Mr Naji Fateel is board member of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights and attended the Front Line Defenders 2010 Dublin Platform.
At midnight on 15 December 2012, Naji Fateel was interrogated on charges of illegal assembly and taking part in an unauthorised demonstration by Bahraini prosecution authorities. His lawyer was in attendance during the interrogation and Naji Fateel exercised his right to silence in relation to certain questions. At the end of the interrogation he was taken from Al Qala’a hospital to Al Muain police station in the capital Manama. He remains in detention.
On 14 February 2012, Naji Fateel, was arrested by a group of masked men in plain-clothes as he was taking part in a peaceful demonstration to protest against human rights violations in Bahrain. He was reportedly verbally abused and insulted and denigrated for belonging to the Shi’a ethnic group, the largest in Bahrain. Human rights defender Nabeel Rajab, the director of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights who was also arrested at the time has since been released.
Naji Fateel has been the subject of a relentless persecution, including, detention torture and death threats for several years solely for calling for the respect of human rights in Bahrain. In 2007 he was tortured and ill-treated while held incommunicado. Among other things he was subjected to were electric shocks, beating by a technique called Falaqa (beating with sticks in the soles of the feet), kicking, punching and shackling. In addition he suffered suspension from the ceiling while electric shocks were applied to different parts of his body including the genitals. He still suffers from injuries he sustained due to torture and walks with the aid of a stick.
Since March 2011 Naji Fateel has also been the subject of intimidation and smear attacks against him and other human rights defenders including Abdulhadi Al Khawaja and Mohammed Al Maskati. These included death threats and messages circulated via SMS and social networking sites called for them to be killed. (See Front Line Defender’s urgent appeal dated 11 March 2011 http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/14580)).
The Government appointed Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) report, published in November 2011, confirmed the systematic torture of human rights defenders and others in Bahrain and called for those responsible to be held accountable. The report concluded that the NSA (National Security Agency) and MoI (Ministry of Interior) followed a systematic practice of physical and psychological mistreatment, which in many cases amounted to torture, with respect to a large number of detainees in their custody.