Family members of Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy’s Director of Advocacy face sentencing after five-minute hearing

18 September 2017: A Bahraini High Court is preparing to sentence the mother-in-law, brother-in-law and cousin of Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, Director of Advocacy at SRT grantee the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), in a trial criticised by UN experts and human rights bodies. Their trial today was postponed to 30 October for sentencing, after a court hearing which lasted only five minutes. If found guilty they face a prison term.

Security officers arrested Alwadaei’s brother-in-law Sayed Nazar Alwadaei, mother-in-law Hajar Mansoor Hasan, and cousin Mahmood Marzooq Mansoor in March 2017. They have been charged with ‘planting fake bombs’.

Hajar and Nazar were interrogated extensively regarding Alwadaei’s human rights work. After days of detention without official charges, the three were presented with terrorism charges which Amnesty International believe were based largely on coerced confessions. Security officials interrogated Hajar for three periods each lasting around 11 hours. Officers allegedly forced her to stand for extended periods and verbally abused her. Hajar fainted and collapsed, and was transferred to hospital on the first day of interrogations. The Public Prosecution’s forensic doctor found a needle mark on Hajar’s arm consistent with her hospitalisation.

Hajar told the court she is innocent and asked to be allowed to greet her son and nephew, her co-defendants. The defence lawyers requested that the torture allegations of the defendants be added to the case file. They also requested their release on bail. The judge refused all defence requests.

BIRD has obtained police forensic reports which analysed the fake explosives the family is accused of having set off in January 2017. The reports found no DNA, fingerprints or other physical evidence tying the defendants to the bombing. In a statement on 18 September, they said that they ‘wholly condemn the arbitrary arrest, ill-treatment, torture and unfair trial of Hajar, Nazar and Mahmood, who are being punished for [Alwadaei’s] work as a human rights campaigner.’

Full story from BIRD’s website:

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