Khalil al-Halwachi, was arrested in September 2014. He confessed, allegedly under duress, to owning a rifle for terrorist purposes. He and his family deny his ownership of any rifle or involvement in terrorist activities. His hearing has been rescheduled 19 times over the past two years. It was last scheduled for October 20th at which time it was again rescheduled, this time for October 31st.
CCS has written Bahrainian authorities on his behalf and now have written the US Ambassador requesting that the Embassy have a representative present at the hearing on the 31st to assure due process and a fair trial.
October 27, 2016
Ambassador William Roebuck
United States Ambassador to the Kingdom of Bahrain
U.S. Embassy – Manama
Building 979, Road 331, Zinj
PO Box 26431
Manama – Kingdom of Bahrain
Dear Ambassador Roebuck:
The Committee of Concerned Scientists is an independent organization of scientists, physicians, engineers and scholars devoted to the protection and advancement of human rights and scientific freedom for colleagues all over the world.
We are currently writing out of concern for Khalil al-Halwachi, a 59-year old Bahraini electrical engineer and academic instructor who has been in prison since his arrest in early September, 2014. Mr. al-Halwachi studied engineering in the 1970s in London at the Imperial College and lived in Sweden for 14 years until his return to Bahrain in 2001
After Mr. al-Halwachi’s arrest he was allegedly tortured during his interrogation. As a result of his torture he confessed (falsely and while blindfolded) that he owned a Kalashnikov rifle for terrorist purposes (his family insists that he never owned a rifle, nor was he involved in terrorist activities).
Although this happened two years ago, hearings in his case have repeatedly been delayed, and he remains imprisoned in Dry Dock Detention Center without a trial, in conditions reported as so harsh that he and others have gone on hunger strikes in protest. His trial began in March 2015 and has reportedly been postponed 19 times, the last being October 20tth. He is now scheduled to return to court on October 31st. We wrote you on September 30th requesting that you have a representative at the last trial date. It has now, again, been postponed to this current one. We are writing to again request a representative of the Embassy attend this court appearance and to notify you of the new date.
As this case has been postponed so many times with the defendant sitting in jail for almost two years, and that he alleges a forced confession, we are requesting that you have a representative from the Embassy sit in on the Court hearing (October 31st) to assure due process – that he have an attorney present, that he be able to meet with his attorney in advance, that he and the attorney be present together in the courtroom and that the hearing be completed fairly. Should this not happen we would request a statement to that effect be made by the Embassy.
If we can provide you further information, please let us know and we will do what we can to assist.
Sincerely,Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich,
Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists
- Monday Verdicts to Test Bahrain’s Claims of Reform (humanrightsfirst.org)
- October 31 To Test Bahrain’s Reforms