A Bahraini political prisoner has reportedly lost his life as a result of the complications of sickle cell anemia and deliberate medical negligence inside prison, as the ruling Al Khalifah regime presses ahead with its crackdown on pro-democracy campaigners and opposition figures in the Persian Gulf kingdom.
Human rights activists said Hassan Abdulnabi Mansour died at Salmaniya Medical Complex on Sunday after suffering from a health setback.
Ahmed al-Wada’i, director of the Britain-based human rights group Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), said the 35-year-old prisoner was sentenced to three months in prison, but was not covered by alternative sanctions despite the seriousness of his health condition.
He added that Mansour suffered from medical negligence at the Dry Dock prison, and authorities did not refer him for treatment in a timely manner.
“The prisoner was groaning and crying in pain, prompting other inmates in his ward to knock heavily on the doors until he was transferred to the prison clinic and later to Salmaniya hospital, where he finally passed away,” Wada’i noted.
He demanded an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Mansour’s death.
Bahrain has come under pressure from human rights organizations over prison conditions, including overcrowding, poor sanitation and lack of medical care.
Bahrain’s interior ministry in a statement said political prisoner Hussein Barakat, 48, died at a hospital on June 10 after being infected with COVID-19. He had been taken from prison to Salmaniya Hospital on May 29, it said.
Barakat was sentenced in 2018, along with 53 other individuals, to life in prison in a mass trial of 138 defendants, according to BIRD.
Since the March outbreak of the coronavirus at the Jau prison, families of the Bahraini prisoners have been holding protests demanding the release of their loved ones and better conditions. There was a violent confrontation between guards and prisoners in April after prisoners protested against their conditions.
On April 19, Bahrain’s most prominent cleric Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim said drawing up a new constitution was the only way out of the political crisis in the protest-hit tiny kingdom, urging the regime in Manama to pursue an agreement with the Bahraini opposition instead of increasingly suppressing the dissidents.
Demonstrations in Bahrain have been held on a regular basis ever since a popular uprising began in mid-February 2011.
The participants demand that the Al Khalifah regime relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.
Manama, however, has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent.