Bahrain nabs activist over exposing regime’s torture, rape threats

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Bahrain's National Security Agency (NSA) has tortured and threatened with rape an online activist, Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) reported on 4 August.

According to BIRD, Al Khalifa regime's security organization has summoned Yusuf Al-Jamri three times during a week and interrogated him after the activist published a video message on 3 August to King Hamad making a plea about the torture he suffered at the hands of the NSA.

Al-Jamri , in his video message to King Hamad, complained that regime's forces threatened him with rape and reprisals against his family, and insulted him and his faith. He said to the King, “Your Majesty, I was tortured. …The interrogator said that he acts with the highest authority after your Majesty’s, and nothing can stop him.”

After publishing the his message on his twitter account, Al-Jamri was immediately summoned to the NSA again. The NSA repeatedly called Al-Jamri's wife urging him to present himself at the Muharraq Security Complex. Al-Jamri shared images of the many calls on his Twitter. He was summoned to for interrogation at the Muharraq Security Complex by the National Security Agency on 1st and 2nd August. The summons may have been because of his activism on social media. On 20 July, he put out a series of tweets publicizing the UK's criticisms of Bahrain's human rights situation in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office's Human Rights and Democracy report.

"Bahrain's government routinely resorts to harassment to silence human rights defenders. The international community - especially the UK - must demand that Bahrain treats its citizens with respect and end threats of reprisals and outright torture," Sean Gallagher, Index on Censorship, said.

Among those tortured by the NSA was the Human rights defender Ibtisam Al-Saegh who said she was tortured and sexually abused by NSA agents in May 2017. Amnesty International reported on her torture: "When she arrived [at Muharraq], she was immediately blindfolded, and in the subsequent hours, she was sexually assaulted, beaten all over her body, kicked in the stomach and kept standing for most of the seven hours she was being interrogated."

Ebtisam Al-Sayegh told Amnesty: “The men told me ‘no one can protect you’. They took away my humanity, I was weak prey to them.”

On 3 July, Al-Saegh was re-arrested. She remains in detention, and has been charged under the anti-terrorism law. She is at high risk of ill-treatment, and her health deteriorated significantly during her detention.

Bahraini King issued a decree returning the arrest power to the NSA after it was stripped of them following the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry report that recorded the systematic torture practiced by NSA. In April 2011, businessman Karim Al-Fakhrawi was tortured to death in NSA custody. Talal Al Khalifa is the Director of the NSA; he is one of the ruling family members in Bahrain and a graduate of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

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