Detainees at Bahrain’s Dry Dock Prison reported that prison officers threatened to use force to stop their collective hunger strike. The prisoners launched a hunger strike in response to the ongoing abuse and mistreatment by prison authorities. In addition, prisoners are also demanding that the glass barriers, which prevent prisoners from physically interacting with the families during visits, be removed. In an effort to end the hunger strike, prison authorities continue to neglect the prisoners and have banned them from speaking to their family members as punishment.
Prisoners in Bahrain have engaged in hunger strikes before in an effort to protest ongoing torture and ill-treatment in detention. In September 2011, the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry reported that “at least 101 detained activists have gone on a hunger strike [and] 17 have been hospitalized by the Ministry of Interior for the deterioration in their general condition.” In 2014, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights reported that around “600 detainees at Dry Dock Prison have entered a hunger strike under the title “Stop Torture in Prison.” In July 2015, human rights activist Fatima al-Halwachi confirmed that “prisoners at Dry Dock Prison are determined to begin a hunger strike on July 25 to protest ill-treatment by police guards.” It is clear that hunger strikes are prisoners’ form of protest against ongoing human rights violations in Bahrain’s prisons.
Tyler Pry is an Advocacy Intern at Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain
Photo courtesy of Bahrain Mirror