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Questions for Head of Bahrain’s NSA 10 Days After Ebtisam Al-Saegh’s Arrest, Brian Dooley

2017-07-18 - 4:07 am

Bahrain Mirror: Human Rights First's Brian Dooley wrote a letter addressing the President of Bahrain's National Security Agency (NSA), Sheikh Talal bin Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, 10 days after Bahraini human rights activist Ebtisam Al-Saegh's Arrest.

"Dear Sheikh Talal bin Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, I understand you are President of Bahrain's National Security Agency (NSA), appointed by your relative the King of Bahrain last August under 2016's royal decree 66," said Dooley opening his letter published on the Huffington Post.

"I write out of concern for human Rights defender Ebtisam Al Saegh, who I understand has been in NSA custody since July 3 when men wearing masks and carrying weapons seized her from her home," he stressed.

He noted that according to reports he has received, she has undergone a series of long and abusive interrogations over the last 10 days, some lasting more than 12 hours, adding that those who have seen her "are seriously alarmed about her health, and fear that she might be left with a permanent disability."

The senior advisor at HRF highlighted that Al-Saegh was previously summoned for interrogation by the NSA on May 26 and held for seven hours. "On her release she was hospitalized, injured and traumatized. She said during those hours she was forced to stand throughout the interrogation, blindfolded, and sexually assaulted. She also says she was threatened with rape."

Dooley further stated that the human right defender told him that she was severely beaten and punched on the head and different parts of the body when she used human rights terms to describe her work, and that her interrogators threatened to harm her children.

Dooley stressed that since the NSA's powers of arrest were restored earlier this year, following devastating criticism of the agency and the stripping of some of its authority in 2011, a series of reports have emerged of detainees being tortured in NSA custody. "We fear the abuse of Al Saegh is not an isolated incident," he said.

Concluding his letter, Dooley asked the NSA head a series of questions, about the investigation he has made into the allegations of torture made in May, what his findings were and what action he has taken. He also asked him to explain why Ebtisam Al-Saegh has not been allowed access to a lawyer in the last 10 days, or why her family have not been permitted to see her.

"Will you commit to investigating all allegations of mistreatment or torture committed by the NSA and hold those responsible to account?," Dooley further asked, "Sheikh Al Khalifa, I am one of many worried about what is happening to Ebtisam al Saegh. Your speedy answers to these questions would be appreciated by us all."

Arabic Version



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