire questions in just under three minutes. At one point in the video, when the youth is asked why he was out on the street “facing the forces,” he becomes noticeably nervous. For several seconds he shifts his gaze to the right of the room, where a sound is heard, without speaking. …more
June 21, 2013 No Comments
May 14, 2013 No Comments
May 14, 2013 No Comments
Bahrain: Young Prisoner Reportedly Tortured to Sign “Confessions”
05 May, 2013 – Bahrain Center for Human Rights
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses its concern for the ongoing violations against detainees jailed in the Dry Dock prison. Akbar Ali Ahmed Al Kishi – 19 years old and in his final year of high school – was recently kidnapped for more than 24 hours from the Dry Dock prison and he was taken to Hamad Town police Center where he was reportedly tortured and forced to confess to crimes in addition to the existing list of cases pending against him.
Relatives of Al Kishi reported to the BCHR that he was taken by security forces in civilian clothing, to an unknown destination after they raided his section of the prison, which includes a large group of political prisoners. His family expressed that his arrest comes in the context of revenge on the people who stood up against injustice, discrimination and violations and did not back down despite the threats and arrests that they have faced.
Al Kishi was wounded in April 2009 “bird shot pellets” after the security forces attacked a protest in the village of Sanabis. Doctors classified his condition as serious, and his recovery from the injuries was gradual. In August 2010, he was arrested during the crackdown launched by the authorities on opponents of the government. He was released after an issuance of amnesty for a group of political prisoners in February 2011.
After the imposition of the government’s “state of martial law” in 2011, the family home was raided but Al Kishi was not present at the time, which led to the continuation of the raids his father’s house. Al Kishi went into hiding until police managed to arrest him in December 2012 after a raid on his hiding place. He was tortured with beatings, including kicking and the use of batons, and he was forced to confess to the crime of burning an armored vehicle in Bilad Al Qadeem. Al Kishi trial lasted more than 4 months, and the High Criminal Court ruled on Thursday (4 April 2013) that he would be sentenced to 15 years in prison for burning an armored vehicle, attempted murder of a police officer, possession of ‘Molotov cocktails’ and burning tires.
In April 17, 2013 Ali was taken by surprise when civilians raided his jail cell and took him by security men dressed in civilian clothes. He was taken to the Qudaibiya police station, and then to the police center at the 17th roundabout in Hamad Town. Akbar Ali was presented with new charges, which accuse him of participating in and attacking the police station in Al Khamis area. He has denied the charges but as a result of the torture he was forced to sign papers confessing to these crimes. According to his family, Akbar Ali was deprived of sitting for an entire day and was suspended in the air for a long period of time, and he thought that his joints might dislocate. He was taken to the Public Prosecution and there he denied the charges against him. The public prosecutor treated him harshly and threatened him by saying: do not sign, but you will not get away with it. On his way back to dry dock prison, security men reportedly continued to beat him, insult him, and one of the officers said to him that they would rape him. …more
May 6, 2013 No Comments
The report mentioned that 132 arrests (105 males, 2 females and 24 children) have taken place. While 69 houses were arrested and 27 citizens were injured and 33 cases of torture by the regime forces were reported.
Bahrain regime committed wide violations during 10 days in concurrence with the F1 race
24 April, 2013 – ABNA
(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) – The Liberties and Human Rights Department (LHRD) in al-Wefaq National Islamic Society issued a report highlighting the wide violations Bahrain military and security authorities committed in concurrence with the Formula 1 race from 13th to 22nd April, 2013.
The report clarified that the violations took place one week before the Formula 1 race started in concurrence with the race’s preparations and continued for 10 days.
The report mentioned that 132 arrests (105 males, 2 females and 24 children) have taken place. While 69 houses were arrested and 27 citizens were injured and 33 cases of torture by the regime forces were reported.
The report also stated that more than 27 areas were subjected to collective punishment by the use of toxic gasses and the forces’ provocative presence in residential areas. In addition to security pursuits in alleys.
