British lawyers are racing against time to save a Bahraini teenager from deportation to the Gulf state, where he fears he will be tortured in jail after seeing his asylum application rejected by UK immigration authorities.
Isa Haider Alaali, 19, is due to be deported to Bahrain on Thursday morning despite having been sentenced in absentia to five years in jail for illegal gathering and rioting during a 2011 uprising.
The teenager, whose asylum application was rejected twice, claims he will likely be imprisoned and tortured in the repressive Gulf Kingdom if deported.
Human Rights Watch has maintained that "Bahrain has a well-deserved reputation for torture", and that this reputation is "all of its own making". Amnesty International has previously investigated the torture and sexual abuse of children in detention.
Alaali's lawyers backed the court evidence, seen by IBTimes UK, with supporting documents from Amnesty, HRW and Human Rights First about the credible risk of harm.
They told IBTimes UK: "We are today filing an urgent judicial review of the Home Office decision to remove Isa from the UK and their refusal to record a fresh asylum claim in the High Court of London. They have made an urgent application for an injunction to postpone Isa's removal which is set for Thursday at 10am."
"My life will be over"
Alaali, who says he was beaten by police when he was arrested last year, told IBTimes UK that he was "optimistic that the UK government will give me asylum".
"If I go back to Bahrain, my life will be over," he said over the phone, with the help of a translator. "My real fear is to be tortured like it happened before.
"I've received serious threats to my life in Bahrain. I'm concerned about my life."
Sue Willman, solicitor at Deighton Pierce Glyn who is following the case, said: "No asylum seeker arriving from Bahrain should be processed and straightforward cases. Bahrain has a well-documented recent history of torture and human rights violations, verified by an independent commission.
"Isa Alaali's continuing detention and threatened removal represents a serious injustice."
"Subjected to torture"
The 19-year-old was arrested three times in Bahrain for attending pro-democracy protests that shook the Gulf Kingdom in 2011.
Upon his first detention, Alaali claimed he was subjected to torture. He fled to the UK seeking asylum after his third arrest.
On 14 February 2014, he was placed on Fast Track Detention (FTD).
"In the UK I wasn't mistreated but I was put in detention. I escaped from Bahrain but put behind bars here," he said, adding that he chose Britain for its human rights record.
On 15 May 2014, the Home Office ordered Alaali to be deported to Bahrain.
"The UK government has a responsibility towards him," said Ala'a Shehabi, a Bahraini-British political activist and member of Bahrain Watch group. "The government is not taking into consideration this boy's risk factor.
"The UK, despite being given information about credible risk of harm, is knowingly sending him back to Bahrain."
Alaali's deportation comes as the King of Bahrain's son, Prince Nasser bin Hamad al-Khalifa, faces a High Court judicial review over whether he has immunity in the UK from prosecution for alleged torture.