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Amnesty Int'l, 9 Other Org. Accuse NIHR of Whitewashing Violations after Reading its Statement about "Hasan Mushaima"

Ali Mushaima
Ali Mushaima

2018-08-22 - 10:05 am

Bahrain Mirror: 10 human rights organizations, including Amnesty International and Index on Censorship, issued a statement in which they said that the Bahraini human rights mechanisms have largely failed to properly address concerns raised on behalf of Hassan Mushaima, stressing that "his life remains at risk".

In an appeal they launched on Monday (August 20, 2018), the organizations called on Bahrain to provide medical care to Hasan Mushaima and all prisoners of conscience.

They stated "We in the international human rights community call on the Bahraini government to establish truly independent and credible human rights mechanisms that are fully empowered to carry out their mandates and appropriately address human rights violations and abuses."

"We also call on the Bahraini authorities to lift illegal restrictions on prisoners, provide Mushaima and other prisoners of conscience with adequate medical care, and ultimately ensure his release," they added in their appeal.

In addition to Amnesty International and Index on Censorship, each of Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB), ARTICLE 19, Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), European Center for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR), Global Rights Watch, Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), PEN International and Rafto Foundation for Human Rights signed the appeal.

The organizations said "as Hassan Mushaima, a septuagenarian prisoner of conscience serving a life sentence in Bahrain, continues to face illegal restrictions on his access to medical care, international NGOs call for full and unrestricted access to medical care in detention for all prisoners of conscience."

They further stated "Our organizations raise deep concerns regarding the inefficacy of Bahrain's human rights mechanisms in addressing Mushaima's condition," adding that "on 7 August, Bahrain's National Institution for Human Rights (NIHR) released a statement regarding the health conditions of Hasan Mushaima, yet this statement was made without any direct investigation of his condition or consultation with him in prison."

The statement considered that this appears "to be yet another effort to whitewash human rights abuses perpetrated against Mushaima and other prisoners of conscience." "Through these actions, these human rights bodies have demonstrated a clear lack of independence and have failed to effectively seek accountability or to act in the best interest of victims."

In July 2018, international organizations expressed fears regarding these independent institutions. The UN Human Rights Committee found that Bahrain is failing to meet its treaty obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Additionally, the UN Committee against Torture in its 2017 State Review of Bahrain, as well as the European Parliament in an urgency resolution earlier this summer, expressed further alarm over the partiality and inefficacy of the NIHR.

Ali Mushaima, son of political detainee Hasan Mushaima, has launched a hunger strike on the onset of August in front of the Bahraini Embassy in London, demanding providing needed health care to his father, allowing him family visits and returning him his books, which the prison administration confiscated from him and other prisoners of conscience.

The organizations pointed out in their statement to the many forms of ill-treatment which Mushaima and other high profile prisoners of conscience, including Abduljalil Al-Singace and Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, are facing and which include to be strip-searched, chained, shackled, and marched to medical facilities if they want to attend medical appointments.

The statement read "This treatment is therefore interpreted by the prisoners, and by our organizations, to be both arbitrary and punitive, with the intention to humiliate and degrade prisoners of conscience. Such treatment contravenes the United Nations (UN) Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, also known as the Mandela Rules."

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