BCHR Calls for Urgent Medical Care for Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja to Prevent his Vision Loss
2017-03-24 - 1:13 am
Bahrain Mirror: The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) issued an urgent appeal saying it "is highly concerned about the deterioration in Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja's health. Al-Khawaja requires urgent access to a specialized medical professional for an eye examination to prevent lasting loss of vision and potentially more severe neural complications."
It called on the Bahraini authorities to "allow Al-Khawaja to receive urgent and comprehensive medical care in order to prevent him suffering from blindness, and severe neural complications, without being subjected to an invasive, degrading, and unnecessary strip search."
The BCHR also demanded the authorities to "allow access to access medical care, in a timely manner, to all individuals currently detained", and "allow minimal facilities and basic hygiene items for detainees, in accordance with the basic principles on the treatment of prisoners."
According to updates received from his family, in the past three weeks Al-Khawaja has developed problems in his right eye. He has complained about complete vision loss during daylight hours and of headaches on the right side of his head and behind his right eye.
His family has consulted an ophthalmologist in Norway, who concluded that, from the description of the symptoms, Al-Khawaja "is experiencing temporary loss of vision due to disturbances of blood supply to his eye (amaurosis fugax)." The specialist said warned that more severe symptoms might happen and can cause lasting loss of vision in the eye or even cerebral strokes
The prison authorities have canceled his medical appointment and informed Al-Khawaja they would take him to an eye doctor if he agrees to a full strip search, which he has refused to do, due to the invasive nature of the search.
Prisoners in Jaw are facing severe measures. Meetings between imprisoned fathers and their imprisoned sons have been canceled, as have visits by higher officers, whilst letters of complaint and requests are no longer answered. When walking outside their cells, prisoners are handcuffed and chained from their wrists to their ankles, the BCHR added in its report.
Since 20 March prisoners have testified that inmates are being denied access to paper and pencils in order to prevent them from writing, and that they have been denied access to tissue or toilet paper.
The center also added, "The degrading and dehumanizing treatment of prisoners following the execution of the three individuals on 15 January 2017 violates basic principles on the treatment of prisoners."
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