In Bahrain, a political prisoner was subjected to severe torture to extract confessions of crimes he did not commit. He is currently serving his 15-year sentence in Jau Prison.
Hassan Ali Shahdad Al Balushi was 18 years old when the Bahraini authorities arrested him from his home in April 2013.
Since his arrest, Hassan has suffered psychologically and physically due to torture and ill-treatment.
On April 23, 2013, plainclothes officers and riot police surrounded the home of the Hassan family in Isa Town, smashed the main entrance door and raided the house without presenting an arrest warrant or giving any reason for the assault.
They arrested Hassan and his cousin Mortada Abdel Hadi, who was with them at the time. After the arrest, Hassan was forcibly disappeared for five days, and his family did not obtain any information about his fate or whereabouts.
During those five days of disappearance, Hassan was in the Criminal Investigation Department in Adliya, where CID officers interrogated him without a lawyer present.
The officers tortured Hassan to extract a confession from him; they beat him severely, kicked and insulted him, attacked his sect, and hung him by the feet.
They also pulled out a fingernail from his previously damaged finger.
As soon as the interrogation ended, Hassan’s family received the clothes he was wearing when he was arrested, and they said they were covered in blood.
Hassan’s family was not able to visit him until 22 days after his arrest, on May 15, 2013.
While visiting him in Jau Prison, they noticed traces of beating and torture on his face, specifically swelling near his eyes and nose.
The authorities fabricated two charges against Hassan. He was convicted of burning a car near Roundabout 18 in Hamad Town, and sentenced to 5 years in prison.
And he was convicted of blowing up a gas cylinder in Roundabout 17 and sentenced to 10 years in prison, bringing his total sentence to 15 years in Jau Prison.
On June 23, 2014, the appeals court upheld Hassan’s sentence.
Since his arrival at Jau Prison, Hassan has been subjected to ill-treatment and humiliation at the hands of the prison authorities. On March 10, 2014, he and his cellmates were subjected to collective punishment and torture for unclear reasons.
Prisoners were also prevented from praying and from going to the bathroom.
When a prisoner went to the bathroom, the officers would gather all the other prisoners in a line and beat and kick them until that prisoner reached the bathroom.
The same thing happens on the way back after leaving.
As a result of neglect and inhumane treatment, Hassan suffered from pain in his teeth and damage to his gums.
In addition, his glasses were shattered and his eyesight worsened, and throughout his time in Jau Prison, he was only allowed to have his eyes checked and change his glasses once, a year after his arrest in 2014.
Recently, Hassan’s health and well-being deteriorated further due to his infection with the Corona pandemic and the outbreak of the virus inside prison.
Family visits have been suspended and replaced with irregular, short video calls that often last no longer than 10 minutes and are constantly monitored.