Call to the International Community: Rescue Prisoners in Bahrain

SALAM is following with serious concern the violations occurring in Bahrain’s prisons, in particular the Jaw prison crisis. From point of writing, hundreds of violations have occurred against prisoners and their families, with human rights organisations presenting the case to Bahrain’s Ombudsman office. Since the events that unfolded at Jaw prison on 10 March 2015, prisoners’ families have faced continuous repercussions.
The authorities have used brutal and violent force, as well as tear-gassing the prison complex indiscriminately. Many photos have surfaced displaying horrific injuries on the bodies of prisoners, and many have reportedly experienced severe suffocation. There are witness reports stating that the security forces are present in large numbers, with senior officials involved in the physical violations and slandering of over 1000 prisoners – many of the insults directed at their religious beliefs. After this, all news has been cut off in regards to the prisoners’ fates, with families and visitors barred from visiting the prison complex or contacting the inmates.
Bahrain SALAM for Human Rights – at time of writing – issues an urgent call to all that can help, with over 3000 prisoners in Bahrain facing torture and degrading treatment. This issue touches on all aspects of Bahrain’s small and interconnected community, making the issue of Jaw prison a significant danger for the country.
Regarding another aspect, Bahrain SALAM for Human Rights has closely followed the activities of the Ombudsman office and has found that there is a lack of concern from the office regarding the situation in Jaw prison – especially considering the indifference of the Ombudsman’s latest statement on the issue. The Ombudsman needs to ensure the violations stop, open channels of communication with prisoners, as well as commence a case to present the abusers to the judiciary. There needs to be an endeavour to find long-term solutions and preventative methods to stop such a crime from ever happening again. Unfortunately, the Ombudsman office has adopted the rhetoric of the Bahraini authorities, casting doubts over its neutrality.
Bahrain SALAM for Human Rights urges the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to urgently form an international commission of neutral experts to open a field investigation into the Jaw prison crisis, and call on the international Red Cross to send a delegation of medical health care professionals to assist more than 1000 injured prisoners. In addition, for the international community to allow those involved in the Jaw prison crime, torture and other violations to be tried in an international court.