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Bahrain Embassy in London Replies to "Daily Mail" Report: Mariam Al-Bardoli "High-Regarded Professional Woman"

2019-03-23 - 8:35 p

Bahrain Mirror: The Bahrain Embassy in London described what came in the British Daily Mail newspaper on director of Isa Town jail in Bahrain Lieutenant colonel Mariam Al-Bardoli as false claims and requested that the article be removed and an apology issued.

The embassy considered in a statement it issued in English language on its Twitter account that the statement of Liberal Democrat peer Lord Scriven is wholly false allegations.

It also said that the British newspaper didn't attempt to call the embassy for comment.

Lord Scriven has called, via the Daily Mail newspaper, to sack woman prison boss Lientenant Colonel Mariam Al-Bardoli, stressing that she is responsible for "degrading, cruel and humiliating treatment of prisoners" at the country's Isa Town jail, including Hajar Mansour, mother-in-law of Al-Wadaei.

The "Daily Mail" newspaper said that Al-Bardoli is dubbed the "Beast of Bahrain".

The question of treatment of Hajar Mansour has been raised on 17 September 2018 by her son-in-law, Sayed Al-Wadaei, with the Ombudsman's office in Bahrain.

In this instance, the Ombudsman conducted a full and thorough investigation, the results of which were sent to Al-Wadaei and to Lord Scriven on 18 October 2018. Both Al-Wadaei and Lord Scriven sent responses to the Ombudsman commenting on the findings.

These results were never acknowledged and clearly completely disregarded in statement made by these two individuals. The Bahraini embassy in London published photos for communications which made the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, headed by Sayed Ahmed Al-Wadaei, issue a statement accusing the Ombudsman of breaching privacy and confidentiality related to victim abuse in Bahraini prisons.

The embassy considered that it is very regrettable that Lord Scriven has chosen to ignore information given to him that directly address his concerns.

The complaint by Al-Wadaei raised a number of issues, mostly importantly the allegation that Mansour had been assaulted and beaten. In investigation the complaint Ombudsman investigators interviewed Mansour and prison personnel, examined the facility record and Mansour's own medical records, secured extensive CCTV camera footage and found no evidence to support these claims.

The investigation into the alleged incident which can be clearly seen on the CCTV footage to have been initiated by the three women, clearly shows that Lieutenant Colonel Mariam Al-Bardoli and the three other policewomen behave in a way that is appropriate at all times. No one is hit or beaten.

The embassy said that not only have Al-Wadaei and Lord Scriven disregarded the Ombudsman's investigation and its findings, they have irresponsibly accused this high-regarded professional woman of heinous acts.

Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy said that the embassy's statement disclosed the email addresses of all those copied in the correspondence, in a gross miscarriage of confidentiality. This is particularly concerning given that the Ombudsman's own policy guarantees "Full confidentiality ... during the investigations and, according to the law, no-one can access or reveal details about them in any way."

The Ombudsman claims to be an "independent secretariat" both financially and administratively from the Bahraini Government. However, sharing private communications with the Bahraini Embassy in London, which primarily represents the interests of the Bahraini state abroad, is at odds with holding the Bahraini authorities to account. Therefore, this incident throws into question the Ombudsman's alleged independence from the Bahraini Government.

Sayed Ahmed Al-Wadaei said: "It was shocking to see my private communications with the Ombudsman...this is a blatant breach of confidentiality and indicative of a bias."

Six UN experts have identified Al-Bardoli as the prison official responsible for the abuses in Isa Town Prison. Instead of independently investigating Al-Bardoli's role, the government has thrown its full weight behind her. "This clearly shows that the reprisals against my mother-in-law are backed by the state" Al-Wadaei said.

Arabic Version