First: Arrest cases
132 citizens have been arrested (105 males, 2 females and 24 children), while 40 detainees were released during the same period. The LHRD noticed that the number of arrests increased during the Formula 1 race period between 19thand 21st of the current month. It said 43 were arrested on Friday 19th and 45 were arrested on Sunday 21st from different areas.
The report confirmed that all arrest cases took place without legal arrest warrants or inspection orders in private house raids. A bug number of the detainees were made to stand before the Public Prosecution which then issued orders to keep them in detention for more than one month while most were not given a chance to call lawyers. The detainees told their family members that they were subjected to mistreatment and harassment; some said they were subjected to torture.
Second: Torture and injury cases
Citizens were subjected to the regime forces attacks which left 27 with injuries by the use of fire arms (birdshot guns) and by weaponizing teargas canisters to injure the protesters. The reported injuries varied from moderate to serious, some were to the face and head.
A number of citizens were subjected to torture, 33 cases were documented, as the forces tend to brutally assault protesters during arrest. The forces beat the protesters with batons and guns to retaliate, according to detainees.
Third: House raids and collective punishment
The regime forces raided 69 private houses and buildings in different areas over ten days (between 13th- 22nd April 2013) claiming to be searching for “suspects”. In most of the cases, the LHRD documented vandalism and robbery of private property and belongings as well as breaking doors. In some cases, inhabitants were beaten, pepper-sprayed and insulted. One case of firing live ammunition on three houses by unknown persons was documented in the village of Aali. The firing resulted in material damage in the houses.
More than 27 cases of collective punishment were documented. Residential areas were rained with teargas and a state of insecurity was imposed in those areas.
Fourth: Attachments; video footages
1. The regime forces point bisrdshot guns from house rooftops HERE
2. Intensive firing on houses at night HERE
3. Rescuing a family which’s house was targeted with toxic teargas HERE
4. Brutal arrest of youth HERE
5. Children beated for no reason HERE
6. Regime forces arrest a child HERE
April 29, 2013 No Comments
Fresh Allegations of Torture in Bahrain
21 March, 2013 – by Jim White – Empty Wheel
On a day when President Obama is at least making the admirable move of visiting the West Bank and speaking favorably for Palestinian statehood after his visit to Israel (to lend legitimacy to Netanyahu’s continued desire to attack Iran?), it is easy to overlook a report in the Wall Street Journal in which we see fresh allegations of torture continuing in Bahrain.
Recall that in the aftermath of Bahrain’s brutal crackdown on its citizens trying to join in the Arab Spring movement in early 2011, one of Bahrain’s “reforms” was to hire notorious police thug John Timoney to run its police force and to “implement” the findings of an independent commission that had been brought in to investigate torture and other abuses by the government. Just a few months after taking charge, Timoney took the repressive step of banning all protests while jailing a number of prominent protest figures. A couple of days later, there were mysterious bomb blasts that might well have been the work of Timoney’s known practice of infiltration since they were not directed at government targets as one might expect if they were the work of a developing resistance movement. US actions in response to abuses on the part of Bahrain’s government has been especially lame since the US is so attached to its base for the Fifth Flleet in Bahrain and “security’ for the flow of oil from the region.
The new allegations of torture include torture of suspects arrested for those November 2012 bombings:
Five detainees arrested in Bahrain last year said they were tortured in custody, according to family members, lawyers and an ex-prisoner, accusations that a member of an official inquiry panel said should be formally investigated.
Bahrain security forces used methods including beatings, electrocution and suspension on ropes to force confessions from the detainees, who were accused of involvement in bombings in the capital, Manama, the people alleged to The Wall Street Journal. The Bahrain government said the torture allegations were false.
The claims suggest the Bahrain government has failed to implement some of the changes recommended by the 2011 Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, according to Sir Nigel Rodley, a human-rights lawyer who took part in the commission.
One detainee, Talib Ali Mohammed, 37 years old, was arrested in November on suspicion of involvement in coordinated bombings in Manama that month that killed two expatriate workers.
