07 FEB 2013

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights is gravely concerned for the health of three activists and political leaders, Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, AbdulHadi Al-Mukhoder and AbdulJalil Al-Singace, who have all begun a hunger strike to protest the unlawful restrictions that the prison authorities have placed on the communications for the Bahrain13, and the lack of response to their complaints by the prison administration.

When speaking on the telephone, if any of these prisoners attempts to discuss their health, their treatment in prison, or politics, the phone line is immediately cut. Since the prisoners of conscience had their final appeal denied in January, the restrictions have become much worse.

In addition to the unlawful restrictions that the authorities have placed on family communications, Al-Mukhoder and Al-Singace have both been completely denied access to a lawyer since their final appeal was rejected by the Court of Cassation on January 7th, 2013; Al-Khawaja is still allowed contact with his lawyer as he has a separate ongoing trial. BCHR has documented similar treatment to other activists, most recently on Dec 2012 bahrainrights.hopto.org/en/node/5584.

More than 25 days ago the above mentioned activists and political leaders, as well as the rest of the group of the Bahrain13, who are held on the case of "attempt to overthrow the regime" (More details: bahrainrights.hopto.org/en/node/5272 ) have all sent a letter to the prison administration to express protest to the violations to their right to concurrent and private communication with their family and lawyers. The incident which triggered this protest was when Hassan Mushaima attempted to tell his family about his health situation and the phone line was cut. They have boycotted their right to regular calls with their families as a protest. However no reply has been received from the prison administration to their letter and no improvement was seen on conditions. Thus the three activists have decided to escalate their protest and start a hunger strike to demand their basic rights.

Al-Khawaja began his strike on the 2nd of February, Al-Mukhoder and Al-Singace on the 5th and 7th respectively. Alkhawaja has been previously through a 110 days hunger strike which started in Feb 2012.

Lawyer Mohamed AlJishi has reported that AbdulJalil Alsingace has been taken to clinic to be treated three times since the start of the hunger strike.

The BCHR is seriously concerned that the authorities attempt to block all information relating to the detainees’ health and treatment is an attempt to hide human rights abuses. However, the primary concern of the BCHR remains to be that these men are prisoners of conscience, imprisoned on charges related to freedom of expression, and must be released immediately.

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights call for immediate action on behalf of the Bahraini authorities and the international community to: • release all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience from prison immediately. • implement sweeping reforms through the prison system to improve transparency and improve general prison conditions, including the recommendations in the BICI report. • abide by the BICI report’s recommendations to investigate torture allegations throughout the judicial system and prosecute those found to be responsible in a fair and transparent court of law.