Cancer Hits Jaw Prison: More Inmates Await Cancer Diagnosis

Sayed Kazem Sayed Abbas after losing his eyesight
Sayed Kazem Sayed Abbas after losing his eyesight

2018-09-05 - 3:22 p

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): With the increase of cases of chronic and incurable diseases as well as medical negligence in Bahraini prisons, torture is no longer the biggest of the inmates' worries and their families in Jaw Central Prison, which has turned into something similar to the Bermuda Triangle: those who enter are lost and those who leave are changed people as if born once again.

The truth of the matter is that not all of those who get of Jaw prison are born again. Some of those who leave were already dead and some had become paralyzed as Hussein Al-Qassab, while others emerged from the war of torture to take the cancer fighters title, and many continue to beg prison authorities to allow them to take tests to detect this malignant disease.

Human rights activist Ebtisam Al-Sayegh confirmed that by saying: "There are people who are suspected of having cancer [...] because of the delay in referring them to a specialist doctor for a diagnosis of their condition, we cannot say for sure. Their demands must be met immediately, as any delay would deprive them of a chance for recovery."

Denial of treatment has actually caused the deterioration of the health of former detainee 23-year-old Sayed Kazem Abbas. As the year began, he started to feel serious symptoms, including decreased eyesight, convulsions and inability to breathe, yet no one responded to his repeated demands and appeals from his family.

His mother says that he suffered from those symptom for months. His brother Sayed Hashim, was jailed with him. He continued to tell them that he needed to see a doctor. They referred him to the prison doctor (a non-Bahraini), who gave him panadol (a painkiller) and told him that he did not suffer from anything. "Imagine to what extent of cruelty they have reached," his mother stressed.

Sayed Kazem continued to suffer and his mother continued to make appeals that fell on deaf ears. On July 15, he was transferred to the hospital after suffering from a seizure. The doctor then decided that he needed to undergo an operation to remove liquids in his head that were pressing on his eyes, thus impeding eyesight.

After undergoing surgery, further tests showed Sayed Kazem suffers from cancer. His family was simply informed. The authorities detained him for two weeks before deciding to release him on 31 July. The cancer had reached an advanced stage, the chances of healing were diminished and his vision was completely impaired after another surgery.

His family says treatment is available in five countries according to medical reports. They chose to treat him in America and are waiting for the US embassy to grant him a visa. Until then, Sayed Kazem drowns in darkness after his eyes were full of hope for his future.

"That's a crime. What is frustrating is that there are other inmates who suffer from the same condition and are faced with the same negligence. There are cases that require urgent medical intervention," stressed Al-Sayegh, adding: "Severe weight loss and strange lumps may be symptoms of new cases."

Qambar: More than a year of cancer

In a Turkish hospital, another detainee receives chemotherapy after the authorities decided to release him as his condition deteriorated. Qamber insists on fighting the disease until his last breath. He underwent a successful surgical operation, but he does not yet have a comprehensive report on his condition.

Prior to his arrest in September 2014, Ali Qambar didn't suffer from any disease. He was tortured to confess to the charges raised on the grounds of his political activity, before courts sentenced him to 37 years in prison and he was then transferred to Jaw Central Prison to serve his sentence.

The symptoms of cancer began to appear on Qambar, after he lost a lot of weight and was losing his immunity. Everyone in prison saw how pale his face was, but the prison authorities did not see anything, or in other words, saw everything but to them death is the only right that may be enjoyed by Qamber or any political prisoner.

In April 2017, and after repeated appeals, Qambar underwent tests. It was later announced that he had brain cancer. That news hit his family like a thunderbolt, as this family has already lost another member, his brother Issa Qambar (March 26, 1996) after the Bahraini authorities executed him by a firing squad.

This help him get released to complete his treatment. He remained in prison for more than a year after being diagnosed with the deadly disease, during which he did not receive regular treatment. This has led to a deterioration in his health. His elderly mother did not know of his cancer, but when she saw him (3 July 2017), she said that he He wasn't the same as he went to prison.

Elias Al-Mulla: Left to Die

After Qamber's release, Ahlam Hassan, the mother of inmate Elias Al-Mulla, went to see him at his home. She wanted to check on him and know the point at which her son Elias would be released. "I was suffering and aching as I saw my son's condition get worse everyday, so I was there at the time of Ali Qambar's release," she says sadly.

"I imagined that he (her son) would be released after his health worsened and after he reached a risky stage... My tears burned me. O people, our sons do not have their most basic rights, why are they left to die until they decide to release them?"

"My heart breaks when I see my son slipping from my hand. I endured so much and I am patient, but until when!"she added, stressing that "since (June 21, 2018), the prison administration has not provided the medication for his treatment. If any complications happen to him, I will hold the prison administration responsible."

More than three years have passed since Elias Al-Mulla, 25, was diagnosed with colon cancer, but the judiciary has rejected repeated pleas for his release. The tumor was surgically removed in a military hospital operation after the disease reached the third stage.

Hussein A-Qabandi is an example

"It is true that, according to medical opinions, the torture and harsh conditions prisoners are subjected to cannot be linked to cancer, but according to scientific journals, psychological factors can have a negative effect on the patients," said activist Al-Sayegh.

"Ali Qamber stayed in prison for 4 years and Sayed Kazem Sayed Abbas spent two years and seven months before being released on humanitarian grounds. In addition to Elias Al-Mulla, who spent six years in prison. All of them agree that the conditions they suffered in the torture chambers and later on March 10, 2015 left an impact on their health conditions ".

"They have been deprived of their most basic rights and despite the appearance of symptoms of cancer, this has not helped them receive regular diagnosis and treatment ... Their health conditions were met with stalling until they reached this terrible stage," she added.

Al-Sayegh further expressed concern of "the presence of cases with similar symptoms, who are not allowed treatment despite the apparent deterioration of their health according to their parents, such as Hussein Al-Qabandi, who lost more than half of his weight (...) We are waiting for the time when all the detainees are released, and not only receive treatment."


Arabic Version



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