The following information was taken from a translated copy of this Facebook entry as well as consultation with Abbas’s family, friends, lawyer and human rights activists in Bahrain. If you have any further information to add to this or any other case, or notice any inaccuracies, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Abbas Ali Hassan is now 20 years old. He has four brothers and three sisters. He is the second youngest in the family.
Abbas Ali is known by his friends as Al Abs. He grew up in the village of Dair, which is on the Northern coast of the island of Muharraq, on the North side of the Bahrain International Airport.
Abbas was popular with his friends, never holding a grudge against anyone and with no enemies. He was a fun character, who enjoyed playing sport, and was loved and respected by all.
He was always helping other people, supporting local charities and working with disabled people.
His father plus two brothers and younger sister are deaf and dumb, which made Abbas Ali especially important to the family since he could help with communication.
Abbas’s father works in the construction industry. Abbas was always with his father to assist him with communication because his father is deaf and dumb.
Abbas often helped his mother in the house too, since his elder siblings are either married or out at work and his younger sister is also disabled.
Abbas was previously arrested on 8th November 2010, due to the ongoing scene of oppression, and he was banned from completing his studies even though he was in his final year of school. He was released from prison on 22nd April 2011, and the decision to ban him from school was reversed for a short period allowing him to return to school for a while, but then another order came from the government banning him again before he could complete his year. He was therefore denied his universal human right to education (article 26) and without qualifications his future looks bleak.
Abbas Ali’s family have been a constant target by the regime and his home has been attacked by riot police at least six times, everything in their home has been destroyed by police, and three mobile phones and two laptops were stolen.
On Thursday 8th September 2011, Abbas was exercising his universal human right to freedom of opinion and expression (article 19) and also his universal human right to freedom of peaceful assembly (article 20), by participating in a march that was calling for his civil and political right to self determination (article 1).
When the march reached Al Kheef mosque on the East side of the village it was attacked by the riot police and then clashes with youth ensued, during which police fired tear gas cannisters directly at the youth, at short range.
Abbas received a direct shot to his face with a tear gas canister.
It hit the area between his eyes and nose, which lead to an extreme fracture of the nose, the loss of his right eye and severe damage to the left. The whole village was in shock and sounds of grief and moaning filled the air that night.
Abbas was refused treatment at Al Dwali Hospital by an Egyptian doctor, as a result of government orders regarding treatment of protesters, so he spent the night covered in his own blood without treatment.
The next day he received basic treatment, but this was not enough since he clearly required surgery.
Despite the security emphasis on private hospitals and clinics, one hospital agreed to treat him since he was in a critical condition and bleeding profusely.
He received a first operation on his nose and then a few days later one on his eye. The injury had affected his retina, caused the eye to bleed, and had torn the eye tubes, which caused water to gather inside the pupil. This required another operation to remove the pupil and the lens, and over the following days doctors performed one operation after another but they came to the conclusion that Abbas would only be able to see again with treatment abroad that is not available in Bahrain.
Shortly after these events, on Friday 16th December (the same night of the infamous beatings on the roof at Shakhoora, see video here and here), at 11pm when all was calm in the village of Dair, Abbas was visiting his friends. Nine people were sitting quietly in the house, two of which lived there, when the house was attacked by armed militia, who beat and swore at the people inside. All nine people there were beaten and arrested for illegally gathering, even though they were in a private home. It is reported that when the officer Yusif El Mula Bakhit saw Abbas he asked his men to hit him directly in the face. This officer was already believed to be responsible for his original eye injury. The militia then took Abbas Ali to Samaheej police station, which has a reputation in Bahrain as a renowned torture spot. In the station, officer Mohamad el Mana’i is reported to have said to Abbas:
“you can see now, don’t worry soon you will not be able to see at all”
and officer Isa Al Selati is reported to have said
“we will strike your other eye as well”.
On top of all the suffering he had already undergone, they still beat and tortured him further, he was thrown into jail for months apparently without treatment. Eventually after pleas from his lawyer and family Abbas Ali was allowed to got to Salmaniya Hospital in handcuffs for treatment.
On 16th June the people of Dair were waiting for the release of their men who had completed a period of six months imprisonment, but were saddened to see that Abbas Ali was not with the released. The family were told later that day that he was facing additional charges and that he was due to face the public prosecution again the next day. On Sunday 17th June Abbas was taken before the public prosecution in the presence of his lawyer Zahra Masood. There did not appear to be any specific case against him however, and questions asked were just general background questions. He was then informed that he would be detained one more week.
Abbas Ali was finally released on Sunday 24th June, to a hero’s welcome.
Abbas Ali’s friends and family are now asking the international community to help him get the correct eye treatment he urgently now requires to try and save the sight in his remaining eye. It is very sad to wonder how this young man will be able to communicate with his family now, if Abbas cannot see whilst his father and brothers and sister already cannot not hear or talk.
If you wish you may leave Abbas Ali a message using the comments below.