"Human Rights Watch" Publishes the Bahraini Inmates' Stories: This is What Happened in Jaw Prison

2015-05-08 - 7:31 p

Bahrain Mirror: Human Rights Watch published on Wednesday, May 6, 2015 the stories of Bahraini inmates in Jaw Central Prison who were recently released. The stories tackled the incidents that sparked inside the prison in March 10, 2015 and that were as follows:  

"Riot police led an operation that afternoon to retake control of the four buildings, firing teargas and sound grenades at inmates of building 3 who had spilled into the open area outside the building, a former prisoner who had been held in that building said. He said riot police forced the inmates back inside, then fired teargas into the corridors, despite the enclosed space, apparently to force prisoners into their cells. Then the police entered the building and cleared the cells one by one."

"The former prisoner said that a building 3 inmate using a smuggled mobile phone had taken at least five photos that subsequently circulated on social media, including three showing injuries sustained by inmates apparently as a result of being struck by sound grenades or teargas canisters fired by police on March 10. Another shows a cloud of gas at the entrance to a prison door that has been bound with a fire hose to keep riot police from entering, supporting the claim that riot police fired teargas into the corridors," the report added.

HRW's report mentioned, "Two former inmates of building 4 separately described a similar pattern. They said that riot police used teargas to clear inmates from the open areas outside their buildings, then fired teargas into corridors to force inmates into their cells. One also alleged that riot police fired at least three rounds of birdshot into the cellblock corridor, seriously injuring one prisoner in the thigh. He said that riot police then entered the cellblock, dragged prisoners from their cells, and beat them in the corridor."  "As soon as I left the room the beating came from all sides," he said, adding that he was beaten for what seemed like five minutes by three or more officers. "One of the former prisoners from building 4 said that before the riot police entered the building, some inmates had beaten two prison staff unconscious and left them in the shower area."

All three former prisoners said that after riot police regained control of buildings 3 and 4, they forced the inmates to pass through a human corridor of officers who beat them with helmets, sticks, and even broken table legs into separate open areas outside each of the two prison buildings. All three said they had been beaten in that way.

One former prisoner from building 4 said that prison authorities kept him and other inmates in an open area outside the building for at least three weeks, in tents erected several days after the unrest. He said that on March 25, prison authorities ordered inmates to leave one tent, five at a time, saying that a phone had been smuggled in, and made them strip to their underwear, stand for over an hour with their hands raised above their heads, and walk on their haunches in a circle while dousing them with cold water. Then, he said, officers made the inmates do exercises while chanting "A'ash a'ash ‘bu Salman" - an expression of support for Bahrain's king.

The former prisoner from building 3 told Human Rights Watch that prison authorities held him and other inmates from that building in the open for three days and nights surrounded by scores of riot police who forced them to crouch, stand, or dance, before erecting a tent for them. He said the police repeatedly beat "A'ash a'ash ‘bu Salman." He said that officers forced some inmates to put their shoes in their mouths or shaved their heads. He said that he was injured on March 10, but received no medical attention before he was released from the prison weeks later.

One former prisoner said he was among a group of inmates that the prison authorities ordered taken to building 10 after the unrest, some of whom the authorities accused of having "encouraged" the strike. He said that on March 16 or 17, the day after their transfer to building 10, riot police officers beat him and two other inmates from his ward in the toilet room, where there are no cameras. Officers repeatedly beat inmates in the toilet room and administration rooms, which also have no cameras, he said, and treated one inmate, Naji Fateel, "like an animal." Fateel was among as many as 80 inmates who had not made contact with their families by early April, Human Rights Watch had reported. He was finally allowed to call his family on April 12.

A family member of Jaffar Aoun, another who had not been allowed to contact his family, said that Aoun made a two-minute phone call to them on April 4, and told them he had been moved from building 4 to building 10, and that he had a dislocated shoulder and knee and back injuries. He did not say how he was injured or whether he had received any medical treatment.

HRW ended its report saying, "Ahmed Mushaima has not contacted his family. Besides, Abduljalil Al-Singace, who is held on politically motivated grounds, has been Al-Qala'a hospital since April 1 after going on hunger strike on March 21. His family told Human Rights Watch that that the hunger strike was to protest the mistreatment of Jaw detainees after the March 10 unrest. Al-Singace told the family member that prisoners in buildings 1, 3, and 6 were forced to stay outside in tents, that prisoners have been forced to sing pro-government slogans, and that inmates in building 10, whom prison authorities deem responsible for the unrest, have been repeatedly beaten. He also said that since the unrest began, the 13 high-profile prisoners held on politically motivated grounds, who are kept apart from the rest of the prison population in building 7, have been made to wear the grey uniforms of criminal convicts."

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