Saturday, February 11, 2012

Yousif Ahmed, University Student, Sentenced to 15 years

Name: Yousif Ahmed Khaleefa Abbas
Age: 20-year-old
Date of Detention: April 26th, 2011 at the dawn.
Yousif is a student at the College of Business Administration (University of Bahrain) who achieved superior academic performance, with a soaring GPA of 3.6 out of 4. He is known for his volunteer work and student activities both inside and outside the university. He was arrested in a pre-dawn house raid at his home on 26th April 2011. Prior to the arrest, Yousif was summoned for investigation by the University of Bahrain’s administration regarding the events of 13th March 2011 and nothing was proven against him during investigation. University’s Vice President (Al Bastaki) even assured him that this was a standard protocol and he was for sure innocent. During his time in detention, his family was not allowed to see him following his arrest until the day of the trial and only for a few minutes in the courtroom. Yousif complained of being subjected to torture and ill-treatment including beatings, spitting in his mouth, as well as sexual harassment.
Details of the Arrest:
Yousif’s house was raided at the dawn by police mercenaries who broke the door and arrested him disregarding his mother’s cries begging for him to be left alone. Unjustly, made-up charges against him were as follow:
- Attempted murder
- Ignite fire in a government building (university Bahrain)
- Possession of incendiary materials and Molotov cocktails
- Vandalism of a government building (university of Bahrain)
- Unauthorized gathering and Incitement to hatred against the regime
Since the beginning of his arrest since April until the start of trials in June, Yousif’s family was allowed to visit/see him only during the Military Court Hearings.
He joined a hunger strike in the Dry Dock detention facility for the first time on Sep 1st, 2011 to demand the immediate release of all political detainees, but he collapsed on the 5th day .However, he came back to resume the hunger strike which continued for 17 day. No detainees were released and his family only knew this during his next court session on 18th October, 2011.
The Sentence in the Case of University Of Bahrain students was given on 3rd October 2011. Yousif and 5 other students were sentenced to 15 years in prison and a cash fine of USD 1,047,194.

In Prison:
The day after, Yousif was transferred from Dry Docks detention facility to Jaw Prison to serve the time.
He said that treatment was bad and the conditions are worse in Jaw Prison, in first few days there were no place to sleep and no good food but with time he got used to it.
Prior to issuing BICI Report (Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry) Yousif was hoping that he and other prisoners will be free soon after the issuance of the report,  but now he is disappointed and things have become worse instead.
His faith in God is very strong he said.
Political prisoners, including the university students, were prevented from practicing the rituals of the month of Muharram (first month of the Islamic year, marking the Martyrdom of Imam Hussain). They were allowed to practice their rights after they had a hunger strike, given 2 hours a day in Jaw’s prison’s Mosque.
Yousif is allowed a monthly visit by his immediate family members only, visits last half an hour in a glass room with a hole in the divider between him and his family to be able to hear each other.
On 2nd January 2012, the first appeal of the case was held. The session was postponed to 16th March 2012 without hearing any of the lawyers. The Judge refused to call the University of Bahrain’s president or head of security as witnesses

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