The Bahrain Center for Human Rights and the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights publish today a report detailing prison conditions in Bahrain. This report brings the voices of current and former detainees directly to the UN Human Rights Council through first person accounts, and images that have been smuggled out of these prisons. The report will be officially presented today at 5:00 pm CET during the HRC26 side event in Geneva: Bahrain: Empty Promises, Crowded Prisons. A link to the side session can be found below.
On the occasion of the release of this report, incarcerated human rights defender Naji Fateel sent the following message from inside prison: "The BCHR and BYSHR report on prisons in Bahrain will shed light on what is happening to us inside the prisons. I thank those who have worked on it. Always remember that we will continue to expose human rights violations, even when we are behind bars.
Link to the full report:
Prisons in Bahrain are in desperate need of reform. In the three years since the beginning of the pro-democracy movement in February 2011, the prison population in Bahrain has grown exponentially. Bahrain currently has the largest prison population in the Middle East per capita. The BCHR has documented thousands of arbitrary arrests, the majority of whom have been subjected to enforced disappearance and lack of access to basic rights according to international conventions and standards. Most detainees report that they were subjected to systematic torture to extract false confessions and subsequently denied access to adequate medical treatment.
There has been no shortage of reports from NGOs, governments, and international organizations on the reform process in Bahrain, but the BCHR and BYSHR feel that it is essential that the voices of detainees form a central part of this debate.
An anonymous prisoner explains: “I was subjected to the most horrendous types of physical and psychological torture at the CID… like: being suspended vertically, electric shocks, simulated drowning, severe beatings, deprivation of sleep and forced to stand for long hours.”