Bahrain: Bahrain: Brother of human rights lawyer Mohammed Al-Tajer’s arrested and detained

27.11.15

On 5 November Ali Isa Al-Tajer, brother of prominent human rights lawyer Mohammed Al-Tajer was arrested in Al-Dair and his whereabouts remain unknown.

At approximately 5pm on 5 November 2015, members of the security forces in civilian clothes raided the family home in Al-Dair village and arrested Ali Isa Al-Tajer. They searched his room and his car and confiscated two laptops and a mobile phone. They did not produce a search warrant nor give a reason for the raid or the arrest.

Shortly after his arrest Ali Isa Al-Tajer called his family and told them he was at the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID), however, the number he called from was in the Al-Qalaa area, where the National Security Agency is known to be located. On 11 November he called his family again saying that he was told that he would be released shortly. He called again on 17 and 24 November saying the same thing each time from the Al-Qalaa area.

Apart from these phone calls he has been denied access to his family or to a lawyer. Furthermore as his whereabouts remain unclear it is feared that he is at risk of torture.

It is believed that the arrest and on-going detention of Ali Isa Al-Tajer is solely related to his brother’s human rights work. Mohammed Al-Tajer is a prominent defence lawyer who is well known for defending opposition figures and human rights defenders. He has been targeted as a result of his work and subjected to harassment including arbitrary detention and a smear campaign following his participation in a UN Universal Periodic Review at the Human Rights Council in Geneva in 2012.

Mohammed Al-Tajer has contacted various State authorities regarding his brother’s location and reason for his detention but he has been met with silence.

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) believes that the authorities are targeting Mohammed Al-Tajer by detaining his brother in an attempt to hinder his peaceful and legitimate legal and human rights work. 

The GCHR calls on the authorities in Bahrain to:  

  1. Immediately and unconditionally release Ali Isa Al-Tajer;
  2. Ensure that Mohammed Al-Tajer is free to carry out his human rights work in a safe environment and without fear of reprisals against him or his family;
  3. Guarantee in All circumstances that All human rights defenders in Bahrain are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals, and free of All restrictions including judicial harassment.

The GCHR respectfully reminds you that the United Nations Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, adopted by consensus by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1998, recognises the legitimacy of the activities of human rights defenders, their right to freedom of association and to carry out their activities without fear of reprisals. We would particularly draw your attention to Article 11: “Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to the lawful exercise of his or her occupation or profession (...),” and to Article 12 (2): “The State shall take All necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threat, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration.