Bahrain: Political Prisoners

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered on 27th April 2021.

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Photo of Brendan O'Hara Brendan O'Hara Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Inclusive Society), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution), Shadow SNP Deputy Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make representations to his Bahraini counterpart on the Amnesty International report, published on 9 April 2021 on the findings that (a) Jau Prison is severely overcrowded in violation of the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, (b) preventative measures against covid-19 are inadequate with a lack of face masks, hand sanitizer and regular testing,(c) prisoners who tested positive with covid-19 have had their phone calls interrupted and (d) the Bahraini Government has not release updated accurate information of over 70 covid-19 cases in that prison.

Photo of James Cleverly James Cleverly Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

We have regularly discussed the challenge of managing the covid-19 pandemic in prisons with senior members of the Bahraini government. The government has informed us that: health protections have been in place in all facilities since the pandemic began, including routine testing of inmates and prison staff; a choice of vaccines is available to all prisoners, to date 100% of prisoners who have been registered for a vaccine have received it; and that all positive cases among those in custody are currently stable, with full access to medical treatment. We continue to monitor these conditions through our regular contact with the oversight bodies. We also welcome the assurances that all prisoners are eligible for the vaccination, free of charge and in line with WHO guidelines, and that any prisoner who falls ill has the same free access to treatment and care as any other citizen or resident in the Kingdom. We continue to discuss covid-19 in prisons with the Ombudsman, the NIHR (National Institute for Human Rights) and the PDRC (Prisoners and Detainees Rights Commission), which actively monitor the covid-19 situation through inspection visits (NIHR and PDRC) and investigations (Ombudsman) into prison conditions. We would encourage anyone with concerns about medical treatment in prison to get in touch with the oversight bodies directly.

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