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A child goes on hunger strike in Bahrain prisons against his arbitrary arrest

Human rights sources revealed that a Bahraini child started an open hunger strike in Bahrain’s prisons against his
arbitrary arrest in a new scandal for the regime and its violations.

The sources said that the child, Mr Hussein Sayed Taher, has been on hunger strike since last Sunday, 7/8/2021, in
Dry Dock Prison, demanding to preserve his dignity and stop ill-treatment.

The sources stated that Taher was arbitrarily arrested at the age of 15, and he was sentenced to 8 years in prison,
of which he spent nearly three years.

Last June, Human Rights Watch condemned a government report denying that the Bahraini authorities had
beaten, humiliated, and threatened to rape four boys, aged between 15 and 17, who were in custody in late 2020 and 2021.

The international human rights organization said that this report lacks any credibility in the face of compelling
evidence, which is a blatant effort to whitewash the gross violations of human rights in Bahrain.

A joint report with the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy stated that the boys’ statements and the
corroborated information contradicted a report issued by the Ombudsman at the Bahraini Ministry of Interior on March 14.

It claimed that none of the boys had been ill-treated in detention.

False investigation

“If Bahraini authorities are given the green light to absolve themselves of vicious child abuse with a bogus
investigation, there is nothing to prevent them from doing so again tomorrow,” said Syed Ahmed Alwadaei,
advocacy director at the Bahrain Institute.

Alwadaei, based in Britain, added that “foreign governments such as the UK that support Bahrain’s security and
law enforcement should press for accountability, not continue business as usual with officials who torture
children.”

On June 7, Human Rights Watch and the Bahrain Institute wrote to the UK government about child abuse, urging
to press Bahrain for accountability.

The United Kingdom has supported the Bahraini Ministry of Interior with £6.5 million since 2012. While the
United States is the leading supplier of arms used by the Ministry of Interior forces.

Human Rights Watch and the Bahrain Institute spoke with the four boys and reviewed the verdict in their case,
the prosecution’s file, the Ombudsman’s report, and other materials.

Previously, the two groups had documented abuse against ten other children in the same case, who was
threatened with rape and given electric shocks from wires attached to a car battery in an outhouse at a police station.

Amnesty International reported that the four boys were being tried as adults.

Police in Hamad Town also summoned Jamil J., 14, whose name has been withheld, as with others, because they
are children, in April 2020 for questioning about his actions on February 14, the anniversary of the Arab Spring
uprising in Bahrain.

One of the officers threatened to beat child detainees, and another threatened to “put you in a prison cell and let
all the officers rape you,” he said.

He was released and interrogated again on November 30, when he was 15 years old, by two police officers at the
Criminal Investigation Department in Manama.

He said that they slapped him repeatedly and threatened to beat him and arrest his father severely. One of the
officers said, “Are you going to confess, or would you like me to treat you like a man?” He confessed to throwing
a Molotov cocktail and burning tires and gave the names of other boys.

Jamil J. said that the police put him in a cell with adults, then let him briefly call his parents and moved him to a
small, windowless cell for two days.

On December 2, the police presented Jamil J. to appear before the Public Prosecution without a lawyer.
“Everything the prosecutor told me, I said yes, yes.

“When the Bahraini authorities finally released these children, they called in for further interrogation to
whitewash the abuses the children had been subjected to,” said Bill Van Esveld, associate director of children’s
rights at Human Rights Watch.

He added, “Foreign government officials should stop chanting parrots to absolve Bahrain’s unreasonable, and
instead press for accountability, otherwise more children may be at risk.”

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