BCHR: Release the inmates before prisons turn into cemeteries

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) denounces the inhumane way in which the Bahraini authorities treat prisoners. This led to the death of the young political detainee, Hussain Barakat, as a result of being infected with Covid-19 in prison and the deterioration of his health in Salmaniya Hospital. This prisoner was serving a life sentence for political reasons linked to the demand for freedom and democracy.

That comes with the outbreak of the pandemic significantly throughout the country, and especially in prisons. According to BCHR, more than 240 cases have been reported in Jaw Central Prison and Dry Dock Detention Center. It should be noted that prisons in Bahrain lack adequate health care for prisoners, and do not abide by the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners as ill-treatment and torture continue.

The large outbreak of Covid-19 in prisons has led to waves of panic and anxiety. In this context, the President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), Nedal Al-Salman, calls for the “immediate release of all prisoners, especially those suffering from health issues and who may end up with a similar fate to that of the inmate Hussein Barakat”. Al-Salman believes that “the authorities should take the death of the prisoner Hussein Barakat as a trigger to expand the cycle of releases to reach those sentenced to long or life sentences”.

The Center calls for the investigation and accountability of all those who brought the health situation in Bahraini prisons to this degree of health neglect, which claimed some prisoners’ lives and led to the infection of hundreds with this virus.