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Bahrain prisoners complain about torture, mistreatment

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The file photo shows inmates at the notorious Jaw Prison in Manama, Bahrain.

Bahraini prisoners held at the notorious Dry Dock pre-trial detention center have complained about being tortured and forced to imitate animal sounds.

The detainees at the prison located on the island of Muharraq, northeast of the capital, Manama, said that they are tortured when being taken to solitary confinement, Bahraini media reported on Saturday.

According to the prisoners, they are humiliated and insulted, forced to make animal sounds, adding that they cannot know the names of officers or policemen that torture them because they remove their name tags.

They also complained about the lack of “simplest necessary medications” at the detention center and said they are denied rest as officers force them to sleep early and then raid their rooms in the middle of the night under the pretext of searching.

The inmates said there are prisoners who have been kept in the center for long periods of time without trials and pointed to harsh sentences which have been handed down to youths under 18.

They also called for the removal of the glass barrier that stand between them and their families when visiting them, saying, "The barrier prevents us from sitting with our family normally and denies us a lot of our human rights; we feel as if we are in cages. What's the difference between us and the animals!"

They asked for the right to be visited by their relatives on special occasions and holidays.

The report comes as informed sources have said inmates at the 9th ward of the Dry Dock prison, are refusing to eat after jail officials decided to place a glass barrier in the visitation room, adding that prisoners from other wards of the detention facility are most likely to join the hunger strike.

Jaw, another notorious jail and the largest in Bahrain, is also used to hold peaceful protesters, who participated in anti-regime demonstrations.

Human Rights Watch called last May for an independent investigation into allegations of mistreatment and use of "excessive force" against prisoners at the jail.

Since February 14, 2011, thousands of anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations on an almost daily basis in the kingdom, calling for the Al Khalifah family to relinquish power.

Bahrain riot police use tear gas against protesters during demonstrations on May 23, 2015. ©AFP

In March that year, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates invaded the country to assist the Bahraini government in its crackdown on peaceful pro-democracy protesters.

Scores of people have been killed and hundreds of others injured or arrested in the ongoing heavy-handed crackdown on anti-regime rallies.

Amnesty International and other rights groups have repeatedly censured the Bahraini regime over the “rampant” human rights abuses against opposition activists and anti-government protesters.

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