SHAFAQNA – The human rights defender, Nabeel Rajab, was arrested after tweeting about J Central Prison, regarding the brutal torture to which the detainees were subjected. Rajab was charged over insulting a statutory body (the ministry of interior) and was detained for 7 days as investigations were conducted. However, this did manage to conceal the fact that Jaw Central Prison has become the “Guantanamo” of Bahrain; an institution of torture that lacks any type of reform. The butal torture to which the prisoners there have been
subjected, since March 10th 2015 has not yet stopped. Prisoners have been prevented from calling their families or meeting them so that the truth may remain hidden. Only few details about the events that took place at Jaw Central Prison have been disclosed and what Rajab said is but a small part of these details. “Bahrain Mirror” reveals new details about the humiliating and degrading torture the prisoners at Jaw Prison, the “Guantanamo” of Bahrain have been suffering from since last March 10th until now, and unveils some of the torturers’ names.
March 10th: The First Raid
On March 10th 2015, around 2 p.m., news spread like wildfire in block 4 (that contains about 1,000 political prisoners and consists of 19 very small cells) about a lady being beaten by security forces. The news stirred rage and anger in the cells and so the detainees rioted. In a mass rampage, a group of prisoners kicked “two policemen” outside the building and another group blocked the main doors (except the emergency door that is near block 3) using the available furniture and other things like refrigerators and hoses, used to extinguish fires. Whereas, a third group of prisoners mounted the rooftop of block 4 and started shouting chants of “Allah is Great”, while one of the groups tried to head to block 3 which is 7 meters away from block 4, through
the emergency door.
Security forces reinforcements, which soon arrived, surrounded the place and fired tear gas before excessively shooting rounds of shotgun pellets at the prisoners. One of the prisoners sustained an injury in his leg, thus, the prisoners quickly returned to block 4. Meanwhile, security forces positioned outside rushed towards the emergency door to break into block 4, as it continued firing tear gas and shotgun pellets.
In an unprecedented mobilization of security forces, about 2000 policemen burst into block 4 and hysterically fired tear gas canisters which resulted in 200 cases of fainting, while 3 prisoners sustained injuries from the shotguns pellets that were fired.
Retaliation: Releasing the Monster
After the raid, the prisoners returned to their cells. That was enough to punt an end it. However, the ministry of interior forces were not satisfied by the return of prisoners to their cells and that the rampage was contained. The time of punishment has come, or let’s call it “retaliation” under the excuse of “punishment”. It is known that the avenger awaits the suitable chance to release the monster dwelling inside him.
The prisoners were divided into groups and taken out to the outer yard. Every group was brutally beaten by metal rods, firearm butts and wooden planks. Beating the groups continued from the moment they left their cells until reaching the prison yard. The whole building was vacated under the supervision of Jordanian military forces headed by about 30 officers.
Security forces were not satisfied by this either, for daring to riot in the prison will cost the prisoners dearly. Around 4 p.m., the prisoners were ordered to lie on their chests on an “asphalt” surface, and then another round of brutal beatings and torture began. The employees of ministry of interior (imported from outside Bahrain) focused on hitting the prisoners on their heads and faces if they made any move.
The prisoners were banned from using the restroom until the second day. Their clothes were a mixture of blood and fluids their bodies discharged involuntarily. The security forces beat the prisoners randomly and intermittent manner. Prisoners of nearby prions could hear the screams and cries for help of prisoners of block 4 who spent their night in the open yard with suffering from their pains, injuries and the cold weather.
March 11th: Knocking Al- Sameea’s Teeth
Retaliation under the excuse of “punishment” did not stop at this level, for the security forces called a number of prisoners who were in the yard in the following day. According to some witnesses, the list of the prisoners called upon included ten names. These names had their new and special share of torture and insults. Detainee Hassan Habib from Nuwaidrat, was ordered to scream at the top of his lungs in front of the other prisoners in the yard “I am Hassan, the dog, who broke the window”, referring to a window inside the building. Detainee Abbas Al-Sameea was brutally tortured to the extent that his front teeth were knocked out as a result of the severe beatings. Witnesses say that Jaafar Al-Kuwaiti, from Al Eker sustained injuries in his arm.
Breakfast meals were brought to the prisoners in the open yard along with the beatings and insults. Policemen enjoyed insulting the prisoners by calling them: “Oh sons of Mut’aa” and insulting their mothers by calling them: “Oh sons of (….)”. None of the prisoners was able to eat or drink. Their rueful situation caused them to lose their appetite for food or even the ability to eat.
