Human Rights Watch And BIRD Condemns Bahrain's Prison Officials

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The HRW along with BIRD have condemned the Bahrain officials as the prison authorities have reportedly refused to allow the inmates to be medically treated

Written By Bhavya Sukheja | Mumbai | Updated On:
Human Rights Watch

In a statement released by the Human Rights Watch on October 08, the authorities in Bahrain are denying prisoners adequate health care. The prison authorities have reportedly refused to allow the inmates to be examined by specialists or provide them with medicines. They have also failed to disclose their medical examination results as a form of punishment. The HRW and the UK-based Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) have condemned the Bahrain officials and prepared a report including two testimonies of two detained human rights activists and the families of four detained opposition activists. 

“It is outrageous that Bahraini authorities are denying detainees medical care that they urgently need, in some cases putting their lives in danger,” said Joe Stork, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s the Middle East and North Africa division. He further added, “Many of these people should not have been imprisoned in the first place, and arbitrary denial of medical care may amount to extrajudicial punishment.”

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Deteriorating health

The family of a 57-year-old inmate, Abduljalil al-Singace claimed that his health has deteriorated significantly in the prison. His daughter claims that Singace saw the prison doctor for the first time in August and his earlier requests of neck and back pain were denied. His family also claimes that his requests for white blood cell checkups were also not authorized. Hassan Mushaima, a prisoner recovering from lymphoma did not receive his results until April 2019. Mushaima's son told the HRW and BIRD that the prison authorities had promised to conduct another screening in August, but have not done so yet. He further claimed that the authorities have repeatedly denied his father specialized medical care for his chronic illness, like diabetes and high blood pressure. 

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Demonstrations

The HRW has found that Bahrain's oversight agencies, including the National Institution for Human Rights and Ministry of Interior Ombudsman, have repeatedly failed to investigate credible allegations of prison abuse or to hold officials accountable. In August, approximately 600 prisoners in the Jaw Prison and Dry Dock Detention Center began a hunger strike to protest prison conditions. Thousands of anti-regime protesters have also held demonstrations demanding that the Al Khalifah regime relinquish power and allow a just system.

“Bahrain’s oversight bodies should uphold their mandates and investigate these serious allegations of medical negligence,” said Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, advocacy director at BIRD. “Without effective and independent oversight institutions promoting accountability for human rights violations, prisoners remain at risk of reprisals while perpetrators continue to act with impunity.”

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(with inputs from agencies)

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