A group of Bahraini pro-democracy activists and opposition figures living abroad have denounced the inhumane conditions that political prisons are enduring at detention centers across the kingdom, demanding an investigation by human rights institutions into repressive measures against the detainees.
The dissidents and activists participated in a virtual conference organized by the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) and dubbed “Prisoners of conscience; Prisons and Relentless Suppression in Bahrain.” A number of relatives of the imprisoned political opponents were also in attendance.
“What political detainees and prisoners of conscience have exposed about their sufferings through audio recordings is only a mere fraction of the unbearable mistreatment and dire threats they are subjected to,” a Bahraini human rights activist and father of jailed activist Ali Mohanna said.
He noted that members of the so-called National Assembly of Bahrain have failed since the February 2011 popular uprising to fulfill their duties as regards the prisoners and their basic rights.
“I tried to contact several legislators; but they simply refused to take any measures out of fear of reprisal. They argue that a complaint on their part would make them complicit and would be met with deafening silence from state institutions,” the activist said.
Bagher Darwish, chairman of the conference, also lauded the mass strike of Bahraini prisoners, calling on the detainees to raise the ante and pressure officials at notorious Jau Prison into reducing repressive measures.
Jafar Yahya, another Bahraini political activist, also lambasted the systematic and flagrant violations of the rights of prisoners, stating that Bahrain’s legislature is expected to set up committees and investigate purported abuses.
He also urged the international community to mete out justice for people who have been sentenced on trumped-up charges and are now being held behind bars in the Al Khalifah regime’s prisons.
Anti-monarchy demonstrations began in mid-February 2011 and have been held on a regular basis ever since the popular uprising started.
Demonstrators demand that the Al Khalifah regime relinquish power, and a democratic, just system representing all Bahrainis be established.
The ruthless Manama regime, however, has responded to demands for social equality with an iron fist, clamping down on voices of dissent.
In March 2017, Bahrain’s parliament approved the trial of opposition civilians at military tribunals in a measure blasted by human rights campaigners as being tantamount to the imposition of an undeclared martial law.
The monarch, King Hamad, ratified the constitutional amendment in April 2017, bringing about further suppression of political dissent on the tiny Persian Gulf Island under the strong influence of the Saudi regime.
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