SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights (SALAM DHR) expresses its concern about the attempted attack on the religious scholar Sheikh Abdul Jalil Al Miqdad (62 years old) in Jaw Prison – Bahrain. Sheikh Al Miqdad is one of the prisoners of conscience known as the thirteen national figures and has been detained since 27 March 2011. He is currently serving a 30-year prison sentence in multiple cases, including a life sentence in the case in which 13 opposition leaders and human rights defenders known in Bahrain as national figures are accused.
This case according to a statement SALAM DHR obtained from the family of Sheikh Al-Miqdad that on 27 September 2022, it was intended that he would be taken for treatment in the hospital according to a prior appointment, but one of the policemen told Al-Miqdad that the doctor was not present and so AL-Miqdad replied “there is no point in my going.” The police officers asked Sheikh Al-Miqdad to sign an official statement that he refrained from going to the hospital for treatment. Al-Miqdad refused to sign and told the police: “ I don’t refuse to go to the doctor, but, according to you, the doctor is not present. Then, five policemen tried to attack Al- Miqdad and beat him, but others prevented them from reaching Al-Miqdad. It wasn’t impossible to identify one of the policemen involved in the incident, who is (A.F). Al-Miqdad was also insulted using obscene words. Additionally, and according to another testimony from inside the prison, which SALAM DHR obtained, Sheikh Abdul-Jalil al-Miqdad was placed in a cage during the last month. It is worth noting that the deterioration of his health occurred as a result of deliberate medical negligence, and prevention from treatment during the long years he spent in prison, where he suffers from back pain, herniated disc, head pain, and needs prescription glasses for poor eyesight. He was taken to a general practitioner, and as a result, Sheikh Al-Miqdad continues to suffer medical negligence, which is a clear violation of the basic principles of treating prisoners with the necessary respect for their human dignity.
It is worth noting that this is not the first time that Sheikh Abdul Jalil Al-Miqdad has been subjected to abuse, as he was previously subjected to physical torture and degrading humiliation in 2011, including in Al-Qurain Prison, which is a military prison affiliated with the Bahrain Defence Force. There he was beaten all over his body including punches in the face, and he was forced to put his tongue in a dirt-hole. He was also forced to lick the ground and kiss soldiers’ boots, and stand for long hours. The soldiers would pour water on him, on his bed and pillow, and one day he was whiplashed after they poured water on him. Additionally, one of the officers, called Abu Yusuf, opened Al-Miqdad’s mouth and spit in his mouth and forced him to swallow the spit. The aforementioned punishment is a simple part of what the religious scholar Sheikh Al-Miqdad was exposed to. He was tried in a military court before being retried in a civilian court without fulfilling international fair trial standards, on charges of alleged crimes such as forming terrorist groups to overthrow the monarchy in Bahrain, changing the constitution, insulting the army, inciting hatred against the regime, and publishing false information, as well as participating in unauthorized demonstrations. In fact, all these violations, starting with arrest, torture and unfair trials, are due to Sheikh Abdul Jalil Al-Miqdad’s exercise of his right to peacefully express his political views and reveal them.
The crimes against humanity that occurred against a segment of citizens, including Sheikh Al-Miqdad, occurred when the country’s king declared a state of emergency in Bahrain. Thousands of citizens were arrested, including activists, human rights defenders, politicians, doctors, lawyers, and former representatives. Crimes have occurred where people were killed under torture, and crimes of sexual harassment against detainees, including religious scholars, and stripping many detainees of their clothes, in a revenge operation in which the Bahraini army and all the security services in the country participated. Moreover, thousands were dismissed of their jobs and students were dismissed from their education seats.
SALAM DHR calls on the government of Bahrain to put an end to the human rights violations carried out by the security forces against prisoners, to seek justice for the victims of murder under torture, to reform the disastrous situation in prisons against prisoners of conscience and human rights activists, and to respond to the demands of prisoners, including detainees, those who carry out strikes, such as the human rights defender Abdel Jalil Al-Singace. Basically, the main mistake must be corrected, and all prisoners of conscience arrested on the basis of their political opinions should be released and reparations be made. The miserable conditions inside prisons portend a danger that may occur at any time, for which the government of Bahrain bears the responsibility. The Public Prosecution must investigate the recent incident against Sheikh Abdul-Jalil al-Miqdad in a serious and professional manner and hold those involved accountable.
Salam Organization for Democracy and Human Rights