Bahrain: Child sent to prison after demonstration
Hussain al-Hawaj, a 15-year-old boy, was sentenced to five years imprisonment by a Bahraini court on 9 June 2013. He was sentenced for participation in a protest, arson and rioting. He is currently being held in Jaw Prison, a detention facility for adults.
The child was arrested by plainclothes security officers at about 4pm on 7 December 2012 in the capital, Manama, following clashes between protesters and police. He had been visiting his grandfather in the area and decided to go to buy some food from the restaurant across the street, when he was suddenly whisked away and taken to the Public Prosecution Office without a lawyer or adult representative present. He was subsequently charged with setting fire to communal dustbins and rioting, and detained at Dry Dock Prison.
His family were eventually allowed to visit him ten days later and he told them that he had been beaten, threatened and made to sign documents he was not allowed to read. His later appointed lawyer said he had been coerced into “confessing”.
The High Criminal Court sentenced him on 9 June 2013 to five years imprisonment. He was transferred to Jaw Prison for adults, a prison which is about 30km south of Manama. According to his family all the prosecution witnesses were policemen who gave conflicting testimonies in court. His appeal has been set for 9 September.
Please write immediately in Arabic, English or your own language:
* Expressing concern that Hussain al-Hawaj is being held in a prison for adults despite being 15 years old, and urging the Bahraini authorities to ensure that he is treated in accordance with the rules of juvenile justice;
* Urging the authorities to protect him from torture and other ill-treatment, to ensure that his allegations of ill-treatment are independently investigated and that statements obtained through the use of torture or other ill-treatment are not accepted in any proceedings.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 12 SEPTEMBER 2013 TO: (Time difference = GMT + 3 hrs / BST + 2 hrs)
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 (keep trying)
Salutation: Your Majesty
Minister of Interior
Shaikh Rashid bin ‘Abdullah Al Khalifa
Ministry of Interior
P.O. Box 13, al-Manama, Bahrain
Fax: 00973 1723 2661
Salutation: Your Excellency
And copies to:
Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs
Shaikh Khalid bin Ali bin Abdullah Al Khalifa
Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs
P. O. Box 450, al-Manama, Bahrain
Fax: 00973 1753 1284
PLEASE SEND COPIES OF YOUR APPEAL TO
Her Excellency Miss Alice Thomas Yusuf Samaan, Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain, 30 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8QB.
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