Bahrain: The health of two prominent Bahraini political prisoners concerns the EU Parliament

Today, MEP Ms. Ana Gomes sent a letter addressed to HR/VP Federica Mogherini concerning the case of Hassan Mushaima, a prominent Bahraini activist detained in Jau Prison, whose critical medical conditions have been bypassed by prison guards and officials. Furthermore, Hajer Mansoor Hassan, the mother-in-law of Sayed Ahmed Alwadei, BIRD’s Director of Advocacy, suffers from the same neglected promises by Bahraini officials in Isa Town Prison.

As a matter of fact, authorities are denying legitimate medical care and assistance to the 71-year-old political opposition leader, the secretary-general of the Haq Movement, who suffers from a range of medical needs which require regular attention and treatment. Mr. Mushaima overcame in recent years a lymphoma cancer. As part of the postcritical treatment, he requires continuous check-ups every six months to monitor in case of resurgence of other pathologies.

The disappointment to provide hospital visits is a recurrent feature of Hassan’s mistreatment in Jau Prison.  Mr. Hassan is presently suffering from an ear infection stemming from injuries sustained when he was tortured during an interrogation several years ago. To date, officials have cancelled up to ten of his appointments with a specialist due to his refusal to attend in humiliating shackles.

As for the case of Hajer Mansoor Hassan, she has suffered similar complications when requesting necessary medical care for ongoing health problems. In August 2018, Mrs. Hassan discovered a lump in her breast, and prison officials continued to postpone her appointment till 24 February 2019.  Fortunately, the doctor reassured her that the lump was not cancerous, though he advised her to keep it monitored with further examinations.

To date, Isa Town and Jau Prison’s authorities have failed to provide both prisoners the needed appointments for both medical cases. Mr. Mushaima was forced by officials to present himself shackled and in prison uniform in order to receive his prescription, something which he refused to do. As stated by the Mandela Rules, such restrictions are illegal for being “inherently degrading” for prisoners’ condition, especially if imposed on an elderly individual who poses no evading threat. As for Mrs Hassan’s case, doctors have recently diagnosed her with kidney stones and uterine fibroids. Once again, prison officials have failed to organise follow-up appointments to treat these painful conditions.

Today, MEP Ms. Ana Gomes (S&D) has submitted a letter to highlight Mushaima’s illegal treatment in the eyes of the EU Institutions. As part of its international recognition, the European Union has always pledged its loyalty to human rights issues, a vital source in evolving present and future diplomatic talks with other international counterparts. Although political interests dominate the international agenda, the inhuman and arbitrary treatment enacted by Bahraini authorities must be stopped and re-evaluated once and for all.

The European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR) welcomes the support of MEP Ms. Ana Gomes and the precious endorsement of her colleagues within the EU Parliament. We are deeply saddened to hear that the ongoing ill-treatment of detainees still affects the transparency of Bahrain’s democratic process. In the hope of future improvement, we call for the intervention of HR/VP Federica Mogherini.


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