Document - Bahrain: Child held without charge in adult prison


UA: 362/12 Index: MDE 11/070/2012 Bahrain Date: 18 December 2012



A child arrested in Bahrain is being held without charge in an adult prison. He has not seen his family or lawyer and his detention has been extended until the end of December.

Mohammad Mohammad ‘Abdulnabi ‘Abdulwasi (16), was arrested from his house in Sitra, an island east of Manama, the capital of Bahrain, after it was raided on 11 December 2012 by riot police who allegedly did not show an arrest warrant. During the raid, the riot police apparently broke the main door and took money and other items from the house. Mohammad Mohammad ‘Abdulnabi ‘Abdulwasi’s parents and younger brother were in the house at the time of the arrest. His family said that the riot police asked for an electricity bill and that while they were looking for it in another room, Mohammad Mohammad ‘Abdulnabi ‘Abdulwasi was taken without their knowledge. His family claims that they did not know his whereabouts for two days, during which time they asked about him at police stations, the Public Prosecution Office (PPO) and the Criminal Investigation Department.

Mohammad Mohammad ‘Abdulnabi ‘Abdulwasi called his family two days after his arrest to tell them he was being held in Dry Dock prison, north eastern Bahrain. The day after his arrest he had been taken to the PPO without his lawyer or family. His family has been able to speak to him on the phone but as of 18 December had still not been allowed to visit him. His lawyer has not been allowed to visit him either and his detention has been extended until 26 December 2012 pending further investigation. Neither his family nor his lawyer are aware of any charges having been brought against him or the exact reasons for his arrest.

Under international law, anyone under the age of 18 is a child and children suspected of a criminal offence should be treated according to the rules of the juvenile justice system.

Please write immediately in English or Arabic:

Expressing concern that Mohammad Mohammad ‘Abdulnabi ‘Abdulwasi is being treated as an adult despite being under the age of 18, and urging the authorities to ensure that he is treated in accordance with the international standards of juvenile justice;

Urging the Bahraini authorities to grant him immediate access to his family and lawyer;

Urging the authorities to disclose the reason for his arrest and to release him unless he is charged with a recognisable criminal offence and in the interim ensure he is held separately from adult detainees;

Urging the authorities to protect him from torture or other ill-treatment.



Shaikh Hamad bin ‘Issa Al Khalifa

Office of His Majesty the King

P.O. Box 555

Rifa’a Palace, al-Manama, Bahrain

Fax: +973 1766 4587

Salutation: Your Majesty

Minister of Interior

Shaikh Rashid bin ‘Abdullah Al Khalifa

Ministry of Interior

P.O. Box 13, al-Manama, Bahrain

Fax: +973 1723 2661

Twitter: @moi_Bahrain

Salutation: Your Excellency

And copies to:

Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs

Shaikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa

Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs

P. O. Box 450, al-Manama, Bahrain

Fax: +973 1753 1284

Email via website:

Twitter: @Khaled_Bin_Ali

Salutation: Your Excellency

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.



ADditional Information

An increasing number of children aged between 15 and 18 have been held in adult prisons and detention centres in Bahrain in the past few months. The total may be as high as 80, according to lawyers and Bahraini human rights groups.

Many of these children were arrested during demonstrations and have been accused of “illegal gathering” and rioting, and in some cases appear to have been punished solely for exercising their right to freedom of expression and assembly. Some of them have alleged they were beaten during arrest or on the way to police stations. In some cases, they did not have access to their families or lawyers during the first hours of detention and were forced to sign “confessions”. In other cases, they were formally charged with criminal offences under the Penal Code, tried in the regular (as opposed to juvenile) justice system, convicted and sentenced to prison terms.

Under international law, anyone under the age of 18 is a child; and children suspected of a criminal offence should be treated according to the rules of juvenile justice. Principles of juvenile justice include: detention or imprisonment only as a measure of last resort – under regular review and for the shortest appropriate time and a commitment to the use of alternatives to detention whenever possible; prohibition of solitary confinement; separation of children in detention facilities from adult detainees; no life imprisonment without the possibility of release in connection with offences committed while under 18; and attention to the particular needs of children in custody and an emphasis on reformation and social rehabilitation of child prisoners.

However, in contradiction with international law, children suspected of criminal offences in Bahrain have been treated as adults.

The human rights situation in Bahrain has markedly deteriorated in recent months, with repressive practices increasingly entrenched and government disregard for the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) becoming more flagrant. The BICI was set up to investigate widespread human rights violations during the 2011 uprising.

The BICI, appointed by Royal Order on 29 June 2011, included five renowned international legal and human rights experts, charged with investigating and reporting on human rights violations committed in connection to the 2011 protests. At the launch of the BICI report in November 2011, the government publicly committed itself to implementing the recommendations set out in the report. The report recounted the government’s response to the mass protests and documented wide-ranging human rights abuses. Among its key recommendations, the report called on the government to bring to account those responsible for human rights violations, including torture and excessive use of force, and to carry out independent investigations into allegations of torture.

However, many of the government’s pledges remain unfulfilled. The establishment of BICI and its report was considered to be a groundbreaking initiative, but a year on, the promise of meaningful reform has been betrayed by the government’s unwillingness to implement key recommendations around accountability, including its failure to carry out independent, effective and transparent investigations into allegations of torture and other ill-treatment and excessive use of force and to prosecute all those who gave the orders to commit human rights abuses. For further information see: Bahrain: Reform shelved, repression unleashed (Index: MDE 11/062/2012),

Name: Mohammad Mohammad ‘Abdulnabi ‘Abdulwasi

Gender m/f: m

UA: 362/12 Index: MDE 11/070/2012 Issue Date: 18 December 2012


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