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A young boy takes part in riots

Juveniles to be trained in creating art from tyres

MANAMA, February 17, 2015

Rehabilitation experts are training young children in Bahrain, who get dragged into street violence, to create art from used tyres.

They hope the programme will help juveniles, aged between seven and 15, to be reintegrated into society after being sentenced for tyre burning, rioting or taking part in illegal rallies, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.

Juvenile Court Judge Ebrahim Aljefen spoke of the scheme yesterday at the Juvenile Justice workshop, which was hosted by Attorney General Dr Ali Al Buainain and supported by the British Embassy.

“We try to put certain measures in place at juvenile care centres,” he said.

“For instance, we all know the tyre burning that takes place in Bahrain sometimes - with these children, we get them to take used tyres and make artistic and nice items with them, which they then sell.

“Using this method, we're trying to teach them that there are different ways to go forward rather than just using them to burn.”

During the workshop, Mr Aljefen also spoke of one child who was investigated for arson after he burned down four cars.

“There was a nine-year-old who was playing with tissues and matches, setting them on fire,” he said.

“He was playing near some trees, and parked under the trees were four cars.

“The trees went up in flames and the four cars were completely burnt.

“We had to investigate and see if this was arson, but when we spoke to his friends they all said that the wind blew it up into the trees.

“So the child was handed back to his parents.”

Aljefen explained that some children were taken to juvenile care centres not because they intended to commit a crime, but to undergo rehabilitation because they lived in unhealthy and unsafe environments.

“There were a bunch of juveniles who were addicted to inhaling a certain material,” he said.

“They wanted more, but there was none available, so they went to a gas station and bought petrol.

“They then went somewhere and poured the petrol into glasses and began sniffing the petrol.

“One of them accidentally spilled some on his shirt. Another one was smoking a cigarette at the same time, and he threw the smouldering cigarette onto the floor.

“The child who had spilled the petrol onto himself caught fire and sustained 70 per cent burns to his body.

“We had to detain the one who threw the cigarette - not because he wanted to harm his friend, but because it was a dangerous situation.”

He also gave other examples, including a 14-year-old who got pregnant out of wedlock, and a young girl who had been sexually assaulted by her father and put into her uncle's guardianship as a consequence.

“Juveniles cannot be prosecuted until a social worker has put forth their report,” he added.

“That's very important and we are given an idea of the child's circumstances from birth until the crime and the social reason behind the crime.

“The social worker then writes a recommendation and has a session with the judge in order to convince him or her of the reasons.

“The judge is not forced to implement them but has to be guided by the recommendations.”

Other speakers at the event were Dr Al Buainain, British Ambassador Iain Lindsay, Ombudsman secretary general Nawaf Al Ma'awada and Belfast District Court Judge George Conner, who gave an overview of the North Irish juvenile justice system.

The workshop will continue today at the Ombudsman headquarters in Seef. - TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Bahrain | Art | Children | Rehabilitation | Riot | Tyre | young |

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