Preliminary Trial Update – May 11, 2011

On May 7th it was announced that the first court hearing for 14 Bahraini political detainees was to commence the next day (May 8). Ebrahim Sharif’s wife was notified by Ebrahim’s lawyer that she was allowed to attend along with one other family member, which contrasts the media’s portrayal that the state has affirmed, protected, and informed families of all their usual rights. Many of the families of the detainees being prosecuted had to learn of the trial second-hand extremely late, as the government made no effort to contact the families itself. On May 8, Ebrahim Sharif’s wife arrived at the court with her brother-in-law. They were allowed between 10-15 minutes with Ebrahim to talk privately with a guard at the door for this duration.

Ebrahim’s wife states that he is in high spirits and that he sends his regards to everyone. He was unaware of the serious charges and allegations that the government is accusing him of. He was shocked to find out that he was being grouped with the 13 other men to be tried that day, and his family hopes that everyone’s case is looked into individually and judged fairly. He has been in solitary confinement for the past 56 days and has completed the Quran 5 time, and has lost significant weight in that time. His family has also learned that at least five detainees were interrogated without their lawyers present, calling into question the validity of the interrogation. Ebrahim’s personal lawyer was only allowed to be present at one interrogation.

Ultimately, the trial was postponed to May 12th to allow the lawyers of all the detainees time to review the charges and information and to prepare for the cases. One of the detainees openly complained about torture, and another about being kept in solitary confinement for the length of his incarceration. Both were instructed by officials to forward his their to their lawyers.

Further updates will be forthcoming pending the trials reopening on May 12th.


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