With the hashtag #ReleasePoliticalPrisoners, students and activists all over Europe expressed their concern and demanded the immediate release of political prisoners in Bahrain. On March 17, 2020, Bahrain completed the release of 1,486 prisoners, 901 of whom received royal pardons on “humanitarian grounds.” The remaining 585 were given non-custodial sentences. While this is a positive step, the releases so far have excluded opposition leaders, activists, journalists and human rights defenders – many of whom are older and/or suffer from underlying medical conditions and ought to be prioritized for release.
Those excluded include prominent opposition leaders and human rights defenders, those deemed arbitrarily detained by the United Nations and Prisoners of Conscience by Amnesty International. This includes Hassan Mushaima, Abdulwahab Hussain, Abdulhadi Al Khawaja, Dr Abdel-Jalil al-Singace, Sheikh Ali Salman, Sayed Nizar Alwadaei, Nabeel Rajab and Naji Fateel.
Conditions in Bahrain’s overcrowded prisons compound the risk of COVID-19 spreading. There is a lack of adequate sanitation. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the United Nations have expressed their concern over the authorities’ persistent failure to provide adequate medical care.
Bahraini authorities should release human rights defenders, opposition activists, journalists and all others imprisoned solely for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression, assembly, and association. In response to this situation, students and activists all over Europe expressed their concern and demanded the immediate release of all political prisoners in Bahrain. In a joint video-statement from 22 cities and capitals of 14 different countries, these activists called on the Bahraini government to take immediate action and release all the political prisoners who are in danger of getting infected by covid-19 due to unsanitary and unhealthy conditions in Bahraini prisons.
It was a powerful message that from all these countries clearly shows the international reach of the cause. The government of Bahrain should take immediate action to guarantee the security and safeguard the prisoners in danger of getting infected by covid-19 due to unhealthy and unsanitary prison conditions The. These are the list of countries from which these demands were made: Azerbaijan, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxemburg Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.