Bahrain interior ministry denies links with teenager’s death

September 1, 2011

Bahrain’s interior ministry on Thursday deplored the politicisation of a teenager’s death, saying that political and rights groups should wait for the conclusions of an ongoing investigation.

Ali Jawad Ahmad, 14, was taken to a health centre in Sitra, a village ten kilometres south of Manama, on Wednesday morning amid claims that he was the victim of a clash between rioters and the police who killed him by shooting a tear gas canister into his face.

However, the police denied the claim and said that there were no clashes on Wednesday morning in Sitra where residents were celebrating the first day of Eid Al Fitr.

Despite the deluge of reports by several media and rights organisations on the death, the interior ministry maintained that it had no personnel on the ground at that time and that it preferred to wait until the end of the investigations. It also offered a 10,000 Dinars ($26,465) reward to anyone who helped with information that would lead to the criminal(s).

“We regret the statements issued by some political parties and rights groups that sought to politicise the incidents and jump over the investigation,” an interior ministry spokesman said. “They obviously worked on propagating the version that the adolescent was killed by a gas canister during clashes. We reiterate that there were no confrontations or incidents involving the police at the time of the death,” he told reporters at a press conference.

Details provided by the doctors and the public prosecutor about the injuries clearly testify that they were not related to a canister, he said.

Osama Al Asfoor, the head of Public Prosecution at the Capital Governorate, reportedly said that doctor performing the autopsy concluded that the cause of the teenager’s death was “an injury sustained behind the neck where there were fractures causing bleeding around the spinal cord.”

“A blood examination of the deceased by the Forensic Laboratory showed the body to be entirely free from any effects of tear gas exposure,” he said. “In the autopsy it was discovered that, beside the injuries on the back of the neck, there were injuries under the chin, and bruises on both the face and right hand. Bruises were also sustained to the pelvic area and on both knees.”

The interior ministry official said at the conference that political gains were for some people more important than the truth.

“We regret the attempts to accuse the security authorities in order to gain some political mileage. People should seek facts before they draw conclusions or wait until the investigation is over,” he said.

Ali was buried in Sitra on Thursday afternoon.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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