BAHRAIN: Children detained following peaceful protest

[16 October 2012] - The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) is gravely concerned over the detention and ill-treatment of children in Bahrain. Dozens of people were arrested on 12 October 2012 in Manama following a peaceful protest being held to demand self-determination and democracy. Several of the arrested persons were children who were allegedly beaten and ill-treated when arrested. With no regard to their age and health condition, the Public Prosecution ordered their detention for up to 30 days “pending investigation”. The BCHR urgently appeals for the release of the following children. 

Dana Jaffar, a 15-year-old girl, was arrested in Manama and taken to Al Hoora police station. According to her lawyer, she was then transferred to Isa Town women’s prison, where adults are also detained. On 14 October 2012, the public prosecution ordered her to seven days detention for further investigation. Her lawyer’s request to release her was refused by the authorities. 

Ali Adel is a 15-year-old boy who was violently arrested from Manama and severely beaten by riot police according to witnesses. The public prosecution ordered him to 30 days in detention on 14 October 2012.

The BCHR documented in its report “No Progress, No Peace” that 50 children are currently in prison over charges related to the political situation, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Many of these children were subjected to torture and kept in cells with adult prisoners, many of whom had been [criminally charged]. There are children who are being denied proper medical treatment which puts their lives at serious risk. Ebrahim Al Muqdad and Jehad Sadeq [represent the latest] examples of children’s rights violations in Bahrain. The BCHR appealed their release. However, today and after more than 60 days in detention, the High Criminal Court postponed their hearing to 31 October 2012 and refused their release. Charges against them are (1) Pre-meditated attempted murder of policemen, (2) the burning of [an] armoured vehicle, (3) the possession of Molotov cocktails, and (4) illegal gathering, [all of] which show the absurdity of the system [that accuses] children with such crimes. One of the children, Ebrahim Al Muqdad, is ill but he is denied medical treatment in prison despite requests from [his] family and lawyer.

[The[ Convention on the Rights of the Child (Article 37.b) states that "No child shall be deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily. The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be in conformity with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time". Although Bahrain is a signatory of the covenant of children’s rights, it continues to violate children's rights through detention and torture.

The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights calls on the international community and the governments of the US, UK and other close allies of Bahrain to put pressure on the government to immediately:

  • Release Dana Jaffar, Ali Adel, Ebrahim Al Muqdad, Jehad Sadeq, and all other detained children; 
  • Put an end to torture and ill-treatment of children; 
  • Launch an investigation in all cases of the arrest, detention and torture of children; 
  • Provide medical care for prisoners of conscience; 
  • Put the international Convention for the Rights of the Child into practice. 

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