Development of “Al-Basta Group”: Retaliatory Verdicts against “WhatsApp” Group Dubbed as “Terrorist Cell”

2017-12-31 - 9:53 p

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Arbitrary retaliatory sentences were issued on October 30, 2017, against 18 Bahrainis accused in a case known as "Al-Basta Group". The court issued life sentences against 8 defendants, 15-year jail terms against 7 others and revoked the citizenships of 14.

On January 6, 2016, the Bahraini Interior Ministry announced foiling what it described as a "terrorist plot", identifying "members of a secret terrorist cell" and claiming that it is supported by Iran's Revolutionary Guard and the Lebanese Hezbollah group.

This announcement came amid political tensions in the Gulf, after Saudi Arabia executed Sheikh Nimr Al-Nimr and after Bahrain followed its ally, Saudi Arabia's footsteps severing its diplomatic relations with Iran. Only a few days later, Bahrain announced that it apprehended what it deemed a "terrorist cell" linking it to the Islamic Republic.

The group comprised several people including Al-Wasat journalist Mahmoud Al-Jazeeri, Hussein Abdulwahab, son of Wafaa Movement leader Abdulwahab Hussein, and former municipal council member Hamid Al-Basri. The Interior Ministry said that the suspects are affiliated to Wafaa Movement which was established by Abdulwahab Hussein before he was imprisoned. It also claimed that the movement has links with Saraya Al-Ashtar as well as a group of persons "accused" of involvement in the Sitra blast, which took place last July leaving 2 policemen dead and 6 others injured.

The ministry also accused twins Ali and Mohammad Ahmad Fakhrawi of forming "Al-Basta Group", the name of the well-known WhatsApp group that contained the defendants. The authorities allege that the Fakhrawi brothers met with Iran Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah officials, received the needed support from them, pledging to submit periodic reports about the movement's activities and how they are spending the funds offered to them. They further claimed that they then formed what they dubbed "Wafaa Islamic Movement Armed Wing" to achieve the movement's goals in suspending the Constitution provisions and laws, imposing the principles of the movement by force and violence. The movement was also accused of recruiting other members and forming a central secret terrorist cell that receives orders from Mortada Majid Ramadan "Al-Sanadi", the "organization's leader", and works on setting needed plans to execute terrorist bombs in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Below is the chronological order of events from the announcement of Al-Basta Group until the verdicts issued against its members:

Dates

Development of so-called "Al-Basta Group"-Related Events

September 18, 2015

Mohammad and Ali Fakhrawi arrested from their house in Seqeya

December 28, 2015

1.      former municipal council member and Al-Wefaq member Hamid Al-Basri arrested from Karbabad.

2.      Mohammad Abduljalil Al-Seba'a arrested from Bilad Al-Qadeem in a house raid.

3.      Journalist Mahdmoud Al-Jaziri arrested following a house raid.

January 1, 2016

Saudi Arabia executes Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr Al-Nimr.

January 4, 2016

Bahrain joined its ally Saudi Arabia in cutting diplomatic relations with Iran

January 5, 2016

Hussein Abdulwahab, son of Wafaa Movement leader Abdulwahab Hussein, arrested

January 6, 2016

Sheikh Isa Al-Qaffas arrested in ambiguous conditions

January 6, 2016

Ministry of Interior announced what it deemed a terrorist plot by "Al-Basta group" and alleged:

1. It is the Armed Wing of Wafa Islamic Movement

2. It is supported by Iran's Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah

3. It has ties with Saraya Al-Ashtar

4. It has links with number of individuals involved in Sitra Blast that took place on (July 28, 2015) leaving 2 policemen dead and 6 injured.

January 8, 2016

Wafaa Movement denied in a statement the ministry of interior's accusations that it established an armed wing, stressing that the arrested are prisoners of conscience.

It said that "hinting that Iran and Hezbollah are involved in financially supporting and training the movement came in the context of escalating the political feud with Iran and attempting to cover the execution of Sheikh Nimr Al-Nimr".

January 11, 2016

Public Prosecution said that 8 suspects in "Al-Basta Group" confessed to the charges brought against them.

June 2, 2016

Chief of the Terror Crime Prosecution said the investigation in Al-Basta group case was concluded, announcing the referral of 18 suspects, 10 of which imprisoned and the others fugitives, to trial on June 28.

June 5, 206

Blogger and former detainee Ali Me'raj arrested two months following his release, after serving his prison term.

