Date of Arrest: 17 March 2011
Prison Sentence: Life
Torture: Severe battery, doused in cold water, forced standing
Health: Needs specialist health care. Suffers from numerous medical conditions including nerve damage, sickle cell disease, retinal detachments and polyradiculoneuropathy. Abdulwahab Husain has been routinely denied specialist health care.
Abdulwahab Hussain Ali Ahmed Esmael was born on 09 October 1954, in the village of Nuwaidrat, Bahrain. He is married to Wedad Abdulraheem Salman Abdul-latif al-Bana, with whom he has five children. Hussain graduated from Kuwait University with a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Sociology and is one of the most renowned philosophers and thinkers in Bahrain. Upon graduating from university, he worked as a teacher and social worker until he was forced to retire as a result of his human rights activities. He is a prominent political activist and founding member of Al Wefaq National Islamic Society and the co-founder of Al Wafaa Islamic Movement, which was created in 2011. However, most people involved with Al Wafaa were arrested shortly after its creation.
Hussain was arrested in January 1996, and was held in Al-Qalaa prison where he was reportedly mistreated. Hussain was released in March 2000, four years after his arrest, but was re-arrested only one hour later and was not released until February 2001.
Hussain was taken forcefully from his home and arrested on 17 March 2011. Hussain stated: “My house was raided after midnight. While arresting me, I got beaten, kicked and had my head hit by the wall and started bleeding. My daughter Aqeela was also beaten by the rifle butt.” He was taken to an unknown location and was detained for weeks unable to contact to his family or a lawyer. During his arrest and detainment, Hussain was repeatedly interrogated, beaten, and subjected to torture by National Security Agency officers, including a man claiming to be a direct representative of the King. The torture included having cold water poured over him, having to stand for prolonged periods of time, spitting in his mouth, and kissing the shoes of the guards under threat of beatings. Hussain was also kept in solitary confinement for weeks. He was tried by a special military court in an unjust trial for charges that included “setting up terror groups to topple the royal regime and change the constitution” and was subsequently sentenced to life in prison.”
Abdulwahab’s suffering is exacerbated by his health problems. Hussain was diagnosed with multiple peripheral polyradiculoneuropathy in 2005, which causes severe neuropathic pain and can damage nerves permanently. He also has sickle cell disease, a hereditary blood condition resulting in chronic anemia, and has experienced several episodes of loss of consciousness requiring immediate attention from a cardiologist. Hussain also suffers from retinal detachment, which can lead to permanent vision loss if left untreated. He has contracted numerous infections in prison, which were also left untreated. Despite his life-threatening conditions, the authorities have denied Hussain adequate treatment. As of today, his health continues to deteriorate.
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Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry Report
(Examined by forensic team)
Date of statement: 3 August 2011Statement: At approximately 02:00 on 17 March 2011, masked security forces broke down the door of the witness’s home and dragged him outside. They slammed the witness’ head into the outside wall, handcuffed him and placed him in a small civilian car. The detainee remained in the car for one hour, during which time a masked man continuously beat him and insulted him and his sect. Other masked men continued to search his home and the detainee later discovered from his family that BD 1,300 and a camera were stolen during that time. The detainee was driven to a detention centre where he was seated in a chair and beaten and insulted. He heard the screams of other detainees who he later learned were some of the 14 political detainees. He was then taken to a sink where he was told to wash the blood off his face. He was taken to a doctor who asked about his health. The doctor provided him with a change of clothing and treated a cut above his left eyebrow that he had sustained during the arrest.The detainee was then transferred to Al Qurain Prison and placed in solitary confinement until 10 June. He did not discover his location until later. He was not allowed to shower for the first 10 days. He suffered beatings and cold water was thrown upon him and his mattress on a regular basis, resulting in the deterioration of his health. He was also exposed to other forms of torture including: sleep deprivation; being forced to stand and lift his arms for long periods; being forced to run around himself in circles for a long time causing dizziness; verbal sectarian insults; and being forced to kiss the hands and feet of masked men as well as the pictures of the King and Prime Minister of Bahrain and the King of Saudi Arabia. The beatings did not stop until the administration was changed in the prison.
“I remember that during my first arrest in 1995 I had a dialogue with several of the security commanders and one of the discussion topics was foreign agents and the uprising. I told them I come from the heart of the uprising and I know that there are no foreign agents in the uprising just like I know that you are sitting in front of me right now. But for the purpose of the discussion, let me hypothesise that there are foreign agents, and let me ask you this question: if I light a lighter in this office right now, would that be a problem? They answered no. I said, if the office was filled with gas and I lit up my lighter, would that be a problem? They answered yes. So I said, the problem then is not with lighting the lighter but rather the presence of the gas. Thus the problem is not with foreign incitement, if it existed, but rather the conditions that have been created which make the population more inclined to respond. Go and search for the reasons that have caused public rage and the discontent with the authorities treat those reasons to resolve the problem, instead of wasting time and energy on these accusations. What will solve the problem is treating the causes, not false accusations.