The Ombudsman Office initiated an investigation into the allegations raised by Amnesty and Human Rights Watch

Mar 12, 2021

The Ombudsman Office issued a press release confirming that it followed up on the allegations raised in the recent published statements and media reports by "Amnesty International" and "Human Rights Watch". First, on March 3, 2021, Amnesty International issued a statement concerning four juveniles on trial over charges related to riots, in this statement, it alleged that at least two of the four juveniles were interrogated without the presence of a lawyer. The organization demanded that the Convention on the Rights of the Child and international standards for juvenile trials should be respected. Second, on March 10, 2021, Human Rights Watch also issued a statement regarding allegations about a number of juveniles. The organization did not explicitly mention the juveniles’ names, but rather stated that all initials of names written in the statement were aliases.

Consequently, the Ombudsman Office affirms that following its professional jurisdiction, and the authority guaranteed by its establishment decree to investigate allegations that affect the confidence of the public, even without submitting a complaint, the Ombudsman Office opened an investigation concerning the allegations raised in the aforementioned statements. The Ombudsman Office investigator following the Office’s independent procedures, gathered information and interviewed the complainants, or their representatives, to record their statements. The Ombudsman Office investigator also recorded the statements of officials in the relevant entities and statements of witnesses. The Ombudsman Office examined relevant documents and other trustworthy evidence, such as CCTV recordings, to reach a result that reflects the Office’s legal methodology, which is based on facts.

The Ombudsman Office also noted that it had previously contacted "Human Rights Watch" by e-mail to request its cooperation and provide the names of the juveniles mentioned in its statement to further complete the procedures of its investigations regarding the allegations raised in its statements, while preserving the privacy and confidentiality of information.