Bahrain must end degrading treatment of prisoners: Rights groups
A coalition of human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch, has called on Bahrain to halt its “cruel, inhuman, or degrading” treatment of political prisoners.
In a joint statement released on Sunday, a coalition of ten rights groups called on the Manama regime to make sure all prisoners were treated with humanity and in accordance with the United Nations standards which include being given access to adequate medical care and being allowed to have contact with their relatives.
The statement also noted that new regulations imposed by Bahrain included the shackling of human rights activists and opposition figures being held in Jaw Prison.
“These new regulations degrade and humiliate prisoners who clearly pose no escape risk,” said the deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, Joe Stork.
“Authorities can take reasonable measures to prevent escapes, but shackling infirm patients, many of them torture victims, clearly goes beyond any need for security,” he added.
In the statement, the executive director of Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain, Husain Abdulla, noted that these imprisoned political and human rights activists were all suffering from deteriorating health due to their prolonged arbitrary detentions.
“Shackling these prisoners of conscience is not a legitimate prison security measure but is intended to degrade and humiliate them. The international community must not forget these long-term prisoners of conscience and should work to end their unjust and punitive detention,” he added.
Lynn Maalouf, the research director at Amnesty International’s Regional Office in Beirut, stressed that most of these prisoners should not even be in prison let alone be shackled.
“The authorities must immediately put an end to the collective and arbitrary punishment of the entire Jaw prison population,” she added.
Thousands of anti-regime protesters have been holding numerous demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the country on February 14, 2011.
They are demanding that the Al Khalifah ruling family relinquish power and a just system representing all Bahrainis be established.
Manama has spared no effort in clamping down on dissent and rights activists. On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to Bahrain to assist the Manama government in its crackdown on peaceful protesters.
Scores of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or got arrested as a result of the Al Khalifah regime’s crackdown on anti-regime activists.