Officer Mocks Detainee Mahmoud Al-Aradi: "Why do You Want to See Your Parents When You Can't See"
2015-07-16 - 3:14 p
Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): "Why do You Want to See Your Parents When You Can't See", this is what a Bahraini police officer mockingly said to detainee Mahmoud Abdullah Al-Aradi (21 years old) when he asked to see his parents after he lost his eyesight because of deliberate medical malpractice by the Jaw Prison administration, especially after the March 10 events. He suffered from severe dry eye syndrome which caused his eyelashes to fall off. His condition deteriorated after persistent negligence leading to the loss of his eyesight and even making him unable to open his eyes. A gauze remained wrapped around his head at all times. He is now incapable of moving without the help and directions of his cellmates.
Al-Aradi was arrested in October 2014. In their last visit on June 23, 2015, his family saw him in a painful and alarming emotional and physical condition. "Mahmoud was incapable of opening his eyes. We were unable to see his iris because his eyes were rolled back in his head. He couldn't see anything. After five months of negligence, Mahmoud is becoming completely blind," said his father.
During our entire interview with Al-Aradi's family, his mother couldn't stop shedding her tears, since the light of her eyes can see light no more: "Mahmoud didn't suffer from any eye problems before entering prison. He didn't suffer from any disease. I was surprised when activist Ibtisam Al-Sayegh told me on February 6, 2015 that my son is complaining about his eyes. I immediately headed to Al-Salmaniya hospital, thinking that he would be receiving medical treatment there, but I was disappointed."
During the only time Mahmoud was taken to the eye clinic in Al-Salmaniya hospital, one of his relatives saw him and called his family. His parents immediately headed to the hospital and were shocked: "I saw my son while he was being taken to the diagnosis room by security officers. I threw myself on him and began to kiss and embrace him as I shed my tears. He wept in my arms as a grieving adult and little child. The security officers prevented me from coming near him. I didn't listen to them at first but then I stood aside fearing that they would hurt him because of me."
His father decided to stand near his son without letting the officers notice him. He stood and watched his son as they examined him and took him back to prison, and then he approached the doctor who was examining him and asked her about his son's condition. She assured him that "the retina hasn't been affected yet, but he suffers from an infection and severe dry eye syndrome which caused his eyelashes to fall off."
That happened before the March 10 events took place, when the security forces that raided the prison deliberately threw his medicines in the trash. Thus Mahmoud had neither treatment nor medicine. The gauze wrapped on his eyes turned from white to black after it remained on his eyes for two months without being changed. It was no use urging the Jordanian police officers to give him his special medication and change the gauze, which was infested with dust and dirt, and worsened the infection in his eye instead of protecting it.
The Jordanian police who took over Jaw Prison after the March events were creative in torturing him. "My back was like a colorful butterfly due to torture," Al-Aradi said to his family. The Jordanian police deliberately tortured him on his most painful part, on his infected eye. They throw stones at him, as they thought that he was injured while attempting to plant a bomb over which he was arrested. All his attempts failed to convince them that his eyes became infected in prison and that he was well when he was arrested.
In May 2015, Al-Aradi was amongst the prisoners who were transferred to Dry Dock Prison, where a doctor examined him and reported that his condition was an emergency that required him to be admitted to Al-Salmaniya hospital. However, it is not possible to admit him to the hospital without the Jaw Prison Administration's permission which doesn't allow patients to be taken to the hospital even though some of them have serious health conditions.
Al-Aradi's family filed a complaint (number 15123-02) to the general secretariat of the Ombudsman office after the Jaw Prison authority refused to have him continue his medical treatment and didn't commit to hospital appointments. The office promised his family to look into his case, but nothing happened, and after the Jaw Prison events, it became even more difficult to follow up his case as prisoners were denied treatment, phone calls and visitation.
Mahmoud Al-Aradi is no different from other targeted Bahraini youths deprived of continuing their education. He was imprisoned in 2010 over charges of setting an electricity generator on fire. He was a 16-year-old child at the time. He was sentenced to three years in prison but only served seven months as he was released along with other prisoners during the February 2011 events. He; however, didn't stay outside prison for long. After the Peninsula Shield Force entered Bahrain and raided the Pearl (LuLua) Roundabout, all the previous detainees were taken back to prison along with hundreds who were outside prison. Mahmoud was arrested several times on charges of protesting and rioting, so he was forced to hide out for two years, before he was apprehended in an intelligence ambush from his sister's house in October 2014. He was in good health when he was detained, but now he has lost sight in his eye and if nothing is to be done, he will lose his eyesight forever.
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