June 28, 2016

Trial of political activists starts over charges of:

  • Colluding with a foreign country and Hezbollah

  • Working for Hezbollah, receiving funds from the group to commit hostile acts, aiming at harming the country's national interests

  • Establishing, joining and funding a terrorist group

June 28, 2016

Sheikh Zuher Ashour (arrested since June 18, 2013 and faces 2 life-imprisonment verdicts) refused to appear before court after new charges were raised against him and he was included in the "Al-Basta Group" case.

October 24, 2016

Reporters without Borders named Bahraini arrested blogger Ali Me'raj among 22 candidates to win "Reporters without Borders TV5 Monde" prize for press freedom for 2016. The prize is annually granted to honor the journalists and media people who are active in fields of "fighting for defending media freedom or encouraging it".

November 1, 2016

Family of leader Abdulwahab Hussein expressed concern over their son Hussein, after his health deteriorated following suffering spinal disc problems due to inadequate conditions in Dry Dock Prison, amid the prison administration's negligence as it did not provide him with treatment.

November 6, 2016

Hussein Abdulwahab began a hunger strike in protest against not providing him with the needed medical care after his health deteriorated and he was unable to move due to disc complications.

January 21, 2017

The Fourth High Criminal Court fined the investigator (prosecution's witness) 50 BD for failing to appear before the court for more than one hearing.

April 11, 2017

A number of suspects, including journalist Mahmoud Al-Jazeeri (detained pending investigation), attended the hearing. Lawyers attended the sessions with their clients and 18 suspects were referred to the court, 10 of whom imprisoned and others fugitives.

May 9, 2017

An Accused in "Al-Basta Group" case confirms to court that he was subjected to "severe torture".

The court decided to adjourn the case until May 25, 2017 for hiring a lawyer for the accused and for pleading.

October 18, 2017

Security authorities in Dry Dock Prison returned on Wednesday (October 18, 2017) Shiite cleric Sheikh Isa Al-Qaffas to his prison cell, two weeks after there were no news reported about him and he was held in solitary confinement.

October 30, 2017

Court issued life-imprisonment sentence against 8 defendants, 15-year jail term against 7 others and revoked the citizenships of 14.

 

Verdicts issued against detainees on Monday (October 30, 2017) in "Al-Basta Group" case

 

Name/Age

Date of Arrest

Sentence

1

Ali Ahmad Fakhrawi/ 34

September 18, 2015

Life imprisonment + citizenship revocation

2

Mohammad Ahmad Fakhrawi/ 34

September 18, 2015

Life imprisonment + citizenship revocation

3

Mortada Majid Ramadan Alawi Al-Sanadi/ 34

Outside Bahrain

Life imprisonment + citizenship revocation

4

Zuheir Jassim Mohammad Abbas/ 36

July 18, 2013

Sentenced in several cases

Life imprisonment + citizenship revocation

5

Mohammad Ahmad Abdullah Serhan/ 42

May 11, 2013

Sentenced in several cases

15-year jail term + citizenship revocation

6

Hussein Abdulwahab Hussein/ 29

January 5, 2016

Life imprisonment + citizenship revocation

7

Ibrahim Jaafar Hasan Al-Moemen/ 30

August 13, 2015

15-year jail term + citizenship revocation

Sentenced in Sitra Blast case

8

Hamid Ali Mansour Al-Basri/ 60

December 28, 2015

15-year jail term + citizenship revocation

9

Mohammad Abduljalil Al-Seba'a/ 47

December 28, 2015

15-year jail term + citizenship revocation

10

Mahmoud Abdulrida Hassan Al-Jazeeri/ 29

December 28, 2015

15-year jail term + citizenship revocation

11

Isa Jassim Al-Qaffas/ 35

January 6, 2016

10-year jail term+100,000 fine

12

Ali Me'raj/ 38

June 5, 2016

Life imprisonment + citizenship revocation

13

Kassim Majid Ramadan/ 29

Outside Bahrain

10-year jail term+100,000 fine

14

Ali Jassim Ashour

Outside Bahrain

Life imprisonment + citizenship revocation

15

Isa Saleh Isa

Outside Bahrain

15-year jail term

16

Mohammad Saleh Isa

Outside Bahrain

Life imprisonment + citizenship revocation

17

Mohammad Abdulaziz Al-Daqqaq

Outside Bahrain

15-year jail term + citizenship revocation

 

Arabic Version


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