Bahraini Reprisals Continue Against Human Rights Defender Naji Fateel
Washington, D.C. – Naji Fateel, board member of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) and a prominent activist, is due to appear before the Fourth Criminal Court again tomorrow, July 25. His trial on terrorism-related charges resumes tomorrow.
Police arrested Fateel on Thursday, May 2, 2013, in a dawn raid of his house in the village of Bani Jamra. He was sentenced to six months in prison for allegedly engaging in “illegal gatherings.” Within days of his arrest, the BYSHR reported that he had been tortured in custody, including that he was electrocuted in his genitals, suspended from the ceiling and threatened with rape. The Bahrain Center for Human Rights also reported that Fateel had twice been taken to the Interior Ministry Hospital for treatment.
In addition, Fateel is one of 50 defendants charged in a separate trial on terrorism-related offenses in the 14th of February Youth Coalition Cell case that opened on July 11. During his initial hearing, Fateel rejected the charges against him and declared before the court that he had been tortured. The judge ordered the case to be postponed until 25 July, 2013. Others accused for their involvement with the coalition report having been forced to sign confessions under torture.
“These recent reports of torture do little to dispel the notion that Bahrain is working to end the culture of impunity identified in the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI)” said Human Rights First’s Brian Dooley.