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A Worsening Prisoners’ Dilemma

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On 18 July 2017, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights released another article calling out the country for its inhumane conditions for its prisoners, including many human rights advocates. These harsh conditions were documented by BCHR ,also confirmed by SRW, and reported that they went against the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, set by the United Nations. These UN specifications include accommodation standards, separation of prisoners, personal hygiene, and many other rights to be guaranteed to prisoners. Following the January attack on Jau Prison, the largest male penitentiary in Bahrain, worsened conditions for prisoners were reported.

  • Prisoners and their family members reported the excessive use of shackles, despite Rule 47 from the UN Standard prohibiting the use of restraints in a way that is either specifically degrading or painful.
  • The reports also stated that prisoners were subject to bodily searches or shackling in order to receive any medical attention, which directly violates both Rules 27 and 31 of the Standard.
  • Many prisoners, such as Dr. Abduljalil Al-Singace, did not seek medical assistance due to the demands for excessive shackling to attend the appointment. Abdulwahab Hussain was not only denied access to medical facilities, but was mistreated and tortured during his prison sentence.
  • The conditions that prisoners like Mr. Hussain were subject to repeatedly demanded the attention of the United Nations Universal Periodic Review, which issued 175 recommendations in relation to the Bahraini prison conditions.

Shia Rights Watch (SRW) urges the government of Bahrain to strengthen its resolve to uphold all rules set by the United Nations’ Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, and to increase protections on the rights of Bahraini citizens. SRW also calls upon humanitarian organizations to continue to advocate for more human rights protections in Bahrain.

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