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Bahrain: Chaotic scenes as protests continued inside and outside prisons
Yousuf Al Nashmi, 31, a young Bahraini citizen, is dying as a result of severe torture inflicted on him in jail. This week the regime ordered his release when it became clear that he was approaching “clinical death”. His family protested his ill-treatment and detention. His lawyer, Zainab Abdul Aziz repeatedly called for his release but the Alkhalifa insisted on keeping him at the torture dungeons despite his severe brain tumour. He was tried while his body was on machines. Only when he approached death did the Alkhalifa ordered his release so that he dies outside jail.
Bahraini detainees at the Dry Dock and the central prison (Jau) have been on hunger strike since 2nd October. They are protesting against ill-treatment, intolerable prison conditions and the new restrictions imposed during family visits. Several detainees collapsed as a result. Those prisons have become notorious for the lack of essential facilities needed for human habitation and intensification of repression, attacks on, and torture of detainees.
A young Bahraini sentenced to life imprisonment went on strike demanding that his solitary confinement be ended. Kumail Al Manami has been kept in his small cell for two years during which he reached the verge of death. He fell into coma several times and his body began fading away as a result of torture, ill-treatment and psychological effects of his incommunicado detention.
On Tuesday 8th October, five youth from Duraz Town were seized by members of Death Squads and taken to unknown destinations. Among them is Sayed Abbas Sayed Mahdi, whose brother, Sayed Mahmood is already in jail on trumpeted charges and false accusations. He is married with two children. At mid-day Wednesday, three youth were snatched from their homes at Bilad Al Qadeem Town. Among them was the brother of Martyr Hani Abdul Aziz.
The ruling Alkhalifa family has summoned both Sayed Hadi Al Mousawi, a former MP from Al Wefaq block and Yousuf Al Mahafdha of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights. The allegations directed to them are linked to their claims that Bahrainis often face ill-treatment in detention. The two are among only few who have not been jailed for long periods although Al Mahafdha had been kept for more than one week behind bars earlier this year for criticising the ruling family for its bleak human rights records.
Another Bahraini, Younus Hadher, 19, is also dying slowly at the Dry Dock Prison as a result of severe form of epilepsy. His family has repeatedly called for his release but the authorities have, hitherto, refused to heed these calls. His condition has recently worsened; he is losing his sight, hearing and movement. He cannot walk in normal way and his epileptic attacks have increased dramatically. This week his brother has staged a one-man protest outside the notorious Dry Dock prison calling for his release. His calls have fallen on death ears.
Amnesty International has, meanwhile, issued an Urgent Action appeal calling for the immediate and unconditional release of a popular orator. Mahdi Sahwan has been convicted of “insulting” Bahrain’s dictator and sentenced to three months’ imprisonment for “calling for an illegal gathering”. Amnesty has urged its members to write to the Bahraini authorities to demand Mahdi Sahwan’s release, to ensure that he is protected from torture and other ill-treatment and that he has regular access to his family and lawyers. It has also urged the Alkhalifa “to repeal laws that criminalize the peaceful exercise of the right to freedom of expression”.
These crimes by the regime have only solidified the people’s resolve and determination to pursue their legitimate demands especially the right to determine their own destiny, write their constitution and elect government. From Dair Town in the North to Karzakkan in the South, daily protests have continued unabated. Many houses were subjected to collective punishment including intensive use of chemical and tear gases. Two schools were attacked as students participated in the protests. Al jabiriya and Al Ta’awon Secondary schools were attacked by security forces and students were injured and detained.
Bahrain Freedom Movement
10th October 2013