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Human rights violations

Bahraini Press Association Renews Calls for Release of Political Prisoners

The Bahraini Press Association called on the country’s authorities to take urgent measures to secure the safety of hundreds of prisoners of opinion and expression, in light of the high rates of infection with the Covid-19 virus in prisons.

In a press release, the Association warned of the danger that convicts suffer from under the risk of the spread of Coronavirus and the lack of health care inside Bahraini prisons.

It also stressed the need to improve nutrition and hygiene, and to reduce the number of prisoners in a single cell. Prisoners infected with the virus should also be isolated in specialized health centers, as soon as their infections are confirmed.

The number of people infected with Coronavirus inside Jaw Central Prison has reached 60 and the number may increase in light of prison overcrowding and the inability to adhere to social distancing standards.

Among the confirmed cases of COVID infection is Ahmed Humaidan, a photojournalist who won many international awards. He is serving a 10-year prison sentence in a case that the Association said did not take into account the requirements of a fair trial by the judicial authorities.

It condemned the Bahraini authorities, represented in prison security and health services, as having apparently failed in dealing with the pandemic and failed to take the necessary health measures and recommendations of the World Health Organization to protect detainees and prevent the spread of the virus.

The prison authorities were accused of covering up the actual numbers of infected people and details of all cases, especially critical cases of those suffering from chronic diseases that may threaten their lives.

On Monday evening, the families of political detainees took to public streets, as part of successive escalating steps to pressure the Bahraini authorities to release their kids.

The families of the detainees, including mothers who participated in an evening stand on a public street, warned of the seriousness of the health conditions of their children.

They denounced the cover-ups imposed by the Ministry of the Interior on the status of their family members, as the Ministry of Health procrastinated in revealing the results of the tests it conducted in Jaw Central Prison.

Parents carried banners and chanted slogans denouncing the prison administration’s starvation of their children. Furthermore, detainees complain that the meals provided to them are insufficient to satisfy their hunger. The protest came hours after a similar event organized by the families of prisoners of conscience in Bahrain in front of the Ombudsman headquarters in the capital, Manama.

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