Target: King of Bahrain Shaikh Hamad bin ‘Issa Al Khalifa
Goal: To ensure that underage protesters in Bahrain are being treated as juveniles within the justice system.
Jehad Sadeq Aziz Salman and Ebrahim Ahmed Radi al-Moqdad, both 15 years old, were recently arrested alongside Naser Saeed Hassan and Hassan Abdul Jalil al-Ekri (20 years old) during anti-government protests in Bahrain. While the age of criminal responsibility in the country is 15, Bahrain is also a state party to the Convention for the Rights of the Child, which states that anyone under the age of 18 must be treated and tried as a juvenile as per international law. All four people are being held in the same prison, and though the arrests initially occurred on July 23, their detention periods have now been extended until at least the end of September.
Upon arrest, the children were held for 48 hours without any communication with family or their attorneys, and had no legal representation available during interrogation. All four have been charged with rioting and illegal gathering, though all claim that they were participating in peaceful protest actions. If this is in fact the case, then Bahraini authorities are obligated to immediately and unconditionally release all those involved.
There is great concern within the international community that Aziz Salman and al-Moqdad are being treated as adults despite being under the age of 18. Sign this petition urging Bahraini authorities to ensure that the boys are treated in accordance with international law, that all parties involved have access to legal aid, and t0 release them immediately and unconditionally in the event that they are being held solely on charges related to exercising their right to freedom of expression.
The recent arrests of Jehad Sadeq Aziz Salman and Ebrahim Ahmed Radi al-Moqdad, both 15 years old, may align with Bahraini law but they are currently not in accordance with international law. As a state party to the Convention for the Rights of the Child, it is your obligation to treat anyone under the age of 18 as a juvenile within the justice system. The boys, who have been charged with rioting and illegal gathering, are at risk of such human rights atrocities as excessive use of power and ill treatment, atrocities that your own Inquiry Commissioner reported were used against detained protesters.
That is why we write today to urge that Bahraini authorities follow international guidelines on the handling of juveniles within the justice system, and that all parties arrested during these anti-government protests are given access to legal representation. Should it be established that those arrested during these protests are being held only for their peaceful expression of speech, then we urge the immediate and unconditional release of Jehad Sadeq Aziz Salman, Ebrahim Ahmed Radi al-Moqdad, Naser Saeed Hassan, and Hassan Abdul Jalil al-Ekri.
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