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Bahrainís PDRC Ignores Jaw Prison Incidents in its Press Conference

2015-05-21 - 2:19 am

Bahrain Mirror: During a press conference, held on Wednesday (May 13, 2015), Chairman of the Prisoners and Detainees Rights Commission (PDRC), Nawaf Al- Moawda, spoke of the commission's achievements. The conference, held in the commission headquarters in the Al-Seef distric; however, made no mention of Jaw prison, where prisoners are being subject to the worst forms of torture and degrading treatment. Al-Moawda only stated that the commission sent teams who paid surprise visits to provincial police and investigation directorates and the Women's Detention Centre and the Juveniles Care Centre. Al-Moawda also talked about the remarks and recommendations which he referred to the Ministry of Interior which, for its part, accepted them and developed a mechanism for their implementation. Yet, he again made no mention of Jaw Prison and the horrific events that took place there.

Al-Moawda announced that members of the Commission "carried out unannounced visits to the four Governorate Police Directorates and to the General Directorate of Criminal Investigation and Evidence Department; in addition to visits to the Reform and Rehabilitation Centre for Women, the Women's Detention Centre and the Juveniles Care Centre."

Al-Moawda also declared that "the commission published five reports regarding these visits, including the recommendations, which it submitted to the Ministry of Interior, and that the ministry accepted the recommendations and a committee was formed to implement these recommendations."

Al-Moawda indicated that the visits carried out by the commission are part of its efforts to support human rights by inspecting prisons and detention centers in the light of its competence and capacity stipulated by decree 61 for 2013.

Al-Moawda highlighted that during the visits "the condition of centers, living standards and health conditions of the detainees were looked into, in addition to the guarantees and rights, they're given, according to the principles, criteria and indicators the commission follows."

The chairman of the Commission also dealt in detail with the procedures taken by the Commission in its unannounced inspection visits to the four Governorate Police Directorates and to the General Directorate of Criminal Investigation and Evidence Department, which took place on Wednesday and Thursday (December 24, 25 of 2014). The visits were conducted over two stages. According to the decision of the Board of Commissioners, the members were divided into five teams to conduct simultaneous visits to the selected centers. On the first day, the teams interviewed a randomly selected sample of detainees who have been transferred from the Directorate General of Police and CID after the end of their detention (48-hour), and presented before the public prosecution.

Thus, they were present during the time of the visit in the Dry Dock Detention Center. The PDRC teams were keen to have a diverse sample so that they represent various categories. They interviewed detainees aged between 15 and 18, and a number of Bahrainis and foreigners.

"On the following day, the selected centers were visited by the PDRC teams for inspection and to collect evidence and records to review the followed administrative procedures. Direct interviews were conducted with employees and senior staff to evaluate its compliance with the principles and criteria," Al-Moawda added.

The Chairman of PDRC also talked about the most important observations raised by PDRC teams during their inspection visits and stated that the observations relate to three main principles: "humane treatment and place conditions, rights and guarantees, and health care," indicating that the centers differed from one another, and that the PDRC teams recorded that some observations, in general, were repeated in more than one place, for instance:

- CCTV cameras were installed in interrogation rooms and in some facilities, but do not cover the entire place.

- There was no separate waiting hall for female prisoners, noting that they are not detained in these facilities but transferred to the women's detention center.

- The staff is trained in general to use legal force when necessary, but there are no special courses for training the staff to use legal force inside the facility. The legal use of force and its results are not documented in personal records of detainees.

- Lack of written procedures specifying how detainees should be searched.

- Lack of a mechanism to deliver copies of manuals stating the legal rights and guarantees of every detainee.

- Presence of an oral mechanism for filing complaints yet a lack of written procedures that define steps and means to file complaints, how to deal with them and inform the complainant about the outcome.

- Lack of a mechanism to provide and preserve the essential medications and first aid kits, distribute and dispose of them.

Al-Moawda added that the PDRC had previously prepared draft reports including recommendations and submitted them to the Ministry of Interior which has accepted the findings, and that a committee was formed to develop a mechanism for their implementation.

The following are the most significant recommendations:

- Written procedures and measures specifying the path the detainee, or anyone who is summoned, takes inside the facility from the time of his arrival until his departure should be put in place, noting that the surveillance cameras should be installed to cover all the facilities.

- Written measures should be put in place to specify how and under what circumstances should the detainee be searched with the provision of proper training for the staff.

- Procedures for the legal use of force inside the facility should be established with the provision of proper training for the staff in addition to documenting its use in the detainee's personal record.

- Procedures should be established for handcuffing detainees and documented after risks are assessed, in addition to ensuring that the staff receives training.

- Procedures should be established to guarantee providing detainees written manuals stating their rights in different languages.

- Procedures should be established to ensure detainees can contact their lawyers and families during their detention and when they are transferred.

The Arabic Issue 


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