PRESS RELEASE: Virtual panel: Slowly Dying in Bahraini prisons: a call for urgent action

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If you would like to watch the full event, you can do so here: Slowly Dying in Bahraini prisons: a call for urgent action

8 December, 2021: The European Center for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR) co-hosted a high-level virtual event titled ‘Slowly Dying in Bahraini prisons: a call for urgent action’ in solidarity with imprisoned opposition leader Hassan Mushaima and academic Dr. Abduljalil AlSingace, who suffer from multiple health problems, but are being denied proper health care.

To uncover the truth about the gross human rights violations currently happening in Bahrain and to emphasize the urgency of the situation, the event hosted three Bahraini political activists: Ali Mushaima, Yusuf Al Hoori, and Dr. Saeed AlShehabi.

As such the speakers aimed to raise as much awareness as possible on the poor situation of Bahraini political prisoners and to highlight the cases of ill-treatment and willful medical negligence and all other human rights abuses perpetrated by the prison guards. The panelists also had an opportunity to address the international community, in particular, the European Union and the UK. They urged them to raise issues of human rights violations in Bahrain and to exercise unique political and international pressure on Bahraini authorities to take steps towards democratic reform, to put an end to its repressive stance on human rights, and to immediately release all political prisoners, who are merely speaking their minds and demanding their rights.

In this context, Ali Mushaima, a Bahraini political activist and the son of the jailed Bahraini opposition leader, Hassan Mushaima, started by giving a few words on the hunger strike he began two weeks ago outside the Bahraini Embassy in London in solidarity with his father and Al-Singace. Ali also shared the latest updates on political prisoners: he first reminded us that Hassan Mushaima and Dr. Al Singace have been (and still are) systematically subjected to torture, including beatings, insults, forced standing, and exposure to extreme cold and then he stressed that they are currently experiencing a sudden deterioration in health because the Jau Prison administration continues to deny them adequate healthcare.

Bahraini activist at the Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain, Yusuf Al Hoori, highlighted the most pressing issues in terms of human rights in Bahrain. He further underlined the urgency of the situation and urged everyone to act as soon as possible, before it is too late. Mr. Al Hoori also highlighted the case of AlSingace and explained why he started his hunger strike.

Dr. Saeed Al-Shehabi, a Bahraini prominent human rights defender, journalist, and commentator started his speech by criticizing the European Union and the UK for prioritizing its economic relations with Bahrain and not doing enough to stop human rights abuses in this country. He further explained how the international community should respond to gross and systematic violations of human rights in Bahrain in order to have a positive effect. 

During the panel discussion, questions from the audience were raised and focused on how best to address the human rights violations in Bahrain, and how to influence any potential change for the better. 

In their closing remarks, the moderators called for urgent actions by the Parliaments, the European Parliament, and the Civil Society to put pressure on the Bahraini government and thanked the panelists for being a voice for those who may otherwise be silenced.