The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) expresses deep concern over the ongoing practice of torture in Bahrain, particularly in the prison system.
Hassan Jaber Al-Qattan (27 years old) is one among many torture victims at Jau Prison. He is serving a long 10-year prison sentence since May 2008. After the riot that broke out in Jau Prison in March, his scheduled family visit on 11 March 2015 was cancelled and he was not allowed to contact his family until the end of April. He only was allowed a visit on 2 June 2015.
At the visit, Al-Qattan’s family saw him with a shaved head and a weak body. His mouth was swollen due to beatings with batons and sticks and his hand had severe swelling. At the end of the visit, when he was trying to walk out he was limping.
During the visit, he informed his family that he had been severely beaten at Jau Prison on 10 March 2015 by Jordanian and Pakistani guards and he was taken to ward 10, a section of the prison where many torture cases have been documented.
On 7 June, following the visit, Al-Qattan was transferred to the prison clinic from ward 10, due to the severity of the beatings. He was then moved to the intensive care unit at Salmaniya Hospital. Hassan’s doctor reported that by the time he was received at the hospital, only one of his kidneys was functioning at 10% of its capacity. He was diagnosed with kidney failure, a serious condition that needs proper care and close monitoring, which he cannot receive in Jau Prison.
Al-Qattan’s family was not informed by any official source about the admission of their son to the hospital. They informed BCHR that he had not suffered from any kidney illness before the Jau prison assault. Al-Qattan had told his family that he often suffers from high blood pressure and nausea, and when he asked the guards to take him to the prison clinic he was ignored or given painkillers only.
BCHR’s most recent report about Jau Prison documents the use of systematic physical and psychological torture in the overcrowded Jau Prison. Jau Prison is the largest male long-stay prison in Bahrain. In March 2015, some prisoners aggressively protested their treatment in the increasingly overcrowded and unsanitary living conditions. Although only a minority of inmates participated in the riot, Bahraini authorities responded en masse and with excessive force.
In addition to the torture to which Al-Qattan was subjected following the riot in Jau Prison, he received the new charge of “incitement to riot inside prison”. His trial will start in September 2015.
Based on the above, BCHR calls on governments and international organizations to put pressure on the government of Bahrain to:
- Provide Hasan Jabar Al-Qattan with the necessary medical care;
- Hold accountable anyone proven to be responsible for ill-treatment or torture, including those who authorized or condoned such abuses;
- Sign the Optional Protocol of the Convention Against Torture to strengthen accountability; and
- Reschedule the visit of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, unusual, or degrading treatment or punishment.