SALAM: 461 Children Have Been Arrested in Bahrain Since 2011, 43% of the Arrests and Sentencing Occurring in 2014

SALAM: 461 Children Have Been Arrested in Bahrain Since 2011, 43% of the Arrests and Sentencing Occurring in 2014
Bahrain SALAM for Human Rights stresses its deep concern at the targeting of children in Bahrain where recent monitoring has disturbingly revealed an increasing number of children and minors under the age of 18 being subjected to grave violations. The more serious cases seem to show children being the targets of what can only be described as extra-judicial execution, whilst others have been imprisoned under alleged crimes of “terrorism”, “public gatherings”, “riotous activities”, and “assaults on security forces”. The number of children that have been accused of such crimes and have thus been detained have reached a staggering 461 children since 2011, where a further 200 are under investigation since January to April of this year, amounting to 43% of cases relating to recent arrests.
Recent endeavours have been undertaken by SALAM to establish the status of two children, Sayed Jihad Sayed Aqeel Al-Musawi (17 years old) who was arrested on 30 May 2014, and Firas Mohammed Ridha Al-Saffar (15 years old). It was widely reported that Sayed Jihad Al-Musawi was sitting infront of a household foods store in Sar near his home, and SALAM has of yet found no evidence suggesting Al-Musawi was involved in any security-related activities. It is important to note that Al-Musawi was also subjected to a number of previous arrests, with the most recent being carried in arbitrarily as no judicial authorisation was sought before.  His family were notified of his arrest after 48 hours and were told that he will be held for 60 days under the laws relating to terrorism, and during that time no lawyer was allowed to represent him in the investigation.
As for Firas Al-Saffar, he was detained by Police in civilian clothing driving in a pick-up car under the guise of Municipal community service workers, on the 1st June 2014. Firas Al-Saffar lives in Hamad Town and was on his way to complete his final exams in Jaabariya Industrial School before Police officers came to his parents’ house to ask “a question or two” about him. He was thus taken to an unknown location where it was found out after was Al-Houra Police station, and that he stands accused by the Public prosecutor of photographing “gatherings” and burning public properties in his town of origin: Raas Ruman. The Public prosecutor decided that he would be detained for 45 days for investigations.
SALAM can confirm that these arrests are a clear breach of international procedures relating to arrests of children and minors which Bahrain has signed up to and ratified. It further urges the accounting of the members found to be involved in the extra-judicial executions carried out on children and violations of the rights endowed to protect the children in Bahrain.
Bahrain SALAM for Human Rights
4 June 2014

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