Target: Shaikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa, Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs
Goal: Protect 14-year-old detainee from further ill-treatment and hold accountable those implicated in his torture.
Fourteen-year-old Ali Hatem Ali Salman, arrested by Bahraini police during a period of severe civil unrest, has been denied contact with his family and has been tortured while in custody. Sign the petition and demand that the Bahraini government comply with international human rights standards and protect Ali Hatem Ali Salman from further ill-treatment.
Ali Hatem Ali Salman was in a coffee shop playing a board game with friends when police arrested him and five others. He was blindfolded and taken to the police station, where he eventually confessed to rioting. However, Ali Hatem Ali Salman claims that he only confessed after being beaten and electrocuted.
Bahrain’s government has recently implemented new laws and strengthened existing ones with the intent of making it illegal to protest against the government. A recent addition to the 1976 juvenile law “now stipulates that if anyone under 16 years of age takes part in a demonstration, public gathering or sit-in, his or her parents will be warned in writing by the Ministry of Interior.” If the minor repeats the offense within six months, his or her father is subject to fines and/or imprisonment. Through its maltreatment of Ali Hatem Ali Salman, the Bahraini government is failing to comply not only with international law but with even its own excessive standards of punishment.
The Bahraini government may be doing its utmost to silence its own people, but it cannot silence the entire world. Sign the petition and demand that the Bahraini government protect Ali Hatem Ali Salman from torture and ill-treatment, allow him access to his family and legal representation, take his status as a minor into account, and treat him in compliance with international human rights standards.
Every prisoner has basic human rights that must be respected. This is doubly true when the prisoner is a juvenile. With that in mind, I implore you to reconsider the charges against Ali Hatem Ali Salman, and I demand that you ensure he is treated properly as long as he is in state custody.
Ali Hatem Ali Salman is only fourteen years old. He was arrested on August 26, 2013, on the charge of rioting, to which he later confessed. However, he told his parents and his lawyer that his confession only came after he was tortured by police, who beat and electrocuted him. This brutality, which is deplorable and unacceptable under any circumstances, is even more heinous when it is wrought upon a fourteen-year-old child, no matter what his crime may be.
Furthermore, Ali Hatem Ali Salman’s arrest is not in compliance with Bahrain’s already-strict rules for charging minors with public demonstration or rioting. Under the newly-passed law, the parents of juvenile offenders receive written warnings when their children are arrested. If a juvenile repeats the offense within six months, his or her father is subject to fines, imprisonment, or both. The law is outrageous in and of itself, but officials did not even comply with it during Ali Hatem Ali Salman’s arrest. Why can’t Bahrain abide by even its own low legal standards?
Ali Hatem Ali Salman has been subject to a gross injustice at the hands of Bahrain’s government, and the world cannot and will not stand idly by. I demand that you protect Ali Hatem Ali Salman from further ill-treatment and launch a full investigation into his claims of torture.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Ralpharama via Wikimedia Commons