Fears for safety of political prisoners after creation of a prisoner’s coalition

02 Dec 2012

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) expresses its grave concern over the wellbeing and safety of the Dry Dock political prisoners, especially the prisoners of section 3, who have been reportedly attacked on more than one occasion after the release of a statement by a newly formed Prisoners of Conscience Coalition (PCCB). The statement was released on 27th, Nov 2012 and concentrates on the need for starting a new phase to object the injustices experienced by the political detainees. It also asked for the support of political societies, human rights and international movements. The statement ends with a promise of announcing more details in the coming few days.

On Thursday 29th Nov, the BCHR received information that section 3 was stormed by riot police and attacked. The families of section 3 detainees have had no communication with their sons since the day of the reported attack and there are worrying reports of political prisoners being beaten and some transferred to solitary confinement.

According to the information received by the BCHR, the prisoners were first attacked on the 27th of November less than 15 minutes after the release of the statement, which spoke of the worrying conditions of Bahraini political prisoners and vowed to take action in demanding their rights. PCCB stated that "the abuse" of prisoners "starts from the first stages of the usually brutal arrests carried out by security forces and secret agents, to the physical and psychological torture during interrogations, where prisoners are forced to sign confessions which are then used against them in courts that lack any form of justice and independence"

The BCHR has documented thousands of cases of abuse of political prisoners since the start of the February 14th mass protests, including physical and psychological torture, lack of medical treatment of injured prisoners, and imprisonment of minors. The BCHR fully supports the prisoner’s right to form a coalition to call for their rights and an end to violations.

Based on the above, the BCHR calls on the US, the UK, the UN and all other allies and international institutions to put pressure on the Government of Bahrain to:

1. Immediately grant access to the prison to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and other independent human rights organizations with qualified and honest inspectors to examine the situation. Also, to reform the situation and to prosecute those involved in any violations and to punish or isolate delinquent administrative authorities. 2. Immediately release all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience who were detained for merely exercising their rights as granted in the universal declaration of human rights. 3. Immediately drop all trumped up charges, especially those relating to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. 4. Immediately stop systematic torture of prisoners & allow them to call their families. 5. Hold all those within the government, it’s ministries and employees who are responsible for human rights violations accountable.