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Manama offers prisoners extra rights after ‘biggest’ mass hunger strike in Bahrain’s prison history

This file picture shows Bahraini regime forces at the notorious Jau Prison, south of the capital, Manama.

Bahraini authorities have proposed to offer more rights to political prisoners, following inmates' mass hunger strike in protest against the inhumane conditions at the kingdom’s notorious Jau prison earlier this month.  

Bahrain’s Interior Ministry announced the proposal on Monday, saying it would "increase the duration of visitations" and was looking to raise the time inmates are allowed outdoors.

However, the step that has so far failed to quell the mass hunger strike at the notorious jail.

Sayed Alwadaei, the Britain-based Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), said in a statement that “this offer is too little, too late,” stressing that it comes “after 22 days of Bahrain's biggest hunger strike in its prison history."

He went on to say that it is clear the hunger strike will continue until the Bahraini regime addresses the prisoners’ concerns “seriously and in good faith."

According to BIRD, at least 800 inmates are taking part in the hunger strike. But Bahraini authorities say that only 121 inmates are participating.

Meanwhile, the regime's General Directorate of Reform and Rehabilitation has stated that "all inmates have the right to non-violent protest and additional care and advice have been afforded to them."

Bahrain "remains focused on finding a resolution that best protects the health and well-being of the inmates concerned," it said on Tuesday, adding that "all inmates are guaranteed their full rights," including medical services and three meals per day.

On August 9, hundreds of Bahraini political prisoners took part in a hunger strike to protest ill-treatment and hard conditions at Jau prison.

The strike triggered nationwide protests, with thousands of Bahrainis taking to the streets to show solidarity with hunger-striking prisoners, calling for their immediate release.

Anti-regime demonstrations have been regularly held in Bahrain since a popular uprising began in mid-February 2011.

People demand that the Al Khalifah regime relinquish power and allow a fair system representing all Bahrainis to be established.

Manama, however, has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent.

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