Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK) reacts with horror to the Bahraini regime’s continued mis-treatment of prisoners – particularly political prisoners – as it fails to contain the COVID-19 virus more generally.
AOHR UK is particularly shocked at the tragic case of political prisoner Husain Barakat, aged 48, who died on Wednesday 9 June after having contracted the coronavirus in late May. Husain had received two doses of the Sinopharm vaccine, according to his family. However, his condition nevertheless deteriorated, and he was transferred from the infamous Jaw Prison to Salmaniya hospital. News of his death was shared through social media.
Husain was one of the 53 people given life sentences in May 2018, after a mass trial of 138 defendants for alleged “terrorism”. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD), reporting on the trial, found that in every case they investigated, individuals “were subjected to unfair trials, prevented from accessing legal counsel, convicted on the basis of confessions obtained through torture, and sentenced in absentia.”
The current coronavirus outbreak Jaw Prison began in late May and has already infected 60% of the 255 political prisoners in Building 12; a previous outbreak infected 140. This is part of a much wider failure on the part of Bahraini authorities to control the virus – Bahrain is currently ranked as suffering the third-highest rise of Covid-19 cases.
Despite this, the Bahraini regime refuses to release political prisoners on health and compassionate grounds.
Against positions, AOHR UK expresses again its horror at the news of Husain’s entirely preventable death, and at the plight of those individuals who remain detained, despite their now suffering a second round of infections.
AOHR UK demands that the Bahraini regime immediately release all political prisoners.