Bahrain: Children detained, tortured and prevented from setting exams – Bahrain Freedom Movement

In a bizarre development, reminiscent of the days of the Barbarians, a child of no more than ten years has been summoned by the Al Kahlifa Death Squads to appear at their torture offices. Jihad Sayyed Aqeel Al Sari, 10, of Saar village is accused of “sedition and spreading hate against the regime” and is being pursued relentlessly.

 Few days ago, his mother had been contacted and asked to bring her son to the torture chambers, but when she refused, their house was surrounded yesterday by members of the Death Squads. Two months ago the students of Saar School had demonstrated in protest against the maltreatment of a young cleric, Sayyed Aqeel Al Sari, for his anti-regime activities. He was subjected to horrific treatment before fleeing the country. The Al Khalifa decided to seek revenge against his family, and his son is now pursued for taking part in the peaceful demonstration.

Another anti-regime activist has been targeted for revenge, and members of his family has been selected for abuse and torture. The daughter of Sheikh Ali bin Ahmad Al Jidhafsi was last week subjected to a horrific attack in the street by members of the Death Squads. There was a public furore as the news of the attack spread, and calls were made for action against those who had perpetrated the crime, but no one has been questioned.

Yesterday eight children were arrested as they left the gates of Saar Primary School. Nothing has been heard of them since then. The arrests may be linked to the earlier peaceful demonstration. Their families have not yet established their whereabouts or the conditions under which they are being held. There are rising fears for their safety and well-being, as well as their future studies. Students are now preparing for the end of year exams but there are scores of students and pupils who are languishing behind bars in the Al Khalifa dungeons.

Yesterday was the last day for visiting the 29 detainees from the town of Karzakkan. They had been arrested in period 27th March – 15th April and were denied family visits until their relatives staged a well-organised and peaceful protest demanding to visit their beloved ones in torture chambers. The families had been extremely worried for the safety and welfare of their children as the news of extensive forms of torture were being administered on them. On 21st April the families received permission to visit the detainees in batches. Each visit lasted no more than 15 minutes in the presence and close surveillance of two members of the notorious Death Squads. There were no physical contacts between the prisoners and their relatives as they had been kept behind metal mesh. They had also been warned of severe consequences if they told their relatives of the torture they had endured. None of them has been given medical treatment except one who had lost his left eye. They have been held in solitary confinement shackled and subjected to severe beating and torture. They had been hanged from their hands for long hours while electric torture was being inflicted on them. They were forced to sign pre-prepared statements which are considered “confessions” to be used as evidence against them during their summary justice. They will be tried on 1st and 2nd of June and will receive sentences that have already been decided by the ruling Al Khalifa family.

Haq, the Movement for Rights and Freedom, has documented the torture inflicted on many of the detainees. The information came mainly from family visits and are considered an authentic account of the suffering of the  Bahraini youth at the hands of the Al Khlaifa thugs.

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