A Security Official: Why didn’t you kill them?
At the sunset of a long and exhausting day and as the prisoners lost contact with their families outside the prison, about 300 detainees were gathered in one of the yard’s corners tied up with plastic handcuffs. At 8 p.m., the police chief of the southern governorate, Khalifa Bin Ahmad Al-Shaer, accompanied by three citizens and two officers, went to them and started roaming around them saying: “you could have killed them” and left the prison after 5 minutes.
About 300 detainees were gathered and taken to another corner of the yard. The mercenary asked 15 prisoners to go to the barber, while crawling on their chests. The barber’s room was approximately 15 meters away from the place of their detention place. The prisoners started crawling on the ground writhing from fatigue and torture, while the mercenary forces stood on both sides in order to hit and kick them along their entire way there. There are were three barbers and three chairs. The detainees stood there to have their heads shaved. Some had their hair shaved while other had their beards shaved. Sometimes, they shaved half of the detainee’s hair or shaved half of his beard as a kind of humiliation and degradation. Meanwhile, they showered the detainees with beatings while they were in the barber’s very small room.
In the second night of sleeping in the open yard, the detainees were allowed to sleep and were given blankets to keep them warm from the bitter cold. Every two detainees shared a blanket and others slept over pipes that were in the yard due to the massive overcrowding.
March 12th: Relieving Themselves
On the third day, the prisoners were allowed to use the restroom, only in cases of extreme necessity. The mercenaries intended to beat the prisoners going to the toilet, using firearm butts. The prisoners had to relieve themselves while the door was wide open with a policeman standing next to him, noting that the restroom was only 50 meters away from the yard.
The prisoners were not allowed to urinate in the toilets. They were ordered to do that at the fence at the end of the yard. After urinating, they were ordered to wallow in their urine and return to their sleeping location and stay in the open yard afterwards. This situation lasted for ten days.
In the previous part, we tackled new details concerning what the political prisoners in Jaw Central Prison “Guantanamo” of Bahrain were subjected to during the first three days since the eruption of the incidents inside the prison on March 10th 2015.
The ministry of interior faced the prisoners’ uprising in the prison in a hysterical way. It intended that its actions exceed retaliation and yet less than an attempt of murder. The aim was not to allow the prisoners to dare once more and show their refusal or protests against the humiliation and degradation exercised against them. The penalty of protesting against the policy of humiliation followed by the prison’s administration is further humiliation, beatings, torture, preventing from using the restroom, being left in a cold open place for days (10 days), preventing from visits and contacts with families, not allowing to contact people outside the prison and more. In this part, we will continue the series of the central torture which has not yet ended.
March 16th: Cold Water on Bare Bodies
On March 16th, the security forces made the prisoners take off their whole clothes and stay in their underwear.
Among the prisoners were Sheikh Jassim Al-Demistani and Sheikh Ali Al-Mustarshed. Prisoners were ordered to head towards the fence (window) where they were forced to lie on their chests noting that the weather was cold. The prisoners’ bare bodies felt the coldness of the ground. They shivered and thought that things would stop here.
However, they were surprised with very cold water being poured on their bare bodies amid the cold weather. Their bodies shook and trembled for some time. Prisoners felt fatigue and a drop in their body temperatures. Their bodies were in a need of water to shower after being left in the open air for six days; however, they did not need the cold water that was poured on their bodies.
What the security forces did to the prisoners was not a part of an “Ice Bucket Challenge” that was spread a year ago to raise awareness for the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, but aimed at causing sclerosis to the prisoners’ hearts and damaging them. Medical science confirms that such an action would cause a heart stroke to those who have narrow arteries or a tendency towards constriction. After their bodies froze, prisoners were ordered to wear their clothes and sit under the heat of the sun. They were ordered to do so while counting the holes in the fence and the cracks in the ground (asphalt).
This situation lasted until the afternoon. Yet, the retaliation of that day did not end. Some prisoners were ordered to dance and others were ordered to sing. Hussein Abdulghani, the arrested, was ordered to do gymnastics for half an hour and finally he was ordered to move like a snake. It was an indescribable pleasure for the mercenaries to bring out their inferiority complexes on the prisoners. None could imagine the horrible kinds of humiliations in the mercenaries’ minds until the prisoners are asked to do them.
After 10 Days: Plastic Tents
The media and human rights awareness over “Jaw” prison incidents’ exerted a pressure on the authorities.