Over 16 days of interrogation in the Central Intelligence Department building in the Adliya district of Manama, Mr. Talib was beaten repeatedly and tortured, according to his wife, Fatima Ebrahim, and his lawyer, Sayed Hashin Saleh, who have seen Mr. Talib in prison and spoken with him by phone. Mr. Talib eventually confessed to charges including possessing explosive material and forming a group with the intention of harming others.
Ahmed Abdullah, a 24-year-old gymnasium worker, was arrested in November and accused by authorities of involvement in the bombings. According to his brother Ibrahim, who has visited him in prison and spoken to him by phone, Mr. Abdullah was blindfolded for nearly 20 days in the CID building in Adliya, where he was beaten repeatedly, and forced to stand for long periods until he signed a confession.
There is now new leadership at the Department of State. Will we see a stronger condemnation of torture by the Bahrain government and support for Rodley’s call for a new commission of inquiry over the new torture accusations, or will we get the same weak platitudes we saw from Foggy Bottom last year?
Bahrain continues to profess its innocence. In one of the most craven, idiotic defenses by a government ever, the Journal carried this denial:
Minister of State for Information Affairs Samira Ibrahim Bin Rajab dismissed the allegations. “This is not our culture, not our attitude or our behavior,” she said. “We are very civilized, educated people.”
Civilized, educated people never torture. They rely on enhance interrogation techniques that are perfectly legal. Just ask John Yoo. He’ll confirm that in an instant and have a follow-up memo for you tomorrow that retroactively authorizes any actions you need approved. …more
March 21, 2013 No Comments
Bahrain jails 7 protesters as rights group claim ‘torture’ of activists
28 February, 2013 – BBC
Seven Shia Muslim men, three of whom are minors, have received 10-year jail sentences in Bahrain after being found guilty of attempting to murder police during protests last year. A day earlier, two policemen were acquitted of murdering a protester.
The trial took place on Wednesday. Attorney General Mhanna al-Shayji said in an official statement that the group were accused of “intentionally attempting to kill policemen in the (Shiite) town of Sitra… using petrol bombs.” Seven of the men received jail terms, and 13 others were acquitted.
The men were arrested in the wake of mass protests that took place in February 2012. Human rights groups voiced criticism of the arrests at that time, claiming the detainment was illegitimate, no arrest warrants had been presented, and the confessions of the accused were extracted under torture.
Following the Wednesday ruling, the main Shia opposition bloc Al-Wefaq alleged that all 20 men, including the five minors, were “tortured” during their interrogation and spoke “under duress.”
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights also noted that the judge presiding in the case, Mohammed Bin Ali Al-Khalifa, is a member of the ruling family.
In February 2012, violent clashes broke out in Bahrain at the funeral of a teenager killed during protests marking the one-year anniversary of a revolt by the Shia majority against the ruling Sunni monarchy. Police blocked and dispersed the procession with stun grenades and tear gas.
Protester Fadhel Al-Matrook died of wounds from the police fire. However, the police officers were acquitted on Tuesday – a judge ruled they had no intent to kill, and were performing their duty during protests. Jalila al Sayed, a Bahraini human rights lawyer, described the verdict as “a very sad day for justice in Bahrain,” BBC reported. …more
February 28, 2013 No Comments
February 27, 2013 No Comments
Bahraini Political Parties Blast Al-Khalifa Regime for Torturing Activists
19 February, 2013 – FARS
TEHRAN (FNA)- Different Bahraini parties and political groups in a statement lashed out at the al-Khalifa regime for imprisoning and torturing activists, and dismissed the Manama regime’s recent accusations against protestors as baseless.
“The announcement by (Bahraini) security forces on finding a ‘terrorist cell’ is not something new and many similar announcements have been previously made which later came to be known nothing more than baseless accusations as most of the confessions had been taken under torture,” the Lebanese TV channel, al-Manar, quoted the statement as saying.
