The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) expresses its concern regarding the continued practice of arresting and detaining children in Bahrain.
On 1 June 2014, Firas Al-Saffar, a 15-year-old student, was abducted from his home early in the morning, before going to school, by members of the security forces in civilian clothing. The men forced him to get into their vehicle and took him to an unknown location. After visiting several police stations, his parents discovered that he had been taken to Al-Hura police station in the capital Manama.
Al-Saffar reported that he was interrogated, questioned and officially charged with “filming unauthorised gatherings”.
He was referred to the Public Prosecution office without being allowed to contact his family or speak to a lawyer. The authorities decided to detain Al-Saffar for 45 days pending investigation.
As a result of his arrest and detention, Al-Saffar has not been allowed to attend his final exams, which has a strong negative impact on his education.
Al-Saffar was previously arrested when he, along with other students, were taken from a school bus after participating in a pro-democracy protest. Following his arrest, he was reportedly beaten by the Bahraini security forces. His family is strongly concerned about his well-being.
BCHR calls on the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Nations, the European Union and all close allies and international institutions to put pressure on Bahraini authorities to:
- Immediately release Firas Al-Saffar and all detained children in the prisons of Bahrain;
- End the practice of using excessive force against protesters and children;
- Hold accountable all perpetrators of human rights violations against children in Bahrain;
- As a signatory to the International Convention for the Rights of the Child, Bahrain must respect, uphold and implement the conditions of the convention.