Bahrain: 'detainees tortured daily', study says

Country has the highest percentage of inmates across Mideast

11 June, 13:43

    (ANSAmed) - ROME, JUNE 11 - The ordeal of prisoners in Bahrain, the country with the highest percentage of detainees across the entire Middle East, often starts with a police raid in a home or a checkpoint operation which turns into a real abduction, a report published on Wednesday said. The person taken away simply disappears - sometimes for 24 hours or for months, according to the study published by the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR). Those arrested reportedly find themselves ''locked inside a nightmare''.

    In the three years since the beginning of the protest movement in favour of democracy which started in February 2011, the report said, Bahrain's prison population has increased exponentially. BCHR reportedly documented thousands of arbitrary detentions, most of which followed forced disappearances, and a long list of human rights violations, including torture.

    The list of physical and psychological abuses is long and includes brutal beatings, electrical shock, isolation, sleep deprivation, cold air and exposure to sunlight, sexual harassment, fake drownings, humiliation and no medical treatments. ''Authorities seek the censorship of news by all possible means'', the report also noted, explaining, for example, that lawyers denouncing signs of torture on the bodies of their clients are arrested.

    However, testimony provided by hundreds of former inmates and the families of dead prisoners trace a dramatic and inhumane profile of what is going on inside Bahrain's prisons.

    There are four detention centres: the worse, according to those interviewed, is the Central investigative direction (CID).

    The Isa Town Women Prison has for the most part a population of female detainees who are foreign workers and don't speak Arabic nor English and in many cases ignore the reason why they are being detained.

    In general, women represent 18.5% of the total prison population.

    But the saddest chapter, according to the report jointly drafted by BCHR and the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights, is the fate of detained minors. Bahrain's authorities are reportedly keeping minors in unhealthy conditions together with adults, the study said.

    Since January, 70 cases of detained children aged 11 or older have been documented. Some of them have been jailed on terrorism charges, the report said. (ANSAmed)
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