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Torture victim loses fight to bring Bahrain attorney general before court

Published 13/09/2016

Jaafar Al-Hasabi outside the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin where he lost his case against the Attorney General of Bahrain
Jaafar Al-Hasabi outside the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin where he lost his case against the Attorney General of Bahrain

A torture victim has vowed to continue to fight for justice after failing to get the Attorney General of Bahrain to face his claims in an Irish court.

Jaafar Al-Hasabi, who lives in London, claimed he suffered electric shocks, prolonged sleep deprivation, beatings on the soles of his feet and other attacks while imprisoned in the Gulf state in 2010.

The 43-year-old sought summonses for the country's chief prosecutor, Ali Bin Fadhul Al Buainain, to appear in the District Court in Dublin over three allegations.

The IT professional and UK citizen, who still campaigns for human rights in his homeland, was held for five-and-a-half months from August 2010 to February 2011 in a complex known as The Fort.

Mr Al-Hasabi told the court the Attorney General was responsible for overseeing the detention centre, operated by Bahrain's National Security Agency.

His senior counsel, Giollaiosa O Lideadha, said that in August 2010 Mr Al Buainain authorised a 60-day extension to his client's incarceration and another 10-day extension was signed off by his office.

Judge Grainne O'Neill refused the request to order the Bahraini Attorney General to appear on complaints of torture, conspiracy to torture and aiding and abetting torture.

"I'm not satisfied that you have established a sufficient nexus between the behaviour alleged and the proposed accused in this case," she told the court.

Outside the Criminal Courts of Justice, Mr Al-Hasabi said: "This is disappointing, not just for me. The people who are looking for change and democracy and human rights without abuse from the government, this is disappointing for them."

Mr Al-Hasabi, who was supported by the Global Legal Action Network, took the case in Dublin as Mr Al Buainain is due to attend a conference in the city this week as vice-president of the International Association of Prosecutors.

"We hope in the near future, if it is not in Ireland, we will put this case in many different places and hopefully one of the places will bring them to justice," Mr Al-Hasabi said.

"I have been working in this field for more than 20 years and I will continue until the day that comes to bring justice to our people.

"There were more than 4,000 people, activists and political figures, are in jail. The torture in Bahrain is still going. There is no justice in Bahrain.

"If I don't fight for their freedom it would be disappointment for our next generation that we have not done any good for their future."

Mr Al-Hasabi fled Bahrain a second time after being released without charge in 2011, despite facing repeated allegations from Bahraini authorities that he was part of a terrorist network.

He made a statement to gardai describing the torture he endured and outlining allegations against the Attorney General of Bahrain.

The tiny Gulf state is ruled by a Sunni monarchy which has faced down calls for deeper democracy for the Shia majority population.

Mr Al-Hasabi became a refugee in Britain after first fleeing Bahrain in 1995.

In 2009 he became a UK citizen and returned to his homeland the following year to visit his father but was imprisoned without charge and incommunicado.

Gearoid O Cuinn, director of Global Legal Action Network (Glan), said: "Today's decision is a failure by the courts to adhere to commitments given by Ireland under international law."

Sayed Ahmed Al Wadaei, director of advocacy at the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, said: "We are extremely disappointed at the decision today. It has undermined Ireland's commitment to the Convention against Torture."

The New York-based Human Rights Watch reported in 2010 that torture was endemic and systemic in Bahrain prisons.

After Mr Al-Hasabi's detention, United Nations rapporteurs warned the Bahrain government that it had concerns for him and a number of others who were in custody.

Swiss prosecutors last year launched an investigation into Mr Al Buainain after similar allegations were made on Mr Al-Hasabi's case.

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