Bahrain: Numerous cases of detainee death following release is evidence of torture and denial of healthcare


Geneva – Geneva Council for Rights and Liberties calls for the dispatch of an international fact-finding mission to investigate detention conditions of political arrestees in Bahrain’s prisons due to increased number of death cases after they are released.

Geneva Council received testimonies of the death of Kazem Al-Sahlawi, 24, a former Bahraini political prisoner of the notorious “Joe” prison was released on Monday in poor health condition.

On 31 January, the former political detainee and opposition activist Hamid Khatem, 38 years old, died after he was diagnosed with cancer while serving a two-year prison sentence for a tweet.

Testimonies showed that both Al-Sahlawi and Khatim were in good health when arrested but their health gradually deteriorated due to ill-treatment, torture in prison and medical negligence. They are released when health is severely deteriorated.

Geneva Council affirms that the death of two former political detainees shortly after their release constitutes new evidence of suspicions torture practice, intentional withholding provision of health care to detainees and other serious human rights violations in Bahrain’s prisons.

On 15 August last year, more than 600 prisoners at the “Jaw Prison“ and the Dry Port Detention Center in Bahrain declared a hunger strike to protest their conditions of detention, including the denial of medical care.

Geneva Council for Rights and Liberties condemns the Bahraini authorities for deliberate mistreatment of political detainees, the arbitrary deprivation of urgent health care, the refusal to offer them consultation of specialists, and the prohibition of medication for them as a form of arbitrary punishment.

GCRL affirms that arbitrary denial of medical care may amount to extrajudicial punishment and gross violation of the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners known as the “Mandela Rules”.

In this regard, we urge international effective action to compel the Bahraini authorities to fulfil their obligations under international laws and covenants stipulating that the authorities cannot restrict the right to health as punishment, and political detainees should receive medical care without discrimination according to their legal status as well as the need to end their unlawful detention.

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