Jaw’s prisoners’ health at risk, and independent monitoring organizations prevented from entering
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses its deep concern for the authority’s continued mistreatment of prisoners, especially activists and prisoners of conscience and neglecting to provide the necessary health conditions in prison, amidst the utter silence of Jaw’s Central Prison administration which refuses to improve the conditions of detainees or to comment on the complaints about the violations taking place inside.
Confirmed information received by the BCHR indicates that Jaw Central Prison’s shop has not been providing healthy water for the detainees in Ward 1 for more than a month and a half without giving any convincing reason for that. Noteworthy, the detainees in Jaw Prison buy water bottles from the prison shop with their own money, especially in light of the increasing complaints about the poor quality of water provided by the prison for free, in addition to depriving some detainees from their right to reaching the shop to buy what they need and to get clean and healthy water.
‘They don’t treat us like humans, they want us to die because in their eyes we are traitors’, words stated by the detainee Sayed Mahdi Hadi Al-Mousawi, condemning the practices of Jaw Prison against the detainees by not providing healthy water for them. Al-Mousawi, who stopped drinking water, since Jaw’s prison shop stopped providing it, is now suffering from disease symptoms that have influenced his health. Information received states that he suffers from bleeding when defecating as well as a sharp decline in the level of his vision. Although the clinic doctor recommended that he gets transferred to a specialized hospital, the prison administration has not transferred him yet as a punishment for him. It is worth mentioning that Al-Mousawi was arrested in March 2011 with a number of people who were arrested and tortured during the declaration of the state emergency period; he is serving a 10 year’s imprisonment sentence.
The BCHR also obtained information that the 13 political and human rights activists detained in what is known as the ‘Coalition for the Republic’ are drinking water from a rusty water cooler, and when its filter was removed its water looked like sewage water.
Since at least 2011 the BCHR has been receiving complaints about the deteriorating conditions of the detainees at Jaw Prison, and primarily the poor quality of water provided by the prison administration where some detainees even believe that it is mixed with sulphur (or urine) sometimes and they inhale that from the stench coming from it. Despite the frequent reports about the poor quality of drinking water, the prison administration did not take any procedure to adjust the conditions all these years.[i] The BCHR’s information points out that the basins of the shower area and drinking water lie close to a waste repository which adds to the declining health conditions.
The detainees are permanently complaining from the Jaw Prison administration’s neglect towards the quality of food and drinks it provides. The BCHR had received information in May 2013 that states that the president of the Bahrain’s Teacher Association, the detainee Mahdi Abudeeb, was given a contaminated water bottle and then he placed it among the water bottles he had bought from the prison shop which caused deterioration in his health, as announced later by his family[ii]. Abudeeb filed a complaint on this incident to the prison administration, however no investigation took place. After that, his lawyer filed another complaint to the Judge who implements the penalty and the Public Prosecution. Abudeeb is serving a 5 year’s imprisonment sentence[iii] as a result of calling for a teacher’s strike in February and March 2011 out of protest against the violent suppression of peaceful protestors at that time.
The BCHR holds Jaw Central Prison’s governor, Mohammed Rashid Al-Hoseini, the full legal and humane responsibility of the deterioration of Sayed Mahdi Al-Mousawi’s health and all other detainees as a result of the poor health conditions in prison.
Based on the above, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls on the United States, United Kingdom, United Nations and the all the regime’s close allies and relevant international institutes to:
- Put pressure on the authority in Bahrain to take into account and maintain human rights;
- Trial Bahrain internationally for its continued and frequent violations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights it had endorsed.
It also calls on the authority in Bahrain to:
- Ensure the health conditions in prison, which includes providing healthy drinkable water;
- Provide the appropriate medical care for Sayed Mahdi Al-Mousawi and all other detainees who are undergoing poor health conditions;
- Immediately release all the political prisoners detained in cases related to the public movement demanding freedom and democracy;
- Stop the vengeful practices carried out by the security apparatuses against the detainees, especially in Jaw Central Prison;
- Hold accountable and question all those involved in the violations whether by supervision and / or order, especially the higher ranking personnel.