17 July 2012

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) express concerns over the ill-treatment and harassment of ex-police officer Ali Al-Ghanmi (26) who is detained since 4 May 2011. Ali has been sentenced to 12 years of imprisonment by a military court on 9 January 2012, for charges related to freedom of speech and expression. He is accused of inciting hatred for the regime, protesting in 11 different pro-democracy rallies and the Pearl Roundabout, inciting military officers, absenteeism from work and communicating with foreign media channels. During some of the protests he is accused of, he was actually in prison. For the past 3 weeks, Ali Al-Ghanmi has been held in a prison cell without any air-conditioning in the central prison in Jaw. It is summer in Bahrain and the temperature can reach over 45 degrees (Celcius). There are a number of prison cells that do not have air-conditioning. In some cells, the prison guards have opened the doors of some cells to allow air to come in. However, the centralized air-conditioning has not been fixed. According to Ali, the prison cells should be accommodated with no more than 6 people, but since it is overpacked, some cells have up to 7 or 8 inmates and therefore some of them have to sleep on the floor. Ali Al-Ghanmi has a health condition that needs treatment, but he has been denied access to the hospital. Ali has callus in his foot that needs surgery to be removed. Ali has written multiple times to the prison manager of his need to visit the hospital but his requests have been denied. Ali has kept a record of the dates of the letters that have been declined.

Ali has requested to get clothes and shoes, which are not provided by the prison, but his request has been denied. He has two prison uniforms which he is allowed to wear only during family visits. His family has brought clothes and shoes for him, but officers have not allowed them inside the prison.

When the protests arise in Bahrain in February 2011 Ali Al-Ghanmi was working as a police officer. When he received information that the security forces had shot the protestors, he went to the hospital to help treat the wounded. Later, while still in his police uniform, he went where the protesters were and publicly announced that he was not going to work for the regime anymore. The BCHR has grounds to believe that Ali Al-Ghanmi was targeted and prosecuted due to his views. Therefore, the BCHR demands the Bahraini government to immediately and unconditionally release Ali Al-Ghanmi and other inmates imprisoned for their views.

The Bahrain Center for human rights (BCHR), emphasizing the stipulated in international conventions concerning the protection of persons subjected to detention and imprisonment, in particular that "All persons under any form of detention or imprisonment shall be treated in a humane manner and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person." the Centre urges upon the Bahraini authorities and all relevant prompt action to ensure the rights of detainees and prisoners in Bahrain, particularly in Jaw Central Prison, including:

1. Regular and sudden inspection of prisons and places of detention by representatives of the competent international organizations in addition to independent local organizations and authorities with qualified inspectors with experience and honest. Also, to reform the situation and to prosecute those involved in any violations and to punish or isolate delinquent administrative authorities.

2. Full compliance with article 31 of "the standard minimum rules for the treatment of prisoners" issued by the United Nations, which stipulates that: "Corporal punishment, punishment by placing in a dark cell, and all cruel, inhuman or degrading punishments shall be completely prohibited as punishments for disciplinary offences." Basic principles for the treatment of prisoners recommends that: "Efforts addressed to the abolition of solitary confinement as a punishment, or to the restriction of its use, should be undertaken and encouraged."

3. Improve daily living conditions as article (60) of the "standard minimum rules" states that: "The regime of the institution should seek to minimize any differences between prison life and life at liberty which tend to lessen the responsibility of the prisoners or the respect due to their dignity as human beings." Article (10) provides that: "All accommodation provided for the use of prisoners and in particular all sleeping accommodation shall meet all requirements of health, .. and particularly to cubic content of air, minimum floor space, lighting, heating and ventilation."

4. Bahrain must sign the Optional Protocol against Torture, which involved that there will be a standing committee to visit the prisons and that the visits could be sudden, a practical step that will prove the seriousness of Bahrain to improve prison conditions.