If you had read my post “Twitter is great!“, you know how much I was impressed by Asma Darwish’s tweets during the detention of her husband Hussain Jawad earlier this year. I mentioned in that post that “I would love to use the tweets in a later post to share this story with you.” Well, I asked her and I am very pleased that she gave me her consent for using her tweets for this post.
Some short remarks at the beginning: The tweets are by Asma Darwish, but there were so many tweets during these three months (15 February – 19 May 2015) that I had to make a selection. This selection is obviously subjective, but I hope that it conveys the story in all aspects without being too detailed. I have decided to arrange the tweets in eight groups – each group covering a certain period of time. I will give a few key dates as introduction to each paragraph, but I think that the tweets speak for themselves. If you want to see the tweets enlarged, you can click on each of them and see each group of tweets as a picture gallery. Please note that the dates and times you can see on the tweets are GMT + 1 h, the time in Bahrain where she wrote the tweets is GMT + 3 h.
I. 15 February – 22 February 2015
In the night of 15 / 16 February 2015 Hussain Jawad, a Bahraini Human Rights activist, founder and chairman of the European-Bahraini Organisation for Human Rights (EBOHR), was arrested in a night raid at his home. He was brought to Criminal Investigation Directorate (CID) which is notorious for torture. Hours and days of uncertainty followed for his family with limited information. The information the family received was first contradicting and then worrying and even disturbing.
II. 24 February – 4 March 2015
On 25 February Asma Darwish and their two year old son Parweez could finally visit Hussain Jawad in Dry Dock Prison. The following day (26 February) a procedural court hearing took place. The court extended the detention for 15 days.
III. 5 March 2015 – 13 March 2015
On 5 March Asma Darwish visited her husband a second time. In the following days a Special Investigation Unit interrogated Hussain Jawad and also Asma Darwish about the allegations of torture, but no actions seemed to follow from this investigation.
IV. 13 March – 22 March 2015
On 15 March Asma Darwish visited her husband a third time. Two days later, on 17 March, the first court hearing took place.
V. 22 March – 5 April 2015
In the following weeks Asma Darwish had two further opportunities to visit Hussain Jawad in prison (23 March and 31 March). EBOHR launched a campaign of solidarity for him and Asma Darwish asked people via Twitter to take a photo of themselves with some words of support for Hussain Jawad.
VI. 5 April – 13 April 2015
On 7 April a further court hearing took place. The court postponed the hearing until 22 April and Hussain Jawad remained in prison. On the following day, 8 April, Asma Darwish visited him again.
VII. 14 April – 4 May 2015
On 16 April, Asma Darwish visited her husband again in prison. A further court hearing on 22 April was again adjourned to 12 May, because the witnesses did not appear. Hussain Jawad remained in prison.
VIII. 5 May – 21 May 2015
In the following weeks Asma Darwish visited Hussain Jawad two more times on 5 May and the 13 May in Dry Dock Prison. A further court hearings took place on the 12 May and the 19 May. On the 19 May the court finally ordered Hussain Jawad’s release from prison.
The last tweet in this group is the first tweet he sent after his release: “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
IX. A few links
Asma Darwish tweeted links to several articles. I would like to give at least the links to some of them, in case you want to know more about Hussain Jawad’s story. They are all well worth reading:
- 19 February: Faten Bushehri: “Hussain Jawad and human rights: A story that never ends“
- 22 February: EBOHR: “URGENT CALL: SAVE HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER MR. HUSSAIN JAWAD – ANOTHER VICTIM OF TORTURE IN 2015“
- 2 March: Independent: Emanuel Stoakes: “Hussain Jawad’s detainment and torture highlights Britain’s shameless stance on Bahraini rights“
- 4 March: Aljazeera America: Asma Darwish: “Tell US ally Bahrain to release my husband“
- 19 March: EBOHR: “Letter from Jailed HRD Hussain Parweez to his Human Rights Colleagues: Storms can never Shake Mountains“
- 30 March: Foreign Policy: Emanuel Stoakes: “Whatever Happened to Bahrain’s Torture Reforms?“
X. All’s well that ends well?
Does this story have a happy end? Well, I would say, not yet.
Hussain Jawad was released on 19 May 2015, but it was just a conditional release. He faces a verdict today, on 13 September and there is another trial for other charges with a hearing in November. There is the risk that he will be sentenced to several years in prison on the basis of a forced confession and fabricated charges.
As you can see from the tweets also Hussain Jawad’s father Mohammed Hassan Jawad, also know as Parweez, is in prison. The family received a few days ago the message that he was transferred to hospital, because he is ill. He is 68 years old and the Bahrain’s eldest political prisoner. He was in the meantime brought back to prison, but has still serious health problems, because he did not really receive any medical treatment in hospital.
There might not be a lot what each of us can do, but it would also be wrong to think that we can do nothing. If you use social media than please support Hussain Jawad and his work for human rights in Bahrain. If you are on Twitter please follow him (@HussainMJawad) and his wife Asma Darwish (@eagertobefree). Otherwise have a look at the Amnesty International Website and see how you can help. There are always urgent actions and petitions you can sign.
I choose his story as an example, but he is obviously by no means the only one – neither the only one in Bahrain nor the only one who experienced torture and unfair imprisonment. There are 1000s of people and 1000s of stories which are untold. Each of them equally deserves the attention and action of people who are able to help. Therefore please take action and do not stay silent.
XI. Addendum (17 December 2015)
The court did not hand down the verdict in September, but adjourned the court hearing.
Yesterday (on 16 December 2015) the court passed the judgment against Hussain Jawad. The sentence is two years in prison. Fortunately Hussain Jawad is currently not in Bahrain and therefore still free.