The Bahraini political groups underlined the need for holding a serious national dialogue in a bid to bring the country out of political impasse after two years and this should be done on the basis of the principle that “people are source of all powers”.
“It is now time the structure of all security apparatuses were reformed and their approaches were changed in a bid to move in line with citizens’ equal rights and respect for human rights … ,” the statement read.
Last week, hundreds of thousands of Bahraini protesters took to the streets in the capital Manama and other cities across the Persian Gulf island to mark the second anniversary of their uprising against the Al-Khalifa regime in February 2011, calling on the country’s rulers to step down.
More than 300,000 protesters poured to the streets across the tiny Persian Gulf island country on Friday in a bid to celebrate the beginning of the third year of their revolution against the al-Khalifa regime which started on February 14, 2011.
The massive population of protesters reiterated their opposition to dictatorship in the tiny Persian Gulf country, and called on the al-Khalifa regime to step down.
The al-Khalifa regime’s security forces killed two protesters during popular protests on Thursday. …more
February 21, 2013 No Comments
Why Zero Dark Thirty Won’t Settle the Torture Question or Purge Torture From the American System
An All-American Nightmare
By Peter Van Buren – 18 December, 2012 – TomDispatch
If you look backward you see a nightmare. If you look forward you become the nightmare.
There’s one particular nightmare that Americans need to face: in the first decade of the twenty-first century we tortured people as national policy. One day, we’re going to have to confront the reality of what that meant, of what effect it had on its victims and on us, too, we who condoned, supported, or at least allowed it to happen, either passively or with guilty (or guiltless) gusto. If not, torture won’t go away. It can’t be disappeared like the body of a political prisoner, or conveniently deep-sixed simply by wishing it elsewhere or pretending it never happened or closing our bureaucratic eyes. After the fact, torture can only be dealt with by staring directly into the nightmare that changed us — that, like it or not, helped make us who we now are.
The president, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, has made it clear that no further investigations or inquiries will be made into America’s decade of torture. His Justice Department failed to prosecute a single torturer or any of those who helped cover up evidence of the torture practices. But it did deliver a jail sentence to one ex-CIA officer who refused to be trained to torture and was among the first at the CIA to publicly admit that the torture program was real.
At what passes for trials at our prison camp in Guantanamo, Cuba, disclosure of the details of torture is forbidden, effectively preventing anyone from learning anything about what the CIA did with its victims. We are encouraged to do what’s best for America and, as Barack Obama put it, “look forward, not backward,” with the same zeal as, after 9/11, we were encouraged to save America by going shopping.
Looking into the Eyes of the Tortured
Torture does not leave its victims, nor does it leave a nation that condones it. As an act, it is all about pain, but even more about degradation and humiliation. It destroys its victims, but also demeans those who perpetrate it. I know, because in the course of my 24 years as a State Department officer, I spoke with two men who had been tortured, both by allies of the United States and with at least the tacit approval of Washington. While these men were tortured, Americans in a position to know chose to look the other way for reasons of politics. These men were not movie characters, but complex flesh-and-blood human beings. Meet just one of them once and, I assure you, you’ll never follow the president’s guidance and move forward trying to forget. …more
December 19, 2012 No Comments
Bahrain tries 8 policemen for torturing detainees
AFP – 10 December, 2012 – ahramonline
Bahrain’s public prosecution said Monday it charged eight policemen with torturing detainees in the wake of last year’s crackdown on Shiite-led protests.
“Five cases have been referred to special courts after charging eight policemen, including a lieutenant,” the prosecution said in a statement carried by the BNA state news agency.
The charges range from “using torture to force a defendant to confess, to causing a permanent disability, as well as insults and physical assaults,” the statement said.
In September, a policeman was jailed seven years for killing a protester during the month-long protests that were brutally quelled in mid-March 2011.
The authorities say they are implementing the recommendations of an independent commission of inquiry called for by the king that confirmed allegations of excessive use of force by security forces during the uprising against the Sunni ruling dynasty.
