Abdulla Mohsen

SHORT INFO

Name: Abdulla Mohsen / Abdulla Mohsin Abdulla
Nationality: Bahrain
Arrested: since 21 Dec 07
Blog: bahraineyes (Arabic)
Global Voices Advocacy: Blogger in jail for four months

BIOGRAPHY

Abdulla Mohsen is a Bahraini blogger and Activist.

On December 17, 2007, protesters held a demonstration at Jidd Haffs to commemorate the “Martyr’s Day”, a day the Bahraini opposition announced to honor the memorial of the torture victims on the authority-inaugurated “King’s Ascension Day”. One participator, 31 year old Ali Jassem, had to be brought to a hospital and died a few hours later, apparently due to tear gas exposure fired by the police. The authorities announced Jassem’s death to be caused by a heart attack. ((Mahmood’s Den » “Martyr’s Day” commemoration death))

Between December 21 and 28, 2007, members of the Special Security Forces began a wave of arrests that targeted more than 60 activists. As of January 8, 2008, 28 remained in detention. ((Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights » URGENT APPEAL Bahrain: Arbitrary detention / Judicial proceedings / Ill-treatments / Tortur)) Among them was Abdulla Mohsen, who was arrested at his house on December 21. ((Nido » Abdulla Mohsen)) The detainees are accused of participating in riots on the funeral of Ali Jassem. At a meeting in memorial of Ali Jassem, about 500 protesters vandalized public and private property, set fire to garbage bins and blocked roads. The demonstrators also set Jidd Haffs suq on fire and a private car was damaged.

Officers intervened to restore order and prevent rioters, who were using Molotov cocktails, iron rods and stones to attack police, from committing further acts of violence. A policeman sustained severe injuries in the clashes and rioters set a police vehicle on fire after stealing weapons from it. ((Gulf Daily News » Ill prisoner’s family “kept in the dark”))

Abdulla Mohsen is accused of steeling weapons from a police jeep and then burning the vehicle. ((Nido » Abdulla Mohsen)) His sister claims that he wasn’t even at the scene when the crime occurred. ((Gulf Daily News » Ill prisoner’s family “kept in the dark”))

During the time in prison, Mohsen developed a serious kidney problem, according to his sister. He was sent to a hospital for medical treatment. ((Gulf Daily News » Ill prisoner’s family “kept in the dark”))

On February 24, 2008, a new hearing took place regarding 18 persons involved in the December demonstration. The latter were only given 15 minutes to talk to their lawyers before the hearing. Although the hearing was due to be open, the police only allowed a few people to get into the judicial “complex”. In the course of the session, seven of the accused pleaded not guilty on charges of “illegal gathering” as well as “theft of a weapon and ammunition and possession of weapon and ammunition without permission” that had been brought against them in relation to the demonstration held on December 17, 2007.

The defendants further complained about the acts of torture and ill-treatment they have been enduring while in detention, such as being prevented from sleeping, tied up for long periods and refusal of medical attention. Some of them reiterated that they have been sexually abused.

Lawyers acting on behalf of the men urged the court to release them on bail or at least to grant them access to a doctor and medical check-up, but Judge Shaikh Mohammed bin Ali Al Khalifa dismissed these requests. A new hearing was set to March 17, 2008 to allow defense lawyers time to get prepared. After the hearing, the defendants were allowed to meet their relatives briefly, before being transferred to the Dry Dock Detention Centre, in Muharraq. ((Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights » URGENT APPEAL Bahrain: Arbitrary detention / Judicial proceedings / Ill-treatments / Tortur)).

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