ADHRB during the UN Human Rights Council calls on the Bahraini government to release all political prisoners

On 16 March, ADHRB has delivered an oral intervention at the United Nation Human Rights Council session 49 under item 3, during the General debate. ADHRB calls on the Bahraini government to release all political prisoners.

Mr. President,

AlSalam wishes to bring to the Council’s attention the ongoing outbreak of Coronavirus in Bahraini prisons and detention centers, amidst attempts by authorities to obscure information about infected political prisoners and their condition.

There are currently upwards of 580 infected prisoners in Jau Prison. Infected prisoners are denied calls with their family while visits have been prohibited since the beginning of the pandemic, and so their family learns of their infection through the Ministry of Health website, which publishes the results of all Bahrainis indiscriminately. However, at times, the prison administration has resorted to conducting rapid tests in order to avoid the publication of results. Consequently, family members are left concerned and unaware of their imprisoned relatives’ condition and whereabouts. Authorities have consistently failed to disclose the real number of active cases in prison, insisting that the situation is under control and prisoners receive all adequate services.

However, recovered prisoners have reported that they are crowded into a small room without proper treatment, while precautionary measures to limit the spread of the virus are not taken. When it comes to prisoners with underlying conditions, this could be particularly dangerous. Back in June, political prisoner Husain Barakat died after suffering from COVID-related complications.

AlSalam reiterates the appeal of the High Commissioner from the start of the pandemic, which calls for the release of political prisoners, in order to reduce overcrowding and avoid a catastrophe.

Thank you.