Imagine your daughter stood with a friend outside the FI race course wearing a T shirt, bearing the images of Abdulhadi al Khawaja, the defence lawyer and Ahmed Humaidan, a photo-journalist. Rihana al Mousawi and Nafeesa al Asfoor were arrested on April 20th 2013 at a peaceful demonstration. They were about to be released with no charges when suddenly they were detained, interrogated and charged with attempting to get a bomb into the FI Race! They have been detained for nine months, accused of terrorism and trying to overthrow the regime.
At their first trial on 11th July, Rihana bravely spoke of how she had been stripped and threatened with rape and electric shots if she didn’t confess to the male officers. She was forced to stand as an open door so that the prisoners could see her. She was denied water and food for a day and fell unconscious, with only a 15 minutes’ break between interrogation sessions. All Judge Dhahrini noted down in court was “improper moral treatment!” She was sentenced to five years in October for being a member of the 14th February Coalition in a trial with no proper process, no chance for the detainees to speak or for the defence lawyers to make their case. The Appeal session in on 24th January for the 14th February Coalition and 30th January for the bomb making charge.
Rihanna is a mother of three young children. She has multiple breast lumps but she was refused permission by the prison to get treatment. Her husband got authorisation from the Public Prosecutor, but she missed 4 hospital appointments. She has a dislocation of her jaw joints which requires a special diet and a TMT splint, neither of which she’s been given.
The Appeal will be handled by Ali Dhahrini, son of Judge Dharini who sent them down in the first place. If the lawyers can’t get recognition of their clients’ torture and acceptance of their pre-defence papers, they will walk out in protest.
The international legal and political communities must condemn this situation of illegal trials and forced confessions after torture. Why the silence? There was a lot of pressure for the Pussy Girls and Greenpeace activists. Are the lives of the Bahrainis unimportant?