Home to the US Fifth Fleet and strategically situated across the Gulf from Iran, Bahrain still witnesses sporadic Shiite-led demonstrations, mostly outside the capital.
According to the International Federation for Human Rights, around 80 people have been killed in Bahrain since the violence began on February 14, 2011. …source
December 11, 2012 No Comments
Eyewitnesses: Bahraini Opposition Figure Tortured to Death by AL-Khalifa Forces
20 November, 2012 – Bahrain Freedom Movement
TEHRAN (FNA)- Two eyewitnesses in the case of an activist who was recently killed in Bahrain testified that the victim, Abdul Karim Fakhrawi, was tortured to death when he was in prison.
The witnesses kept in the same prison with Fakhrawi said they had heard him crying and whimpering as he was violently beaten and insulted by his torturers in prison.
Bahrain’s court has postponed the hearing session of the two security forces charged with the torturing Fakhrawi to death to December 5.
However, Bahraini prosecutor’s office has already claimed that Fakhrawi, a founder of Bahraini al-Wasat daily and a media activist, has been killed by the two security forces “unintentionally”.
The al-Khalifa security forces are continuing the clampdown on peaceful protests across the country and have intensified arrests since the start of the holy month of Muharram.
Muharram, a religious month is commemorated by Muslims across the world annually. The holy month which started on Friday bans people from killing, arresting, committing any wrong doing or crime
They have also insulted the religious slogans chanted by people during the holy month.
Anti-government protesters have been holding peaceful demonstrations across Bahrain since mid-February 2011, calling for an end to the Al Khalifa dynasty’s over-40-year rule, end of discrimination, establishment of justice and a democratically-elected government as well as freedom of detained protesters.
Violence against the defenseless people escalated after a Saudi-led conglomerate of police, security and military forces from the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (PGCC) member states – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar – were dispatched to the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom on March 13, 2011, to help Manama crack down on peaceful protestors.
So far, tens of people have been killed, hundreds have gone missing and thousands of others have been injured. …source
November 21, 2012 No Comments
Activists (from left) Zainab al-Khawaja, Said Yousif and Naji Fateel attempt to break the siege of al-Ekar to deliver food and medicine before being arrested on 21 October 2012. (Photo: Reuters – Hamad Mohammed)
Bahrain village under siege, prisoners claim torture
22 October, 2012 – Al Akhbar
Four men arrested over a roadside bombing in a Bahraini village that killed one policeman Thursday say they were beaten and tortured in prison to force confessions, an activist who met them while custody, said today.
“They were then taken to the public prosecution office without a lawyer to try and convince them they were guilty,” Said Yousif, deputy head of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, told Al-Akhbar.
The village of al-Eker has been under siege since the bomb was detonated overnight Thursday. Bahrain yesterday announced that it had arrested seven people it suspected of the bombing.
Yousif was arrested yesterday along with two other activists, Zainab al-Khawaja and Naji Fateel, after trying to break the siege.
The three marched from the neighboring village of Sitra to deliver bread and medicine to residents when they were detained at a checkpoint at about 2:00pm. They were released around midnight, Yousif said.
Activists (from left) Zainab al-Khawaja, Said Yousif and Naji Fateel attempt to break the siege of al-Ekar to deliver food and medicine before being arrested on 21 October 2012. (Photo: Reuters – Hamad Mohammed)
“No one has been allowed in or out of al-Eker in three days. They are not allowed to go to the hospital, they can’t go to school, and there is not enough food,” he said, adding that security forces also attacked a Shia mosque in the village.
“This is collective punishment, so we we decided to break the siege peacefully,” Yousif added.
The activists were refused entry into the village one day earlier, but were not arrested.
Dozens of other activists protesting the siege outside the village were attacked with tear gas and sound bombs today, witnesses said.
Separately on Monday, four Bahrainis arrested last week for “defaming” the king told a court they were innocent.
