There have been at least four deaths in custody.
Hassan Jassem Mohammad Mekki, age 39, from Karzakan, was arrested at his house in the early hours of March 28. His family was shown a death certificate dated April 3 giving the cause of death as “heart failure.”
Zakaraya Rasheed Hassan al-’Asheri, died on April 9 after being arrested on April 2.
Ibrahim al-Saqer died in custody on April 9 after being arrested on April 3 in Hamad. His body had marks suggesting he had been tortured. On May 12 the Ministry of the Interior announced that five guards were arrested in connection with the death and would be tried by military court.
Karim Fakhrawi, a founder of Bahrain’s only independent newspaper, Al-Wasat, and a member of its board, died in custody on April 11, according to his death certificate. Fakhrawi, 49, was a Shiite businessman and member of the opposition party Al-Wefaq.
He was arrested on April 3 when he went to a police station to report an attack on his house the previous night. His stepdaughter Fatima told Human Rights First, “On Saturday April 2 our house was empty – we were all away. Neighbors told us that about 30 vehicles came to our home at 11.30 at night, and that security forces blasted the door open.”
She said they broke the security alarm system, ransacked the house, and stole watches, a laptop, perfume, a video camera, and money. Human Rights First saw evidence of damage to several doors in the house and to the alarm system. She told Human Rights First they scattered furniture and personal effects throughout the family home, and broke Shiite religious artifacts.
“The next morning my father went to the police station to report what had happened. He was told to come back 30 minutes later. He did, and was arrested by a man wearing a mask,” she told Human Rights First. That was the last his family heard about Karim Fakhrawi for 10 days. When they inquired about him at the police station they were told he “wasn’t in the computer system.”
Then on April 13 his stepdaughter says she was called by a policewoman and asked to go to Salmaniya Hospital because her father “wasn’t well.” When she arrived she was told he was not in the hospital’s computer system either. Later that day she was met there by the policewoman, who was accompanied by six men wearing masks. She was told that Karim Fakhrawi was dead in the hospital morgue, that he was sick when he had been detained, and had died of kidney failure. His family denies that he was ill when he went to the police station on April 3.
His stepdaughter also says that when his body was returned to the family they were warned not to take pictures of it, but dozens of pictures were taken and appeared on the internet. His body shows cuts and severe bruises on his arms and legs. His death certificate says he died at 1 p.m. on April 11 from kidney failure arising from heart problems, a claim strongly denied by his family.
There are reports that more than two dozen other people have died under suspicious circumstances. Sayed Ahmed Sayed Saeed, age 15, was playing soccer with his friends near his home in Sar on March 30, say his family, when he was killed by security forces.
According to his family, it was around 5:30 p.m. and the area was quiet. They say two groups of security vehicles appeared – nine in all. When the boys playing soccer saw them, they ran, and the police started shooting rubber bullets at them.
They say Sayed Ahmed Sayed Saeed was hit by a ‘sound bomb’ cartridge on the back of his head. He continued running, but was caught and beaten by the police. His father took him to a relative’s house and then to the American Mission hospital. He was being examined by a doctor there when, according to his family, security troops came and took him to Salmaniya Hospital, where he died, still wearing a Manchester United jersey. The medical report claimed he had a fractured neck, which Bahraini state media reports suggested was from an accident. His family strongly denies this and insists he was killed by the injury from the security forces.
At around 8:00 p.m. on April 5, 61 year-old Sayed Hamed Sayed Ebrahim, from Sar, went to get some official papers photocopied. There were government security forces wearing masks in the neighborhood, says his family. The next morning, around 7:30 a.m., his body was found in a bag about 500 meters from his car. Police claimed that he died from “circulation problems,” although those who saw his face claimed it showed signs of assault.