Political organization

Human rights organization warns of ‘inhumane conditions’ faced by detainees at Bahrain’s Jau prison

An independent human rights organization has warned of “inhumane conditions” at Bahrain’s notorious Jau prison, saying various forms of physical and mental torture and ill-treatment are among the torments prisoners endure in the detention center.

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) said officials at the prison, located south of the capital Manama, have recently stepped up their crackdown and harassment of imprisoned political dissidents, including the human rights defender Abdulhadi al-Khawaja.

Khawaja, the former president and co-founder of BCHR, was arrested and tried on April 9, 2011, as part of a crackdown by Bahraini authorities following pro-democracy protests in the Persian Gulf kingdom.

He was sentenced on June 22 of the same year, along with eight other activists, to life imprisonment.

Khawaja began a series of hunger strikes while serving his life sentence, to protest political conditions in Bahrain.

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights further noted that prisoners of conscience in Jau prison were deemed unfair and sentenced to long prison terms simply for defending their rights and criticizing the regime’s policies in power of Al Khalifah.

He went on to say that the prison authorities recently summoned a number of guards, who used to torture detained activists in the past, to carry out their duties in the prison cells.

This infuriated prisoners, including Khawaja, prompting them to stage protests in a show of strong resentment at the escalating crackdown.

Earlier this month, BCHR censured Bahrain for its crackdown and brutal crackdown on political opponents and democracy advocates, saying the Persian Gulf country has the highest number of political prisoners among Arab states. .

The independent human rights organization said in a report that Bahrain, under the ruling Al Khalifah dynasty, has the highest number of jailed human rights activists, and it is estimated that around 4 500 activists are being held behind bars across the country.

BCHR went on to note that numerous reports published over the past decade have highlighted the deplorable conditions of prisoners in Bahrain’s prisons, prompting the international community and human rights organizations to compel the Al Khalifah regime to relatively improve the conditions of detention.

Demonstrations have taken place regularly in Bahrain since the beginning of the popular uprising in the Arab country in mid-February 2011.

The people are demanding that the Al Khalifah regime relinquish power and allow the establishment of a just system representing all Bahrainis.

Manama, however, has gone to great lengths to suppress any form of dissent.