Bahrain: Former MEP José Inácio Faria (PPE) has issued a parliamentary question on the critical condition of Hassan Mushaima

On 18 April 2019, former MEP José Inácio Faria (PPE) has addressed the case of Hassan Mushaima, founding member of Al Wefaq arrested in March 2011 during the Bahraini uprising, in a parliamentary question to the European Commission and the VP/HR Federica Mogherini.

Mr. Faria presented the case of Hassan Mushaima, by highlighting his involvement in the peaceful protests in 2011, his activism with the “Bahrain Thirteen”, namely a group of thirteen leading figures who have been arrested in connection with their position during the Arab Spring in Bahrain. Mr. Faria has stated that Hassan Mushaima has been sentenced to life imprisonment and that during the detention he has “endured torture and degrading treatment. He is 71 years old, a lymphoma cancer survivor and also suffers from an acute form of diabetes, prostate issues and an ear infection.”

In light of these observations, Mr. Faria has asked the following questions to the European Commission and the VP/HR Federica Mogherini:

  1. Is the EU aware of Mr Mushaima’s health condition?
  2. Has it taken steps to ensure that Mr Hushaima receives the medical treatment he needs and of which the Bahraini officials have deprived him?
  3. Has it taken action and called for the release of Hassan Mushaima, given the fact that he is a prisoner of conscience?

In a reply to Mr. Faria’s parliamentary question, HR/VP Federica Mogherini has asserted that the European Union has been following the case of Hassan Mushaima and other individual cases through the Delegation in Riyadh, which is also accredited to Bahrain, “acting in concert with EU Member States represented in Manama.” Ms. Mogherini has also pointed out that the European Union has been monitoring the overall deterioration of human rights in Bahrain, including the case of the dissolved Al Wefaq political society, calling upon the government of Bahrain to fulfil “ its international and national human rights obligations, including guaranteeing the right to a fair trial, in the interest of the long term stability of the country and its citizens.

The European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR) welcomes the parliamentary question issued by former MEP José Inácio Faria (PPE). We are pleased to acknowledge that the European Commission has been following the case of Hassan Mushaima and more in general the despicable human rights situation in Bahrain. We call upon the European institutions to put more and more pressure to the government of Bahrain. The Kingdom must immediately release Hassan Mushaima and all the prisoners who have been unlawfully convicted.

Please, find below a full copy of the parliamentary question.

Question for written answer E-002006-19 to the Commission (Vice-President/High Representative) submitted by MEP José Inácio Faria (PPE)

Hassan Mushaima is a founding member of the dissolved political party, Al-Wefaq, in Bahrain. He was arrested in March 2011 on account of his political activity alongside 12 other opposition leaders, known as the ‘Bahrain Thirteen’. In June 2011, after the group was subjected to torture, it was unlawfully convicted by a military court and sentenced to life imprisonment. 

During the detention period, Mr Mushaima endured torture and degrading treatment. He is 71 years old, a lymphoma cancer survivor and also suffers from an acute form of diabetes, prostate issues and an ear infection — a complication stemmed from the consequences of an operation he undertook years ago due to a previous episode of torture he suffered. 

In August 2018, his son, Ali Mushaima, launched a 63 day-long protest outside the Bahraini Embassy in London, including 46 days of hunger strike, to demand for more human treatment for his father. 

  1. Is the EU aware of Mr Mushaima’s health condition?
  2. Has it taken steps to ensure that Mr Hushaima receives the medical treatment he needs and of which the Bahraini officials have deprived him?
  3. Has it taken action and called for the release of Hassan Mushaima, given the fact that he is a prisoner of conscience?

Answer given by High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini. Question reference:  E-002006/2019

The European Union, through its Delegation in Riyadh (which is also accredited to Bahrain) is monitoring the case of Hassan Mushaima and other individual cases as well as the overall human rights situation in Bahrain, acting in concert with EU Member States represented in Manama.

The EU has raised Mr Mushaima’s case with the Bahraini authorities, including most recently with the National Institute of Human Rights (NIHR), also inquiring about his health condition. We will continue to monitor the case, liaising as appropriate with the authorities in Manama and using all available means to further address the deteriorating human rights situation in the country.

In this regard, at the informal EU-Bahrain Human Rights dialogue on 15 May 2018 in Manama, the EU continued to raise all issues pertaining to fair trial, prison conditions (including the need to ensure adequate medical treatment for prisoners) and the overall human rights situation in the country. Furthermore, at the recent 40th session of the UN Human Rights Council in March 2019 in Geneva, the EU reiterated its overall concerns regarding the human rights situation in Bahrain, including the right to a fair trial and threats posed by the politicisation of the judiciary. 

Finally the EU has followed closely the sentencing of senior members of the dissolved Al Wefaq political society and has on several occasions since 2014 publicly expressed its concerns over the increasingly limited political space in Bahrain, including for non-violent political opposition. Most recently, in the statements by the High Representative/Vice-President Spokesperson on 5 November 2018(1) and 28 January 2019(2), the EU again expressed its expectation that these sentences would be reconsidered and that Bahrain fulfils its international and national human rights obligations, including guaranteeing the right to a fair trial, in the interest of the long term stability of the country and its citizens.

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