Document - Bahrain: Arbitrary arrests / fear of torture / unlawful killings: Shaikh 'Abd al-'Amir Mansur al-Jamri and 18 members of his family: Shaikh Khalil Sultan, Shaikh Hassan Sultan, Zahra Salman Hilal (f), 31, Ayat 'Abd al-Jabbar Salman (f), 12, Fatima 'Ashur
EXTERNAL (for general distribution)AI Index: MDE 12/02/95
UA 85/95 Arbitrary arrests / Fear of torture / Unlawful killings6 April 1995
BAHRAINShaikh 'Abd al-'Amir Mansur al-Jamri and 18 members of his family
Shaikh Khalil Sultan
Shaikh Hassan Sultan
Zahra Salman Hilal (f), aged 31
Ayat 'Abd al-Jabbar Salman (f), aged 12
Fatima 'Ashur Singais (f), aged 60, and her daughter, Malaka, aged 27
and many others
Muhammad Ja'far Yusuf 'Atiyya, early 30s
Muhammad 'Ali 'Abd al-Razzaq, aged 48
As the human rights situation in Bahrain continues to deteriorate, Amnesty International fears for the safety of the many people who have been arrested, and also for the safety of demonstrators following reports of more killings by security forces using live ammunition against unarmed civilians.
On 1 April 1995, security forces surrounded the home of Shaikh 'Abd al-Amir Mansur al-Jamri, a prominent Shi'a Muslim religious scholar and member of the former National Assembly, in the village of Bani Jamra. The residential area in the vicinity of his home was cordoned off and the nearby houses forcibly vacated. Shaikh 'Abd al-Amir al-Jamri and 18 other members of his family were reportedly placed under house arrest, among them his wife Zahra Yusuf, three sons and three daughters and several young children. All have since been denied access to the outside world, and their telephone and fax lines have been disconnected.
Protests against these measures in Bani Jamra resulted in the security forces shooting at unarmed civilians using live ammunition, including from rooftops. Two men, Muhammad Ja'far Yusuf 'Atiyya and Muhammad 'Ali 'Abd al-Razzaq, were killed and others seriously wounded. The authorities reportedly prevented their families from holding public mourning.
In a separate incident, live ammunition is said to have been used to quell protests on the campus of the University of Bahrain, where one student is reported to have been killed. Incidents were also reported in a number of other districts, including in the capital, al-Manama, and al-Sanabes, Jidd Hafs, and Bilad al-Qadim.
Widespread arrests have been carried out during the past week, and reports indicate that a disused sports stadium in Madinat 'Issa has been converted into a makeshift detention centre as the official prisons are said to be severely overcrowded. Among those arrested are two prominent figures, Shaikh Khalil Sultan and Shaikh Hassan Sultan, whose exact whereabouts remain unknown. There are fears that they may be tortured during interrogation. One woman, Zahra Salman Hilal, and a 12-year-old girl, Ayat 'Abd al-Jabbar Salman, were also arrested and are believed to held at the Juveniles Prison in Madinat 'Issa. On 6 April, Fatima 'Ashur Singais and her daughter Malaka were arrested in a dawn raid on their homes in al-Sanabes. Their current whereabouts are unknown.
On 30 March 1995 Amnesty International publicly called on the Government of Bahrain to put an end to killings, torture and detention without trial. Since December 1994, at least seven civilians have been killed in several incidents after the security forces used live ammunition to quell demonstrations. Scores of others have been injured and measures taken by the authorities have prevented the wounded from receiving hospital treatment. Widespread protests have continued as demonstrators called for the National Assembly (dissolved by the Amir in 1975) to be allowed to reconvene and for the provisions of the country's 1973 Constitution to be respected. Amnesty International has received the names of over 700 people arrested in the past four months, the vast majority of whom are being held incommunicado without charge or trial and denied access to relatives, lawyers and doctors. On 22 March, 11 detainees were brought before the State Security Court, charges with carrying out acts of sabotage and membership of a prohibited organization. All had been denied prior access to defence lawyers. Amnesty International has renewed its request for its delegates be given immediate access to Bahrain but to date no official response has been received from the government.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/airmail letters in Arabic, English or your own language:
- calling for a prompt and impartial investigation into the killing of Muhammad Ja'far Yusuf 'Atiyya and Muhammad 'Ali 'Abd al-Razzaq and into other killings since December 1994;
- urging the authorities to take immediate measures to ensure that the Bahraini security forces adhere to the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, which prohibit the intentional lethal use of firearms, except "when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life";
- seeking assurances that all detainees arrested since December 1994 (naming some listed above) are being treated humanely in accordance with international standards, and urging that they be granted immediate access to their relatives, lawyers and independent doctors;
- seeking information about the reasons for placing Shaikh 'Abd al-Amir Mansur al-Jamri and his family under house arrest and details of any charges to be brought against them, and calling for the order to be immediately lifted if they are not to be charged with a recognizably criminal offence.
Shaikh 'Issa Bin Salman Al Khalifa
Office of His Highness the Amir
The Amiri Court
Rifa'a Palace, Bahrain
Telexes:8666 Qasar BN; 8500 Qasar BN
Telegrams: His Highness the Amir, al-Manama, Bahrain
Faxes: +973 668884
Salutation: Your Highness
Shaikh Muhammad Bin Khalifa Al Khalifa
Minister of Interior
P.O.Box 13, al-Manama, Bahrain
Telexes:9572 PSMKT BN or 8333 ALAMAN BN
Telegrams: Minister of Interior, al-Manama, Bahrain
Faxes: +973 276765 or 290526
Salutation: Your Excellency
Shaikh Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa
P.O.Box 1000, al-Manama, Bahrain
Telexes:9336 PROM BN or 7889 PMPO BN
Faxes: +973 533033
Salutation: Your Excellency
COPIES TO: Diplomatic representatives of Bahrain accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your section office, if sending appeals after 27 May 1995.