Ali Bin Fadhul Al-buainain
According to human rights organizations, the Bahraini authorities systematically use torture, and the Bahraini Attorney General’s Office plays a significant role in this repressive system. Those arrested are often subjected to torture and forced to sign false confessions.
The annual conference of the International Association of Prosecutors (AIP) was held in Zurich in September 2015. Among the members of the AIP’s Executive Committee attending the conference was the Attorney General of Bahrain, Mr Ali Bin Fadhul Al-Buainain.
The NGOs TRIAL International, ECCHR, REDRESS and BIRD reported Mr Al-Buainain and supported the filing of a complaint by Mr Jaafar Al-Hasabi. This human rights defender states that he was a victim of torture and was forced to sign false confessions during an investigation by Mr Al-Buainain’s services. The latter had personally given the order to have the victim detained incommunicado.
Berne’s Public Prosecutor, which has jurisdiction to handle this case, opened a criminal investigation of the Attorney General on September 15, 2015, for the crime of torture. However, the Public Prosecutor did not wish to have the suspect arrested. The investigation is ongoing.
It is the first time that a criminal investigation of a senior Bahraini official has been opened for acts of torture, and it is the first universal jurisdiction case concerning Bahrain.
On 8 September 2015, Jaafar Al-Hasabi filed a criminal complaint in Bern against the Attorney General of Bahrain, Ali Bin Fadhul Al-Buainain, for facilitating torture. He was supported by the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), REDRESS, the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) and TRIAL International. On 13 September 2015, an application was filed with the Bern prosecutor, calling for the Attorney General to be summoned for interviewing. The complaint was filed in anticipation of his attendance at the annual conference of the International Association of Prosecutors (IAP) being held that year in Switzerland from 13 to 17 September, at which he was elected vice president of the organization.
On 15 September 2015, the prosecutor issued a decision stating that an investigation would be opened but that the evidentiary threshold for a summons had not yet been met. Ali Bin Fadhul Al-Buainain was allowed to return to Bahrain without questioning.
In June 2016, torture survivor Jaafar Al-Hasabi gave testimony to prosecutors in Bern concerning the Bahraini Attorney General’s alleged complicity in acts of torture.
In November 2016, the Swiss prosecutors made an application to the Swiss Federal Office of Justice seeking to transfer the case to prosecution authorities in Bahrain.
Ali Bin Fadhul Al-Buainain was expected to visit Ireland to attend an IAP conference in Dublin in September 2016. Jaafar Al-Hasabi brought a private prosecution application before the District Court in Dublin on 13 September 2016 requesting that the Attorney General be summoned in connection with the allegations of torture. The application was rejected, with the judge arguing that a sufficient link between the acts of torture and the alleged involvement of the accused had not been established. Police in Ireland opened a parallel investigation into the matter that is still ongoing. Jaafar Al-Hasabi’s complaint was supported by GLAN (Global Legal Action Network), BIRD (Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy), ECCHR, and REDRESS.