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Belgian Senator Calls for Official Action to Save Political Prisoners in Bahrain

Member of the Belgian Senate, Philip Corard, warned of the consequences of the Coronavirus outbreak in Bahrain’s prisons, calling on his country’s government to save political prisoners’ lives.

Senator Philip directed a written question to the Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sophie Wilmès, regarding the outbreak of Coronavirus in Bahraini prisons.

He noted that the worsening of the epidemic in prisons overcrowded with political prisoners is a matter of concern.

Contrary to what the authorities stated, the number of prisoners infected with the virus has risen to 97 to date. Bahraini authorities have falsely announced only three cases in Jaw Central Prison.

Senator Corard added that Bahraini prisons’ hygiene and sanitary conditions were classified as being poor and of concern.

He also noted that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights urged states last April to release prisoners without legal basis.

OHCHR also called for the release of political prisoners detained for adopting opinions critical of the state.

The European Center for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR) has drawn our attention to this dangerous issue, said Philip.

We must consider the seriousness of the situation and the health risk facing prisoners of conscience currently held, and medical care must be provided urgently to those who have confirmed positive test results for COVID- 19, he stressed.

He also called for the immediate release of people who had not yet contracted the disease, noting that patients currently need urgent medical attention.

He cautioned that this issue concerns the Senate, as federal entities have authority over international matters.

Managing the epidemic that has struck the world is also a matter for all government levels in Belgium, he said.

Senator Philip Corard asked Secretary Wilmès if there was additional information on the prisoners’ tragic situation in question.

“Are there contacts with your colleagues at other levels to respond to this situation?” he asked Secretary Sophie Wilmès.

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