The United Nations Human Rights Council is discussing the case of a detainee of conscience in the prisons of the Al-Khalifa regime, who was subjected months ago to forcible deportation to Bahrain, and his fate is still unknown.
Within the 51st session of the Human Rights Council, ADHRB made an oral intervention in the public debate under the third item, during which it called for action to secure the release of Ahmed Jaafar Ali and other political prisoners in Bahrain.
The organization highlighted the case of Ahmed Jaafar Ali, a Bahraini citizen who was deported from Serbia to Bahrain in cooperation with the International Criminal Police Organization Interpol. He faces various types of human rights violations in Bahrain.
On January 24, 2022, the Serbian authorities handed Ahmed over to Bahrain. Despite a stay of execution issued by the European Court of Human Rights before his extradition, pending information regarding the risk of torture, he would face if he returned.
Ahmed has been sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment in several unfair trials since 2012 in political cases. In one of them, three were sentenced to death with him after being tortured and later executed. Ahmed was previously tortured in 2007 and faced a similar risk at the time of his extradition.
Despite the danger and his multiple requests for asylum, he was not granted this and was returned to Bahrain by a UAE plane, not via Interpol.
According to the organization, Ahmed’s rights have been violated since his arrival in Bahrain. He has been placed in what is known as security isolation in prison. He has been judged for drug and criminal cases in a building away from other political prisoners until now, as a measure that increases psychological pressure in addition to being severely beaten there.
Serbia extradited Ali Jaafar on January 24, despite a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights explicitly forbidding this until the court hears more about whether he is at risk of torture or ill-treatment in Bahrain.
Ali, who was previously sentenced to life imprisonment twice in Bahrain, applied for asylum in Serbia in November 2021, arguing that he was at risk of torture and possibly death in his home country.
Rights groups noted that when Ali’s Red Notice was issued in 2015, publicly available information indicated that he would be at risk of torture in Bahrain.
Concerns about Ali’s case gained additional weight after reports that he had been mistreated and beaten since his return to Bahrain.
Syed Ahmed Alwadaei, Baird’s advocacy director, said Ali was beaten by a police officer in Jau Prison and “forcibly taken” to a part of the prison usually reserved for drug offenders.
“He is now suffering from severe pain in his chest due to the beating,” Al-Wadaei said in a statement. Another Yemeni policeman told him: “We will make you bleed, and we don’t care.”
An Interpol spokesperson told Forbes that details of individual countries’ red notices were not publicly available but that it set up a specialized task force in 2016 to check all requests for compliance with its rules.
“The task force reviews existing Red Notices to ensure they continue to comply with the terms of their publication,” the spokesperson added.
However, Bruno Min, legal director of Fair Trials, said the police agency had been repeatedly warned that Bahrain was abusing the red notice system to “target opponents and political opponents”.
“The agency’s failure to deal with these warnings has consequences, and Ahmed’s extradition could have been prevented if Interpol had done a better job of preventing the abuse of its systems,” Min said.
“We need more transparency from Interpol – otherwise, we will never be sure what to do to avoid the same mistakes in the future.”
Since the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011, which saw pro-democracy protesters take to the streets of Bahrain, Bahrain’s Sunni monarchy has waged a comprehensive crackdown on opposition groups and human rights activists.
A report by Baird earlier this year said at least 51 people had been sentenced to death since 2011, while leaders of the protest movement languish in prison despite promises from the country’s leadership to enact reforms.
Ali’s situation is one of several cases related to Bahrain’s accusation of misleading the Interpol system.
Footballer Hakeem Al-Araibi was arrested during his honeymoon in Thailand in November 2018, and in 2014 Ali Haroun was also detained in Thailand and handed over to the Bahraini authorities.
Bahrain has also been accused of other human rights abuses, including spying on dissidents and political activists.
On Tuesday, a two-day hearing began in London’s High Court, where Bahraini dissidents Musa Mohammed and Saeed Al Shehabi filed a legal case against Manama for allegedly placing FinFisher spyware on their phones in September 2011.