Mass detention, torture and abductions

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Bahrain ratified in 1998, requires that anyone arrested shall be promptly informed of any charges and brought before a judge or other judicial authority.

The refusal of the authorities to acknowledge a person’s detention or provide information on their fate or whereabouts is an enforced disappearance, a violation of several international standards.

Bahrain: Investigate New Death in Custody, Human Rights Watch

Upon declaring martial law in mid-March, Bahrain’s military then used village sweeps, violent abductions, mass detention and torture to further threaten the population into silence. No one is safe. Bahrain’s military has tortured human rights activists, reporters and ex-members of parliament.

The military entered Shia villages and has been randomly firing into the streets and spreading tear gas to scare people into staying inside their homes. Anyone that leaves their home may be shot, severely beaten or arrested.

Then the night time raids began. Security forces have been breaking into peoples’ homes at night and abducting suspected activists, often beating them in front of their families. Hundreds have been detained, including dozens of health workers.

Upon being detained, suspected activists are isolated from the outside world for prolonged periods and tortured. The maimed bodies of three people that were killed in custody were returned in April. Human rights organizations have documented other eyewitness accounts.

Human Rights Watch observed the body of one of the three men [that died in custody in April], Ali Isa Ibrahim Saqer, which bore signs of horrific abuse….Lash marks crisscrossed his back….The tops of his feet were blackened, and lacerations marked his ankles and wrists.

Bahrain: Suspicious Deaths in Custody, Human Rights Watch

Upon discharge from the hospital on 19 March 2011, [Bashir] was picked up by Naam police and later at the police department he was physically assaulted, tortured and released the next night. Bashir claims that the police used electric shock, cold showers, and repeatedly struck the soles of his feet {plantar surface} with a rubber baton {falanga beating}. According to Bashir, the torture was intermittent over 12 hours.

One of the PHR investigators, a forensic pathologist with more than 30 years of professional experience, also reviewed multiple photographs and radiographs taken near the time of the initial incident, as well as radiographs taken after the assault injury. Examination of Bashir’s physical wounds and medical records corroborated his testimony.

Do No Harm: A Call for Bahrain to End Systematic Attacks on Doctors and Patients, Physicians for Human Rights, page 23

This video describes the violent nature of the police sweeps, and the fear they have instilled throughout the country.


Security forces randomly fire into towns, filling the streets with tear gas, to further intimidate the population.


Residents in over 300 homes in South Karzakkan describe nightly raids that last sometimes until 4:00 a.m. They describe how their homes are sprayed with rubber bullets, sound bombs and CS gas. Many elderly patients are suffering from exposure to CS gas, including tearing, burning eyes, throat irritation, chest tightness, and shortness of breath.

Do No Harm: A Call for Bahrain to End Systematic Attacks on Doctors and Patients, Physicians for Human Rights, page 17

The Bahraini security forces have beaten people to death in custody and have abducted human rights activists. Zainab Al-Khawaja went on a hunger strike after security forces severely beat her father, a prominent human rights activist, and abducted him in the middle of the night.


My father was grabbed by the neck, dragged down a flight of stairs and then beaten unconscious in front of me. He never raised his hand to resist them, and the only words he said were “I can’t breathe”. Even after he was unconscious the masked men kept kicking and beating him while cursing and saying that they were going to kill him. This is a very real threat considering that in the past two weeks alone three political prisoners have died in custody. The special forces also beat up and arrested my husband and brother-in-law.

Zainab Al-Khawaja’s Letter to President Obama

The Bahraini security forces have a history of torture. This video from The Bahrain Center for Human Rights describes their brutal techniques.


No one is safe in the current crackdown. Even opposition leaders from parliament have been tortured.

Interviews and email exchanges with relatives of four of the jailed politicians yielded startlingly similar stories of dramatic and humiliating middle-of-the-night raids by 30 to 40 masked gunmen, followed by weeks of beatings and abuse in custody.

Fairooz, 49, a graduate of the University of Texas-El Paso, had been elected to the Bahraini parliament in 2006 and again in November 2010, but he’d resigned in February to protest police violence against peaceful demonstrators..

Exactly what happened after his arrest [on May 2] is known only to his captors and to Fairooz, who hasn’t been able to communicate with his family. All they know is that he wound up in Bahrain’s military hospital at 10 the next morning. “People who saw him said that he was in bad shape,” said a close relative..

Bahrain’s arrests of opponents show unsettling patterns of abuse

Bahrain’s monarchy has engaged in a terror campaign to create a media blackout so it may continue to receive Western arms, money and investment. The West has become complicit by remaining silent.

Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has warned the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix in March will be cancelled if unrest in the country continues…*If it’s not quietened down by Wednesday, I think we will have to cancel probably.*

Bahrain GP could be cancelled

Formula 1 bosses have given Bahrain until June 3rd to decide whether the postponed Bahrain Grand Prix will be rescheduled this year.

Ecclestone told Reuters last week that extending the deadline would give organisers more time to assess the political situation…. *All of a sudden everything might be peaceful in a month’s time and they are happy to run the event and so we are happy to be there.*

Bahrain Grand Prix decision has deadline extended

Military Invasion ===>

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