Bahrain releases 11-year-old on parole
Published Monday, June 11, 2012
Bahraini authorities released an 11-year-old child on Monday over three weeks after he was arrested for allegedly participating in an illegal gathering.
Ali Hassan was arrested last month, with police claiming he was burning tires at a roadblock. His family have dismissed the accusations, claiming that Ali was only playing with his friends.
Mehsen Al-Alawi, Hassan's lawyer, told Al-Akhbar that a not guilty plea was presented before the court, but the child was released on parole.
A report was read out in the court claiming that Hassan had a history of trouble-making in school, a claim disputed by Alawi.
“I asked Ali to tell me honestly if he had participated in riots and he denied any such thing. He said that he was playing with his friends when the police came and arrested them,” Alawi said.
The 11-year-old later confessed to being involved in protests after being put under police pressure and promised he would be released if he admitted to the charges, Alawi said.
Ali's imprisonment coincided with his school exams, which he had to take behind bars.
The boy is among the youngest political prisoners detained during the year-long uprising in the country.
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights on Sunday said they were concerned about the high numbers of children under 15 being put in adult prisoners, which they said were a violation of human rights law.
Bahrain has experienced near daily protests for 16 months in a pro-democracy uprising led by the kingdom's Shia majority.
The Western-backed Sunni monarchy has refused to consider democratic reforms, and has instead cracked down on protests with the backing of neighbor Saudi Arabia.
At least 50 people have died in the unrest since February 2011.