Khalil al-Halwachi, a Bahrainian engineer arrested for alleged possession of a rifle and charged as a terrorist has sat in jail for the past two years and his trial has been postponed 18 times. Defendant alleges a forced confession after being tortured. CCS has written the US Ambassador to Bahrain requesting that a representative be present in the courtroom to assure due process for al-Halwachi. His next scheduled court date is October 20th.
September 30, 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 18 times, the last being September 26th. He is now scheduled to return to court on October 20th.
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 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
- Bahrain: Justice denied for two years as Khalil Al-Halwachi is imprisoned without a verdict (bahrainrights.org)
- Deep Concerns at Health of Detainee Khalil Al-Halwachi after … (bahrainrights.org)