08 FEB 2013

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses grave concern over the fact that at a time when the government of Bahrain is calling for a dialogue, political prisoners are forced to resort to hunger strikes to protest the bad prison treatment and conditions; attempting to gain international attention towards their conditions.

Hussain AlAali, arrested in connection with the case involving five tons of explosives (see: http://www.bahrainrights.org/en/node/5522), informed his family that although he started a hunger strike on the 7th of January to protest the ill treatment and torture they have received while in prison, and in a further act of desperation stopped taking all liquids on the 1st of February, he has forcefully been made to take water this week. According to a family member, AlAali sounded fatigued when they recently spoke on the phone, and the phone call was cut after he said:

“I will continue the hunger strike no matter what, and I know the names of every single one of my torturers and will not forget them.”

The BCHR is seriously concerned about the well being and life of Hussain AlAali especially concerning the content of his last phone call. AlAali is in the hands of those he threatened to expose, and the BCHR holds the Bahraini authorities fully responsible towards anything that happens to him.

During a time when the Government of Bahrain should be taking trust-building steps to attempt to help the political dialogue succeed in establishing a government that respects human rights, political prisoners find that the hunger strikes are the only method they have to protest the ill-treatment they receive.

Several groups of prisoners who are being held together in the Dry Docks Prison have gone on hunger strike, but due to the further mistreatment they received, they were forced to break the hunger strike. They were put on lockdown, and not allowed to leave their cell. In some cases, the prisoners were subjected to beatings or teargas inside prison. Only the group of prisoners in block 3 remains on hunger strike at this time.

Another case is that of the ‘Bahrain 13’. At a time when Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja is being nominated for the Noble Peace Prize, he began another hunger strike on Saturday the 2nd of February to protest mistreatment from unresponsive prison authorities. Al-Khawaja towards protest related to phone calls (See: http://www.bahrainrights.org/en/node/5639). Along with Al-Khawaja, Abduljalil AlSingace started a hunger strike on Thursday February 7th, and Abdulhadi AlMukhodher started a hunger strike on Tuesday February 5th for the same reasons.

These hunger strikes also come at a time close to the anniversary of the mass protests in Bahrain. The BCHR has received information that the number of check points have increased, and arrests are taking place in anticipation of protests to mark the anniversary of the pro-democracy movement.

It is important to note that while discussing poor conditions within the prison system, the main focus should be on the immediate release of these political detainees, instead of imprisoned in better conditions.

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls on the United States, the United Kingdom, the UN and all other close allies and international institutions to put pressure on the Government of Bahrain to:

1. Immediately release all political prisoners and drop all fabricated charges against them 2. Immediately stop all forms of mistreatment against prisoners and detainees 3. Hold accountable all those responsible for torture and mistreatment of prisoners and detainees, including those in high positions 4. Offer rehabilitation and medical treatment to all those who require it as a result of the torture and mistreatment 5. Ensure that people are allowed to protest peacefully without fear of retribution or excessive use of force during the February 14th anniversary