Bahraini Engineer Ali Isa Al-Tajer Released from Prison
November 5, 2020
On November 5, 2020, Bahraini engineer Ali Isa Al-Tajer was released from Jaw prison in Manama after serving his entire five-year prison sentence on spurious terrorism-related charges.
Following his arrest in November 2015, Mr. Al-Tajer was held incommunicado in an unknown location for 23 days during which time he was subjected to torture and ill-treatment and was denied access to his lawyer (and brother), Mohamed Al-Tajer. Ali Al-Tajer was subsequently charged with “joining an illegal terrorist organization to overthrow the government by force” and “training individuals on the use of weapons for terrorist purposes.” Credible sources indicate that the evidence used to prosecute him stemmed from “confessions” that he and another detainee were coerced into signing under extreme duress.
In May 2018, after two and half years in detention, Mr. Al-Tajer was convicted as part of a mass trial involving 138 defendants. In addition to being sentenced to imprisonment, his citizenship was revoked. Given the problematic nature of the evidence used to support the charges against Mr. al-Tajer and the fact that his brother, Mohamed, is a prominent human rights attorney who has defended rights activists, there is significant concern that Mr. al-Tajer’s arrest was related to his brother’s human rights work. In June 2020, the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention determined that Mr. Al-Tajer’s detention was arbitrary and called for his immediate release and restoration of his Bahraini citizenship—citing numerous due process violations and emphasizing the urgent need to mitigate threats to his health due to COVID-19.