ADHRB at HRC40 calls attention to political prisoners in Bahrain

13 March 2019 – Today, Clara Sanchez Lopez delivered an oral intervention on behalf of Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) during the Agenda Item 4 General Debate at the 40th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. In her intervention, Lopez called attention to the plight of political prisoners on Bahrain, highlighting the cases of Sheikh Ali Salman, Hassan Mushaima, and Abdulwahab Hussain, prominent political activists. Continue reading for the text of her intervention or click here for a PDF of her remarks.

Mr. Vice President,

IDO and ADHRB would like raise concerns regarding the cases of unjustly imprisoned political figures in Bahrain.

Bahrain has roughly 4,000 political prisoners, an extraordinary figure given the country’s small population, and in the past few years the government has dissolved all major opposition political societies.

Among the thousands of political prisoners is Hassan Mushaima, a 70-year-old Bahraini and former Vice President of al-Wefaq also the Secretary General of the Haq Movement, Bahrain’s largest political opposition group which was forcibly closed in 2016. He is currently serving a life sentence on political charges of “attempting to overthrow the government” for his role in the pro-democracy protests in 2011. He remains in Jau Prison, where he has been subjected to ill treatment, including the continued denial of healthcare and restricted access to medication.

Abdulwahab Hussain, co-founder of al-Wefaq, was also arrested and sentenced to life for his involvement in the 2011 protests. He has spent a portion of his sentence in solitary confinement and has been consistently denied access to medical care while in prison, despite suffering from a chronic neurological disorder.

Also serving a life sentence is Sheikh Ali Salman, former Secretary-General of al-Wefaq, who was sentenced on spurious “espionage” charges in 2018 – just weeks before Bahrain’s parliamentary elections. His conviction came a month before he was due to be released from a a four-year prison sentence on free expression charges relating to his political speeches.

We call on Bahrain, as a member of the Council, to adhere to the Council’s principles and release all political prisoners.

Thank you.