(8) A justice system that masters insulting lawyers

2014-09-09 - 7:15 م

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): We presented in the previous part, the judge Ali Al Dhahrani’s characteristics, who is known by lawyers as the angry blockhead. Al Dhahrani is well known for his bias against the defendants in the security cases, his ill temper and expelling both the defendants and lawyers out of the courtrooms. As the cases of lawyers’ expulsion and mistreatment in the court increased, 90 lawyers filed a complaint on 20 February 2014 to the supreme judicial council discussing the harassments, power use and improper treatment against them inside the courtrooms by some judges and Ministry of Interior’s members. The lawyers also complained about being disappointed with the absence of any defence guarantee.  

In the complaint, the lawyers condemned “the improper treatment” and described it as “damaging the judicial authority before damaging the lawyers”. They also shed light on what happened with their colleague Jassim Sarhan on 17 February 2014 when one of the security men poked him from behind to stop him talking during the pleading for his client. This incident took place in front of all the people who were present in the courtroom including the court judges who did not interfere to stop this assault. According to their complaint, the lawyers said, “this is considered as an abuse of the judicial prestige and transgression against lawyers”. 

The lawyers, however, expressed their dissatisfaction with the expulsion of their colleague Abdullah Zainuddin during the same hearing session for no reason. Abdullah attended the session as a trainee lawyer from Mohammad Al Tajir’s office. In addition, when the former asked about the reason of his dismissing, the judge shouted at him and asked the police to take him outside the court. The police forcibly dragged Abdullah out! 

The lawyers recounted what happened on 18 February 2014 while the fourth criminal court was considering a case, “the head of the court refused- as he always did- to record Mohsen Al Alawi’s demands in the court notes claiming that the head of the court has the right not to record the lawyers’ demands. When Mohsen objected to the judge’s action and insisted to pin his demands, the head of the court moved his face away from the lawyer and moved to talk to another. The judge ignored Mohsen’s right in writing his demands. The judge’s act is considered against the law and, in particular, article 226 of code of criminal procedure regarding abusing the lawyer and ignoring his client’s right of defence.

The lawyers expressed their sadness with the treatment they received from that court, affirming that it is not the first time to happen. That incident ended up with the judge ordering to dismiss Al Alawi from the courtroom, then someone held him from his arm to forcibly take him out; the thing Al Alawi refused. Thus, he asked to record his withdrawal from the case. 

“This is added to what we witnessed of harsh and inhuman mistreatment of the accused during their trials and in front of the judges at the hands of the security men. Everything that has been mentioned humiliates the lawyers and their image in the eyes of their clients. It also demeans the dignity of the lawyers and the profession as well and damages the judiciary image and position in the eyes of people and lawyers who will notice that justice has been lost in the justice rooms,” added the complaint. 

The lawyers annoyingly said, “The lawyers’ entrance to the courtrooms has changed to a chance to expose them to more harassment by the policemen who place metal barriers to prevent moving between a court and another. As soon as the judge enters, the policemen lock the courtrooms door from inside; i.e. obliging the lawyers to frequently try to enter the same court for more than an hour as they wait for the session to be held due to preventing them from entering the courtroom.” 

“The interference of the security men by the use of force to prevent the lawyer’s entrance and dismissing them out of the courtrooms is way worse,” added the lawyers. “It is important in this context to shed light on one of the causes of the continuous misunderstanding between the lawyers and the judges. Lawyers feel disappointed for their incapability to provide the minimum defence guarantee, especially that police and public prosecution prevent them from attending the interrogation with the detainees arrested for political background and the judges refuse to present any serious defence, listen to the arrested, examine the torture marks, talk about or interrogate. The lawyers see that most of the judges have no desire to listen to the detainees’ demands; which makes the pleading useless. Besides, some trials were conducted without witnesses or written plead, despite the defence team insisted to present.” 

The complaint filed by the lawyers raised a wave of resentment among the public, especially that the 90 lawyers are pleading for the accused in security and political cases. However, the details showed a bias exercised by the judiciary of Bahraini against the accused in such cases and their lawyers as well. These details were not witnessed in other criminal civil rights cases.

A number of lawyers, Hassan Radhi, Mohammed Ahmed, Jalila Al Sayed, Sami Siyadi, Mohsen Al Alawi, Abdulhadi Qaidom, Mohammad Al Tajir, Jassim Sarhan, Doaa Al A’am and Manar Maki, presented an explanatory note for the head of the supreme judicial council, Salem Al Kowwari, on 26 February 2014. During their meeting with Al Kowwari, they talked about the problems of the Bahraini judiciary and the judges. 

Al Kowwari neither denied nor affirmed what was mentioned in the complaint, for all the evidence and cases were viewed by all who were present in the courts and were screened on media and social networks.

Nonetheless, we can say that Al Kowwari underlined what the lawyers had mentioned and he added, condoling, “you know what we have inherited”. Al Kowwari’s words represented the bad judiciary legacy and the number of problems, which some were solved and some remained unsolved until now. 

However, Al Kowwari’s expression “some judges have taken off the judge’s character and have become public employees” was more dangerous as the lawyers said. This is considered a testimony, confession or admission from the most supreme judicial authority in Bahrain regarding the corruption in the judiciary system, for it allows the judge to take off his justice custume and wear that of the public employee under the regime’s authority and continue to try the accused.  

If we take into consideration that Al Kowwari’s expression is “diluted” for his position in the regime and for talking form an official position which prohibits him from telling the whole truth, we can speculate about the judges’ changing into public employees manipulated by the regime. 

Al Kowwari added that the supreme judicial council sought to yield a pure judicial work apart from politics, tribal and sectarianism. He said, “This is what should be embedded in the judge’s mind during performing his job without mixing security to justice. The judge should not think in a security way, however, his duty is justice and thinking in a just, human right and legal way to achieve justice”. This expression may anticipate that everyone, including Al Kowwari, knows the truth. It is the truth of having a number of judges mixing between security and justice. However, Al Kowwari cannot say that the lives and freedoms of the political opponents are at the hand of those judges who judge people according to security rather than justice. 

Al Kowwari said about the true state of the Bahraini judiciary, “the council is facing a number of technical problems of which most were solved. Meanwhile, the council is working to find out solutions to all the obstacles facing citizens and lawyers.” “My preliminary analysis is that the judicial authority has not been developed since a long period of time, which affected its members negatively,” he added.


After filing this complaint and the meeting of lawyers with the head of the supreme judicial council, some formal changes started to appear in the fourth criminal court hearing sessions. In addition, the barriers which were placed to prevent the lawyers from entering the courtrooms were removed and Al Dhahrani started allowing the accused to testify about the torture they were subjected to and started writing them down in the court notes. However, it was not so long before things returned to their previous state.


In the next part, who is the judge Ebrahim Al Zayed?   

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