'At around 7pm he was told to strip naked and was again beaten severely'

Eyewitness Account: Bahrain

Saturday 04 June 2011 00:00

This is the account of one Shia member of staff at the Bahrain International Circuit, which hosts the Grand Prix, who was arrested in April. Still suffering from injuries inflicted by his interrogators, he has now left the country. He wishes to remain anonymous and is referred to as AB throughout:

"AB's ordeal began when three cars full of security forces arrived at the BIC offices on the morning of 7 April. They went floor by floor searching for people whose names were on their list. When they arrived at the floor of AB's office, they called out his name. They immediately took him away, beating him as they went along the corridor. At least 23 other BIC staff were arrested that day, he says.

The motor race employees were blindfolded and handcuffed using electric cable and were taken to Riffa West police station. Once there, they were led to a room where the group were all beaten with sticks and cables for hours. They were accused of having celebrated the fact that the Formula One had been cancelled earlier in the year. AB denies this, saying that as an employee of BIC, he depends for his livelihood on the events held at BIC, particularly the Formula One.

AB was taken to an interrogation room. He was interrogated about the number of times he went to Pearl Roundabout, the centre of pro-democracy protests. He said he had been there twice, but the officer forced him to say that he had been there 20 times. At one point an officer put AB's head between his legs and flipped his body over, and he lost consciousness. Beatings continued.

The verbal abuse he experienced was full of anti-Shia sectarian hatred. The officers called him "son of muta'a" – a temporary marriage permitted in Shia Islam – and "son of a bitch". At around 7pm he was told to strip naked and was again beaten severely. The cable around his hands became extremely tight because of severe swelling.

The police station was over-flowing with at least 20 people sleeping on the floor in one cell with barely enough space to lie down. They were not given blankets and the air-conditioning was kept very low so it was too cold to sleep.

This treatment lasted for three days until they were transferred to Dry Dock prison, beatings continuing all the while. At Dry Dock the situation was much better and there was no more torture. AB was given sun cream and told to sit in the sun so that injuries from his torture wounds could heal.

He was freed after 20 days and told to sign papers banning him from talking to the media.

Today his hands tremble and he suffers from numbness in his arms as well as anxiety attacks and paranoia.

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