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New Cases of COVID- 19 at Jaw and Dry Docks’ prisons in Bahrain

Coronavirus continues to spread in the Bahraini regime’s prisons, leaving new infections among political prisoners, amid serious medical negligence by prison administrations.

At Jaw Central Prison, more than 25 cases were recorded among prisoners of Building 19, one of whom showed serious symptoms, according to prisoners. In addition, 8 new injuries were recorded inside the Dry Dock Prison.

These new figures belie the recent allegations of Interior Minister Rashid Al Khalifa that there are no existing cases of the deadly virus among prisoners.

Last week, Bahraini human rights sources revealed the death of a policeman, as a result of being infected with the Coronavirus. The official worked at Jau Central Prison in Bahrain, which has over 4,000 political prisoners.

According to Bahraini human rights defender Syed Ahmed Al-Wadaei, the policeman was called Yasser and was of Syrian origin.

The death occurred a week ago while the Ministry of Interior kept the news secret and did not offer public condolences to his family, Al-Wadaei said in a tweet.

His death due to infection with COVID- 19 reflects the seriousness of the conditions of political prisoners and the danger threatening their lives in Bahrain’s prisons, especially at Jaw Prison.

On March 23, Bahrain’s prisons witnessed the first infection of a prisoner of conscience with the Coronavirus, amid severe overcrowding in prisons.

Contrary to what the authorities stated, the number of prisoners infected with the virus has risen to 100, to date. Bahraini authorities have falsely announced only three cases in Jaw Central Prison.

Jaw Prison was built with a capacity of 1,201 prisoners, but the Bahraini authorities are crowding around 2,700 inmates inside the prison.

Recently, mass protests erupted in the streets, during which the families of political detainees demanded the release of their relatives in light of the COVID- 19 danger.

Mothers of political prisoners in Bahrain made moving appeals to reassure their children in light of the dangerous outbreak of COVID- 19, systematic repression and torture inside prisons.

Mothers of prisoners made humanitarian appeals to save their children from the threat of the Corona pandemic, especially after the denial of their visit or contact with their relatives.

They also demanded the disclosure of the fate of those forcibly disappeared since the bloodshed by security officers against prisoners on Saturday, April 17.

Meanwhile, twelve members of the European Parliament sent a letter to the King of Bahrain expressing their deep concern over the government’s management of the current outbreak of COVID-19 in prisons, notably in Jau Prison.

The letter was signed by members of the European Parliament from different European political parties and an independent member of Parliament.

On March 11, the European Parliament adopted a draft resolution condemning human rights violations in Bahrain, after it was voted on by an overwhelming majority.

633 deputies out of 689 supported the draft resolution condemning the increase in the use of the death penalty, the continued use of torture against detainees, and the persecution of human rights defenders in Bahrain.

According to the letter, MPs expressed concern over the prolonged poor conditions in Jaw Prison and other facilities.

They criticized the lack of transparency regarding the health of prisoners, amid detailed reports published by human rights organizations documenting the spread of COVID-19 in prisons.

The European members urged the Bahraini to adopt an approach to public health informed by international human rights standards rather than a punitive approach against prisoners who were convicted after unfair trials.

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