A cry for justice in Bahrain prisons; violations at unbearable levels

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Bahrain
Saturday, 22 March 2014

cryThe Bahraini regime still refuses to allow UN special rapporteur on torture, Juan Mendez, from visiting Bahrain. Mendez has been repeatedly blocked from entering Bahrain and yet the world remains silent. But Mendez has stories to report on, like children who used to have schools, young people missing from their university classes, and prisoners of

conscience stuck eternally in Bahraini prisons.

Since the outbreak of the Bahraini revolution on February 14, 2011, until now, human rights violations in Bahrain have reached an unbearable level. Journalists, teachers, academics, students and many other professional groups have been subject to arrest and torture. The arrest campaign also included men, women, and senior citizens over 60 years of age. Children and adolescents between the ages of 13 and 18 have had their basic human rights violated, were arrested, and are now living in tragic circumstances as they no longer able to attend school.

Doctors were directly targeted as medical cadres were arrested, and put on trial. The army seized control of the central hospital, arresting injured and wounded patients. Patients with serious medical cases that needed special medical attention did not receive any because of the military’s invasion of hospitals and people’s fear of arrest. Most of these people were seriously injured because of the repressive measures used by the Bahraini security forces, such as live and splinter bullets, asphyxiating tear gas and severe beatings.

Jaafar al-Asfour, Sayed Shibr Sayed Khalaf, Mohammed Modn and Ahmed Ibrahim al-Khazaz are just some of the national Bahraini athletes who were detained and are still in prison. Over 70 international athletes and players were arrested, including the stars of national teams like Hakim al-Uraibi, Younis Abdel Karim, Ali Marhoun, Ahmed al-Asfour and others.

The ruling regime knows that it has no legitimacy so it imprisons even non-political reformers like Sheikh Ali al-Mustarshid and al-Sayed Mahmoud al-Mousawi. The regime also arrests bloggers, journalists, and photographers to hide the truth. People like Ali al-Moalem, Mansour al-Jamri, Jasem al-Nuaimi, Abdallah al-Jardabi, Ahmad Hmeidan, Hussein Hbeil, Hassan Maatouk, Mahmoud Abdel Saheb, Jaafar Marhoun, Qassem Zeineddine and Hussein Mohammed are imprisoned because of their opinions and the lack of freedom of expression.

There are 10 detainees convicted of insulting the king and tens more were arrested illegally and charged with protesting. Until now, the Bahraini regime has not allowed the United Nations special rapporteur on torture Juan Mendez to visit Bahrain as it keeps on delaying and postponing his visit.

Sick detainees languishing in prisons

In the three years since the outbreak of the Bahraini revolution, a large and painful record of human rights abuses has emerged. This record includes a file on sick detainees languishing in Bahraini prisons. The amount of evidence documenting these deplorable conditions is enough to force the resignations of the ministers of health and interior over negligence.

Until this day, the Bahraini regime continues to neglect treating the wounded and the sick, and holds them in prisons that do not take into consideration their health condition and basic rights. Hassan Mshaime, Abdel Wahab Hussein, Sheikh Mirza al-Mahrous, Abdel Jalil al-Miqdad, Abdel Hadi al-Mokhawder as well as the nurse Ibrahim al-Domistani, Hassan Maatouk and other Bahraini political figures have seen their health deteriorate after having any medical treatment denied by the state. The archives of human rights organizations reveal painful records and testimonies of patients who were subjected to physical and psychological torture, and whose health are in danger.

The following are the names of the most prominent prisoners of conscience who have been denied medical treatment. They are just an example of sick detainees suffering in Bahraini prisons:

1. Detainee Mohammed Mulla Hassan Sahwan has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and accused of being part of a group of Bahraini men, known as the Qatar cell, attempting to carry out terrorist operations in Qatar. He was injured two and a half years ago with 80 shrapnels from a splinter bullet in the head and the neck. He has not been treated despite promises from the regime. He needs urgent medical attention and his life is in danger.

2. Detainee Hassan Ali Mahdi Ramadan, 24 years old from Sitrah, was arrested along with others on March 6, 2012, and was sentenced to 15 years on charges of attempted murder, possession of molotov cocktails, attacking a security patrol, assembling and rioting. He was tortured so brutally tortured he had to undergo eight operations to his head.

