ADHRB at HRC38 condemns detention of women activists in Bahrain’s Isa Town Women’s Prison

On Monday 2 July, during the Item 8 General Debate on the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action at the 38th session of the Human Rights Council, ADHRB delivered an oral intervention calling attention to the plight of women activists detained in Bahrain’s Isa Town Women’s Prison. Many of the women were tortured, including through sexual assault, and have been denied access to adequate healthcare. This has largely been at the direction of Major Maryam al-Bardouli, an official at Isa Town. Click here for a PDF of the intervention or continue reading for the text of the remarks.

Mr. President,

ADHRB would like to raise concerns over States’ violations to the VDPR relating to arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, and torture.

We want to raise particular concern over women activists detained in Bahrain’s Isa town Women’s Prison.

Bahraini authorities arbitrarily arrested Fawziya Mashallah and Zakiya Albarbori and held them in pre-trial detention. Although Zakiya was recently released, officials had forcibly disappeared her and held her incommunicado, including for a prolonged period in solitary confinement amounting to torture. We remain concerned that the oldest woman political prisoner in Bahrain, Fawziya, suffers from inadequate medical treatment.

In addition, there are seven women sentenced to three to five years in prison after trials that were unfair and based on convictions obtained through torture, including sexual assault. Bahraini officials sentenced Hajer Mansoor, Medina Ali, and Najah Yusuf to three years and Amira Alqashami, Faten Husain, and Mona Habib to five years in prison. Hajer’s sentence is a reprisal against her son-in-law, rights defender Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei’s activism. We remain concerned over the precarious situation of Ebtisam al-Saegh.

Recently, officials have denied those detained access to books, including the Qur’an, and they face degrading treatment and denial of medical care under the direction of Major Maryam al-Bardouli.

We call upon all states, including Bahrain, to prohibit the use of torture, especially against peaceful protesters, and to ensure that domestic laws concerning torture are in line with the VDPA.

Thank you