However, this pressure was not enough to put an end to the retaliation and return the punished prisoners to their cells. Ten days after leaving the prisoners in the open air amid the cold weather at night, the ministry of interior brought two plastic tents and put them in the yard next to building 4. About 318 prisoners were jammed in the first
tent and 315 others in the second one, while the rest were transferred to the yard next to building 2. At that time, prisoners were allowed to use water, shower and change their clothes under a condition that the shower time should not exceed 3 minutes to be taken once every 12 hours. Prisoners felt that this step is like being extracted from a bad-smelling swamp. This situation lasted for another five days.
After 15 Days: Limited Calls
After 15 days, amid the noise of the worried families who protested to know the fate of their sons who they lost contact with, some prisoners were allowed to make reassuring calls to their families of not more than one minute. Despite what the prisoners suffered and witnessed, they felt so happy when they were allowed to call their families. The calls did not exceed few words “I am fine”. The policeman then closes the phone and returns the prisoner to its plastic tent. This was the case with the rest of the prisoners who were allowed to call their families.
April 1st: The Sand Storm
On April 1st, 2015; the night during which Bahrain witnessed a severe sand storm, the prisoners suffered from dust and sand that covered their tents in the yard of building 4. Some prisoners suffered from suffocating. Around 11 p.m., the prisoners of one of the two tents were transferred inside the prison and were jammed and locked in the T.V room. Some suffered from dyspnea as a result of inhaling amounts of dust. Two syncope cases were recorded and when the mercenaries heard about them, they opened the door and poured water on one of the unconscious prisoner and severely hit him to wake up. The same process was applied on the other unconscious prisoner. Meanwhile, prisoners of the second plastic tent were transferred to building 5 due to the increase in syncope cases and their inability to move.
April 2nd: Torture Continues
On the eve of Thursday, April 2nd, 2015, the prisoners were transferred again to the plastic tents with the continuation of the torturing and beating course besides the verbal insults. The most severe thing the prisoners witnessed and affected them was when the mercenary brought one of the prisoners who was in a pitiful situation from the third tent next to building 4. The said prisoner was fatigued and could not understand what his friends were saying. He only repeated that he is responsible for the protests and the inciter and that he broke the building. The mercenary forces were hitting him on his stomach using metal skewers while he was repeating what he was asked to say in front of the prisoners who cried when seeing him being tortured in front of their eye while they can do nothing for him.
The New Torturing Building in Jaw Prison
Jaw Central Prison consists of six buildings in addition to building 10 that was prepared to host the arrested foreigners who reside in the country as illegal. These illegal residents are called “The Free Visa”. These foreigners spend a couple of days in this building before being deported.
After March 10th, the building was transferred to a special place to torture the prisoners of political backgrounds.
Prisoners were beaten and tortured in a brutal way in this building. Groans were emitted from this building and yells were heard. Calls for help echoed and prisoners of nearby buildings were able to hear them. From this
building, one can hear the torturing sound in a very clear way. Crimes were committed in building 10 and are still ongoing. Perpetrators and supervisors have to be brought accountable sooner or later.
After March 10th incidents, the human rights activist Naji Fateel, the arrested Mohammed Sarhan and Mohammed Sahwan, the activist Abdali Al-Singace, the arrested Ahmed Abbas Hilal along with other whose names have not been disclosed to the moment were tortured in this building. Guantanamo Criminals
Bahrain Mirror could reach a number of names of those involved in torturing Jaw’s prisoners in the recent incidents, whether by direct torturing or giving orders. The list has many more names and does not only include the
1. Major General Ibrahim Habib Al-Ghaith 2. Brigadier General Sheikh Khalifa bin Ahmed 3. Rehabilitation and Reform Director (Jaw Prison): Colonel Nasser Bakheet 4. First Lieutenant Hamad Al-Jowder 5. First Lieutenant Mohammed Al-Ansari 6. First Lieutenant Abdullah Essa 7. First Lieutenant Ali Hussein 8. First Lieutenant Mohammed AbdulWahab 9. Agent Force: Muhammad Salman 10. Captain Jassim Al-Mulla 11. Ahmad Al-Sanjar, of Syrian Nationality 12. Jazzaa (Al-Namla), of Syrian Nationality 13. Khaleef, of Syrian Nationality 14. Mohammed Awad, of Syrian Nationality 15. Abu Ghannam, of Syrian Nationality 16. Mesha’an, of Syrian Nationality
The aforementioned people used metal rods, batons, firearm butts, “square” wooden planks and policemen shoes in torturing the prisoners. This is not the end of Guantanamo’s story for its chapters are still ongoing inside “Guantanamo” of Bahrain.