Bahrain: Political Leader Hasan Mushaima Denied Adequate Medical Care
--Update: 21 April 2014--
After the issuance of the statement below, the family of Mushaima notified the BCHR that they received test results regarding his health, and that he is currently free from cancer. He continues to suffer from a deviated septum, which requires surgery, although the authorities continue to refuse treatment for this condition.
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses grave concern in regards to the Bahraini government’s refusal to inform imprisoned political leader Hasan Mushaima and his family of his medical test results. His family has repeatedly expressed concern about the condition of his health and possible deprivation of urgent medical treatment.
Hasan Mushaima, 65 years old, is a former cancer patient. Since his arrest in August 2011, he has been deprived of adequate medical treatment and proper follow up and checkup on his case. His family stated that after pressure from Amnesty International, Mushaima was taken to the hospital to have Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan which was more than seven months overdue. The doctor told him that result would be ready within 48 hours. Despite this, more than month later, neither Mushaima nor his family have received the results.
Mushaima’s family has expressed grave concern as Mushaima is suffering from similar symptoms he had when the cancer was first discovered in 2010. He has difficulty breathing and has fainted several times in prison. Moreover, Mushaima was told that he has deviated septum in his nose that requires a surgical operation to treat it. However, he has never been taken for surgery.
This is not the first time the authorities have denied Mushaima and his family information about his medical condition. In August 2011, Mushaima’s lawyer repeatedly asked for information about the treatment he had received in detention; however, only blood pressure and diabetes test results were given along with some information about a previous ear surgery. He was also reportedly told that his cancer had returned as a method of psychological torture. On 4 November 2012, he had surgery to take a sample of a tumor to be tested and was given 10 days until results would be available, however, the deadline elapsed for months. Similarly, on 22 December 2012, Mushaima underwent a second biopsy procedure. Although, he was told that the results would be ready in two weeks, the results were not revealed until after more than three months (Read more: http://www.bahrainrights.org/en/node/5614).
The BCHR believes that the continued denial of information is a method of psychological torture and harassment used by authorities against prisoners of conscience. Mushaima’s family, as well as the BCHR, is gravely concerned over the prevention of adequate medical treatment and the withholding of test results. These factors, when combined with Mushaima’s health history, potentially put his life at great risk.
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls on the United Kingdom, the United States, and all other close allies of the Bahraini government to pressure the authorities in Bahrain to:
- immediately release prisoner of conscience Hassan Mushaima who is imprisoned for practicing his right to freedom of speech, and provide him with access to the necessary medical examinations and treatments that he requires in order to avoid further risk to his life;
- provide all prisoners with adequate, and timely, access to medical treatment;
- end the practice of denying prisoners medical attention as a means of intimidation, and punishment for exercising their human rights.
The BCHR holds the Bahraini authorities responsible for the life and well-being of Hassan Mushaima.