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Three human rights organizations: Prisoners of conscience are denied adequate medical care in Bahrain

Three human rights organizations said that prisoners of conscience in Bahrain are suffering because of their poor conditions of detention and a lack of adequate medical care.

This came in a report issued by the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, the Gulf Center for Human Rights and Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain.

The report was launched on the first anniversary of the start of the hunger strike, which Dr. Abdul-Jalil Al-Singace carried out in protest of his ill-treatment.

Since 2011, Bahraini authorities have handed down sentences against thousands of people connected to the February 14 popular movement and other pro-democracy activities. Women human rights defenders have not been spared torture, ill-treatment and sexual assault.

According to the report, Prison conditions are still poor, and reports of failure to provide adequate medical care to prisoners in Bahrain continued.

In addition to the problem of overcrowding, the sanitary conditions in Jau Prison are not satisfactory, and hygiene and sterilization procedures are insufficient, which led to the outbreak of COVID-19 twice in 2021.

There are recent concerns about reports of tuberculosis cases in Jau Prison in 2022, where sick prisoners are not separated from other prisoners and face reprisals for protesting and demanding tests.

The political prisoner, Hassan Abdullah Habib, was informed by doctors at the hospital that he had tuberculosis, but he was returned to prison despite suffering from a contagious disease. At least three other prisoners showed symptoms of illness.

Another ill-treated and abused prisoner is Dr Abduljalil Al-Singace, a prominent dissident and human rights defender and member of the group known as “Bahrain 13”.

Dr Al-Singace started a hunger strike in which he only drinks liquids on July 8, 2021, to protest the ill-treatment and harassment he is facing in Jau Prison. After failing his negotiations with the prison administration, he resorted to a hunger strike, in which he sought to recover the cultural research he had worked on for four years.

He has not seen his doctor since January 2022, and his family says the authorities regularly deny him access to sugar and milk to get him to end his strike.

Prominent human rights defender Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, the former president and co-founder of both the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and the Gulf Center for Human Rights, has long protested poor prison conditions, including denial of treatment.

Al-Khawaja was awarded the 2022 Martin Ennals Prize for his ongoing human rights activism. “In Bahrain’s prisons, your basic needs, such as food, treatment, communication with family, hours of sleeping and breathing outside, or even the use of the toilet – are used to provoke, suppress or punish you, with the intent of destroying your integrity, self-confidence and self-esteem,” Al-Khawaja said.

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