On 1st July 2013, the Bahrain Third Higher Criminal Court acquitted Mubarak bin Huwail, a Bahraini police officer accused of torturing six medics. One of his alleged victims and former head of Bahrain Nursing Society, Rula al-Saffar, describes how Huwail tortured her and the other medics.
“The principal investigator, Maj Mubarak bin Huwail, tortured us. He blindfolded and handcuffed us during the interrogation. He wrote whatever he wanted to write and then took our signatures on the false statements by beating us. We were humiliated, intimidated and degraded.”
Shortly after his acquittal, a photo was circulated that showed the Prime Minister meeting with Huwail at a majlis (many of the others present seem to be Saudis). Then, on 7th July, someone posted a video of the meeting on Youtube. Mubarak is the guy sitting to the right of the Prime Minister (Not Redbeard, the other one). Below are some of the more important comments (Many thanks @mariamisme for helping with the translation)
(0.24) PM to one of the guys – هالقوانين محد يطبقها عليكم ، إلا علاقتنا وياكم ، وإلي يطبق عليكم يطبق علينا إحنا. إحنا جسد واحد
Translation: These laws cannot be applied to you. No one can touch this bond. Whoever applies these laws against you is applying them against us. We are one body.
(2.28) – PM to Mubarak bin Huwail – نا ياي أشكركم يا مبارك على صبرك وعلى عملك الطيب والإنسان مثل ماتقول ينطرح عمله وعملكم كلكم يا هالعايلة هو سبب سمعتكم إلى مافي أحسن منها ومايبقى عند الإنسان في حياته وعقب ما الله يختاره إلا سمعته وسمعتكم كبيرة وعايلتكم كبيرة وإحنا أهلكم
Translation: I am here to thank you, Mubarak, for your patience and good work. A human as they say is judged by his work, and your work as a family is the reason for your reputation which is exemplary. A human is left with nothing but his reputation in life and death, and yours is a great one as a family. We are one family.
Although Mubarak bin Huwail was acquitted, one should not see this as a reflection of his guilt or innocence. So far, no officers have been found guilty of torture – hardly surprising given most regimes will protect their legal control agents from accountability when they are defending the social order. However, the most shocking thing about this video is not that the PM is thanking a man accused of torture, but rather his attitude towards the law. The fact he seems to be telling Redbeard, Mubarak and co that they are above the law is truly outrageous, especially when we consider how in March 2013 the Prime Minister stated, ‘ all citizens are equal before the law’. On the contrary, it is clear that loyalty to the Al Khalifas is a more important factor in determining one’s innocence or guilt. Never was there a more appropriate use of Orwell’s old addage – “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”.