On Wednesday 27 June, at the 38th session of the Human Rights Council, Michael Payne, ADHRB’s Director of Advocacy, delivered an oral intervention during the Item 4 General Debate. In his intervention, Payne called the Council’s attention to the poor and unsanitary conditions suffered by detainees, in particular high profile prisoners and human rights defenders, in Jau Prison. Click here to read a PDF of his intervention, or continue reading for a the text of his remarks below.

Mr. Vice President,

ADHRB wishes to bring to the Council’s attention the conditions in Jau Prison in Bahrain and the ill treatment of political prisoners.

The conditions in Jau violate international standards for detention. Prisoners on Death Row like Maher al-Khabbaz and Mohamed Ramadan are housed in extremely cramped and unhygienic conditions. They have also stated that religious rites are prohibited, and they are punished with solitary confinement if they attempt to practice. Prisoners have reported being confined to their cell for more than 23 hours per day, only being allowed to leave during the hottest point of the day. This has forced some prisoners to eat inside their cells, attracting ants and cockroaches.

The prison has also specifically targeted high-profile prisoners for abuse by denying them healthcare. Political leaders Hasan Mushaima and Abdulwahab Husain, and Human Rights Defenders Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, Nabeel Rajab, and Dr. Abduljalil al-Singace have all been denied necessary medical care during detention in Jau.

The administration provides insufficient, poor quality, drinking water – reportedly giving prisoners water in emptied bottles of bleach, and recently, the prison deprived Nabeel Rajab and his cellmates from drinking water for over 36 hours, until another detainee lost consciousness. Nabeel has had all personal items confiscated, including books and writing materials after a recent European Parliament resolution citing his case.

We therefore call upon the Council to address these violations, and call on Bahrain to release all political prisoners, and to uphold its international obligations for the rights of prisoners.

Thank you.