Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
License needed for work use Register

World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Bahrain: Punitive Measures Against Detainee Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja May Amount To Slow Killing

Geneva – The situation of Bahraini prisoner of conscience Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja has dramatically worsened since the prison administration imposed a series of punitive measures against him, including denying him contact with his family last week, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor said in a statement expressing grave concern.

Last February, the administration at Bahrain's Juw Prison prevented Al-Khawaja from receiving health care, including medical appointments to follow up on the condition of his right eye, as he may have glaucoma—a disease that can cause blindness, particularly if left untreated. It is important to note that he is being deprived of treatment he’d been receiving to specifically counter the effects of torture he was subjected to in prison.

According to his daughter Maryam Al-Khawaja, Bahraini authorities have continued to apply punitive measures against the detainee. Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja informed his family during their most recent phone call on March 30 that “he will no longer be allowed to make calls”. His daughter believes that her father is being subjected to these measures on the basis that he chanted slogans supporting the Palestinians and denouncing Israeli policies in the prison yard last February. Euro-Med Monitor was unable to verify these allegations.

The isolation of Al-Khawaja from the outside world and the deliberate neglect to provide him with necessary medical care may indicate nefarious intentions that could amount to a slow killing. Al-Khawaja suffers from several diseases, and the threat of aggravation should raise an alarm, as complications could put his life in imminent danger. Cutting off contact with the outside world ensures that his physical and psychological health status will be concealed, and enables authorities to uphold this disgraceful policy.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

In April 2011, Bahraini authorities arrested Al-Khawaja in a violent manner, causing him facial fractures and the temporary loss of consciousness, and subjecting him to further physical torture inside the prison that caused spinal problems and the deterioration of vision in his right eye. In June 2011, a military court sentenced him to life imprisonment for his legal activities and participation in the popular protests that took place across the country.

Since his arrest, Al-Khawaja’s health has rapidly deteriorated as a result of torture—a seemingly deliberate policy of medical neglect, as Juw Prison’s administration consistently delays or cancels his medical appointments, even the most urgent ones, and refuses him access to copies of his medical records. In some instances, they keep him from receiving medical supplies to relieve his pain, and he is unable to sleep normally due to the severity of multiple injuries all over his body.

The case of Al-Khawaja is one example of the massive human rights violations being committed inside Bahrain’s prisons, particularly its Juw Prison. In April 2021, political prisoner Abbas Malallah died at Juw Prison due to medical negligence, according to local human rights lawyers. In the same month, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) expressed its dismay at “the use of unnecessary and disproportionate force by police special forces to dismantle a peaceful sit-in at [Juw] Prison”, and called for an immediate “thorough and effective investigation into the violent repression of the sit-in”.

Bahraini authorities should provide medical care to the detainee Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja immediately and without delay, and enable him to exercise all his rights, especially the right to contact his family, and to obtain access to his medical records, which is necessary if he is to receive proper medical care and highly appropriate given his vulnerable state.

Euro-Med Monitor calls on the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the issue of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to conduct a fact-finding visit to the Kingdom of Bahrain, to witness the violations that prisoners of conscience are subjected to in prisons, and to submit a report to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly of the United Nations in order to put pressure on Bahraini authorities to stop these violations.

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
World Headlines

UN News: Aid Access Is Key Priority

Among the key issues facing diplomats is securing the release of a reported 199 Israeli hostages, seized during the Hamas raid. “History is watching,” says Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths. “This war was started by taking those hostages. Of course, there's a history between Palestinian people and the Israeli people, and I'm not denying any of that. But that act alone lit a fire, which can only be put out with the release of those hostages.” More

Save The Children: Four Earthquakes In a Week Leave Thousands Homeless

Families in western Afghanistan are reeling after a fourth earthquake hit Herat Province, crumbling buildings and forcing people to flee once again, with thousands now living in tents exposed to fierce winds and dust storms. The latest 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit 30 km outside of Herat on Sunday, shattering communities still reeling from strong and shallow aftershocks. More

UN News: Nowhere To Go In Gaza

UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said some 1.1M people would be expected to leave northern Gaza and that such a movement would be “impossible” without devastating humanitarian consequences and appeals for the order to be rescinded. The WHO joined the call for Israel to rescind the relocation order, which amounted to a “death sentence” for many. More

Access Now: Telecom Blackout In Gaza An Attack On Human Rights

By October 10, reports indicated that fixed-line internet, mobile data, SMS, telephone, and TV networks are all seriously compromised. With significant and increasing damage to the electrical grid, orders by the Israeli Ministry of Energy to stop supplying electricity and the last remaining power station now out of fuel, many are no longer able to charge devices that are essential to communicate and access information. More


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.