There has been mounting pressure on the kingdom to release the four detainees, who allegedly used Twitter to criticize the monarch, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah.
The arrests are part of an ongoing crackdown on dissent in Bahrain.
The country has witnessed persistent opposition protests since February, 2011. It began with protesters calling for more civic freedoms, but many are now calling for the overthrow of the monarchy after it responded by launching a bloody crackdown.
Saudi troops were ushered into Bahrain in March, 2011 to help crush the movement, but they failed to end protests.
At least 80 people have been killed since the uprising began, according to activists.
Medics have also been targeted for treating injured protesters.
Earlier this month, Human Rights Watch and a group of US congressmen separately called on the country’s monarch to release nine medics who treated activists injured during the uprising.
The medics were all charged earlier this year and released on bail, but re-arrested after an October 1 court decision upheld their charges.
Bahrain’s royal family, which has maintained a tight grip over the country for more than a century, is a strategic US ally and hosts the US Fifth Fleet. …source
October 22, 2012 No Comments
Made for Show – Police Charged with “torture” while illegaly imprisioned Medics languish and others tortured, abused on daily basis
Inquiry concludes that excessive force had been used against protesters
Bahrain policemen charged over torture
AFP – 6 August, 2012 – Gulf News
Dubai: Bahrain’s chief prosecutor announced on Monday that 15 police officers will be charged with torturing doctors arrested during anti-government protests in the country early last year.
Nawaf Hamza, chief investigator in the prosecutor’s office, said in a statement he was officially making known that members of the forces of law and order would face torture charges resulting from the unrest.
He said the charges were being brought following an inquiry launched on the basis of a complaint by doctors at Salmaniya hospital, the main medical facility in the capital Manama.
“This procedure confirms the intention of the Bahrain government to bring to account all those found guilty of human rights violations and to recompense the victims,” Hamza said.
Article continues below
The complainants, also numbering 15, had said they were badly treated during their detention.
Some of them underwent medical examination during the inquiry.
The 15 doctors and five staff at Salmaniya had been accused by the authorities of supporting the opposition during the protests.
Bahrain came under strong criticism from international human rights organisations over last year’s crackdown on the protests.
An international panel commissioned by King Hamad to probe the government’s clampdown found out that excessive force and torture had been used against protesters and detainees.
Human rights watchdog Amnesty International says 60 people have been killed since the protests first erupted in February last year. …source
August 6, 2012 No Comments
If you loved the king, nothing bad would happen to you
by Witness Bahrain – 3 July – 2012
“Everyone here has a story,” I’ve been told repeatedly. “There are too many stories.”
Here is one.
L. came to meet me in the evening; an effusive woman with a round face, warm eyes and soft brown hair, covered by a scarf of shades of brown.
“Where can we sit?” she asked me, looking around the house for a private corner. She did not want to tell me her story in front of her young children.
L. worked for the Ministry of Health, in Human Resources. On April 18, 2011, a month after what is known as “the crackdown” began, hundreds of armed “special forces” surrounded the Ministry of Health compound. It was difficult know who comprised this armed force, L. told me, it seemed to be a mixture of army and police, some uniformed, some in civilian clothing, and almost all wearing masks. L. had never seen such a collection of various weapons outside of an American action flick. The armed operatives went from floor to floor. They knew precisely which employees they were looking for, and where their offices were located.
“They must have had help from the Sunni employees to have this much information,” L. said, then hesitated. “I feel bad talking about Sunni/Shi’a,” she added. “But that’s what happened.”
Several of the armed forces identified L. in her office, with the assistance of her manager, who observed all that ensued. Whatever comments she had made about the situation to her colleagues in the past months was documented on a sheet that her assailants read from.
The first punishment facing L. and her colleagues was humiliation. Prayer mats were thrown into the garbage. Insults were liberally slung. “You’re a bunch of stupid Shi’a.”
Insinuations of support for Hezbollah were made. “Who is Hassan Nasrallah?” they asked. “Do you like him?”