3. Detainee Ayman Abdel Shahid Ramadan, 24 years old from Bilad al-Qadeem, was detained on June 10, 2012 on charges of burning a jeep and attempted murder under the terrorism law. He has a rare disease that can be deadly and his life is in immediate danger. He spent most of his time in the psychiatric hospital and disappeared under mysterious circumstances when he was at al-Salmaniya Hospital under the watch of Interior Ministry staff.

4. Detainee Hassan Ahmed al-Hanan, 33 years old from Sitrah, detained on March 6, 2012, was sentenced to 15 years on charges of murder, possessing molotov cocktails, attacking a security patrol, protesting and rioting. He has a severe stomach infection and his condition is deteriorating. He has been denied medical treatment at al-Hawd al-Jaf Prison.

5. Detainee Habib Ayoub Mahdi Habib, 14 years old from al-Akar, was arrested in April 2012 and sentenced to 15 years on charges of involvement in a bombing in al-Akar region. He underwent surgery before his arrest because of a tear in his leg due to an athletic injury. He was beaten on the injured leg and severely tortured around his kidney, head and other sensitive areas, and was threatened with rape and denied an operation that he desperately needs.

6. Detainee Mohammed Yusuf al-Mahasnieh, 32 years old from al-Salhieh, was sentenced to seven years in prison. He was subjected to severe physical torture for three days, which severely injured his knee and now must walk with a cane.

7. Detainee Jasem Saleh Ali Hassan, 29 years old from Sitrah, had a car accident and burns on his body. He awoke from a coma to find himself in prison.

8. Detainee Adnan Khalil al-Mnasa, 25 years old from Sitrah, was sentenced to seven years for participating in the “Empty Stomach” march. He was subject to physical and psychological torture and was sexually assaulted. He has back pain and is diabetic. Despite a court order allowing him to receive medical attention, he is still suffering in the prison’s harsh conditions and has not received any medical treatment.

9. Detainee Abdullah Issa Serhan, 23 years old from Sitrah, was arrested in May 2012 and sentenced to five years in prison for the attempted murder of a policeman. He has four fractures in his left leg, the pelvic area, and pain in the stomach and knee. He has sickle cell anemia (a genetic disorder that causes blood cells to be abnormally shaped) and needs medical treatment and special nutritional care. He was denied medical treatment and his health is deteriorating day after day because of torture and poor prison conditions.

10. Sheikh Ali al-Mustarshid, 32 years old from Manama, was sentenced to 15 years in the Qatar cell case. He was subject to physical and psychological torture to force him to confess to the charges levelled against him. Since then he has had a heart attack and other medical issues.
Our humanitarian and human rights obligations

The interior and foreign ministers and national security officials cannot claim that the stories of the detainees are media exaggerations or fabricated testimonies by their families as this writer has lived through the suffering of all the mentioned detainees, lived with them in prison, documented their stories and witnessed their pain and suffering.

It is our humanitarian obligation to make the detainees’ suffering public, demand that they be given the medical attention they need, guarantee their rights as defendants, and ensure that those who tortured them are held accountable.

The Bahraini regime and its US and Saudi allies bear all the responsibility for these serious crimes and human rights violations that are being committed by the Interior Ministry staff in the criminal investigations headquarters, police stations and terrible prisons.

In addition to violations against prisoners of conscience, there are a lot of human rights violations inside prisons that have not been discussed or exposed yet. Here the responsibility lies with the families of the detainees to urge their loved ones to write about the horrible human rights violations that are happening to them in order to expose these illegal practices that violate international standards.

Families should encourage their loved ones to document their suffering in detail, starting from the moment of their arrest to the harsh investigations, and detention, and the prison conditions. Let the testimonies, wounds, pain and rage of their loved ones be the pillars upon which a state of laws and justice is established, overthrowing the regime of injustice and oppression through the reign of justice and accountability.

As the thinker Ali Shariati says: “When you decide to stand against injustice, expect that you will be cursed then accused of treason, then unbelief. But don’t you dare stay silent about injustice just so you can be described as a man of peace.”

Source: Al-Akhbar

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