They demanded that L. hand over her iPhone — they knew that she had one. Fortunately, L., having a premonition that the attack might happen, had left it at home.
One man took her to her manager’s office and led the questioning. “I’m just like your father, and you are my daughter,” he began, gently. “Tell me what you know and I’ll try to help you.” He began to ask about her party affiliations and whether she supported the opposition.
“I’m a mother, an employee, and I’m not political,” L. insisted resolutely. “The only thing I care about is my kids.”
He questioned her about her family – where did her husband, father and brothers work? She told her interrogator that they were all small business owners.
“I don’t like you,” he said, beginning to turn nasty. “I don’t like you at all.”
L. thought she understood the subtext of the man’s comment: You have money — why are you against the government?
L. tried not to focus on the sounds of her colleagues being beaten and crying on the other side of the room, as her questioning continued.
“Did you go to Pearl Roundabout at all?”
“No,” L. lied.
He asked her next about her educational background.
“The more educated you are, the more trouble we get from you,” her interrogator sneered. L. remained silent. “I don’t like you at all, and because you’re not cooperating, I’ll get someone to beat you.”
Two dark-skinned women security forces, Bahrainis but perhaps of African descent L. thought, were brought in. Blows from their fists rained down on L.’s face, shoulders and back. Sharp kicks were delivered, and face-slapping to further humiliate. They dragged her back to her office, and several people began to open her office drawers, and opened her emails on her computer.
“We want to see how much is your salary,” one of them demanded. L. showed them a document on her computer. “You receive three times our wage, and you still hate your government?” They began to hit L. again, repeatedly, pulling her out in front of her colleagues as they punched her in the mouth, neck and shoulders. She could hear cries coming from every corner of the office, but L. was in too deep a state of shock to cry.
Two of her assailants grabbed her from under her arms and began to drag her down the steps to the 2nd floor.
“Stop hitting this cute girl, I like her,” one masked man leered. He put his arm around her to lead her downstairs himself, fondling her breast as he did.
On the 2nd floor, L. saw one of her fellow employees pushed against the wall as a large woman in a mask ripped off her abaya and tore her clothes so that her skin was exposed. “Come here and look at the white Shi’a meat!” the masked woman called out.
L. watched in horror as another fellow employee was dragged in front of her and pushed down the flight of stairs to the first floor — rolling the whole way down — and then pushed down another flight to the ground floor. When L. made it down to the ground floor herself, her colleague’s face was swollen and bloody beyond recognition.
Eleven women employees were gathered on one side of the entry foyer and around 35 men on the other — all Shi’a, most of whom worked in the Human Resources department. L. surmised that Shi’a in the HR department were specifically targeted because they had access to information about all the ministry departments.
The women sat on the ground of the entry way — “You don’t deserve to sit on government chairs!” – while the men on the other end of the foyer were forced to sit facing the wall, with their hands cuffed behind their backs. Dogs were brought in to sniff everybody. L. could see blood seeping through the white thobes of some of her male colleagues.
One man’s ghetra (the white head covering worn in traditional Gulf dress) was wrapped around his neck and used as a leash, forcing the man to crawl on all fours like a dog. “Stand up and dance!” he was ordered. He did so.
The assailants commanded the men to hang photos of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa on the wall and to kiss them. The women were forced to hold photos of the king, prime minister and crown prince above their heads while shouting “Aash!”, long live the king.
“Sing the national anthem!” they were commanded, as they stood with the pictures above their heads. Anyone who stumbled over the words or forgot them was slapped or punched in the face.
I had a meeting to run to, so L. was not able to finish the story, though I knew it involved spending the night at the police station, and being sacked from her job along with half of the Ministry of Health’s Human Resources department.
As I packed up my notebook, L. related one more detail of her ordeal. One policewoman had approached her repeatedly in the foyer of the Ministry of Health. “Why don’t you love the king?” she asked L. “If you loved him, nothing bad would happen to you.” …source
July 3, 2012 No Comments