15 Political Prisoners in Isolation Building Start Open Hunger Strike

2019-08-16 - 11:41 p

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): 15 political prisoners started on Thursday (August 15, 2019) an open hunger strike after two full years of systematic isolation in Jaw Prison. What is this isolation prison?

It is not solitary confinement, since one is imprisoned along with other inmates who don't share with one another a language, religion, traditions or culture. They are also not imprisoned over the same case or charges. The prisoner has nothing in common with the others and cannot talk to them about a matter that concerns him. It is a form of isolation through which one lives in existential alienation- a sense of alienation from language, religion, culture, customs, interests and orientations, then one's ability to speak or think fades away. It is a form of isolation that the Bahraini authorities are keen to subject the prisoners whom they want to take retaliate against to. They have practiced this against prominent Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab.

It is a scornful isolation. The authorities want to hurt the prisoners psychologically and mentally. It allows the authorities and prison administration to cover what they are doing in front of human rights organizations, claiming that the prisoner is not in prison alone, but with others. However, they tell the prisoners that they are in fact isolated by the will of the prison administration.

This is how the 15 prisoners decided to speak out about their suffering with isolation. Prisoner Hasan Al-Ghsara spoke on behalf of the inmates days before announcing the strike through a letter he leaked from the prison in which he complained about the tight security restrictions and discrimination from the rest of the prisoners. He described the harsh conditions in which they have been living in for two years, before they announced their open hunger strike today in protest against the deteriorating situation they are living in, in order to adjust their situation like the rest of the prisoners.

The following is the whole letter leaked by prisoner Hasan Al-Ghasra, because of the eloquent description of the plight of systematic isolation. He announced in the letter the date of launching the strike until the administration of Jaw prison resolves their crisis.

"In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

As a result of the harsh conditions we suffer in prison, particularly the denial of basic rights guaranteed in accordance with international and local laws, which are constantly violated and specifically two years ago, where we have been placed under the strict security restriction in private rooms without giving realistic reasons for that, we suffer from clear discrimination. We are not treated unlike the rest of the prisoners. We have been placed in rooms where we are prevented from freely practicing out religious rituals, especially collective rituals, such as group prayers, solace and dua'a. We are placed in rooms with non-Muslim or non-Arabs detainees, who don't share our same customs and traditions, which makes us in real isolation even if we share the same cell prison with others. This is done deliberately by the prison administration as they always tell us that we are in isolation rooms. They, however, claim in front of the human rights organizations that we are not in isolation, as we are found with other detainees in the same prison cell.

On the other hand, there is an ongoing monitoring process even on our legally guaranteed privacy. They put among us informants who monitor our movements. We are disturbed and harassed in communication and sun hours, which constitutes psychological torture for us.

Therefore, we demand that the prison administration to give us our legally guaranteed rights by taking us out from the current situation and the circumstances surrounding us and integrating us in rooms according to our classification applicable in the prison like the rest of the prisoners, and giving us our full right to practice our collective religious rituals freely in a safe atmosphere, and therefore we call on the concerned parties to respond to this humanitarian requirement.

Thus, we decided, in case of not taking our demands in consideration, to launch an open hunger strike starting (August 15) against these deteriorating conditions. We also demand the concerned human rights organization to do their humanitarian duty in the face of our urgent demands.

Al-Ghasra talked on behalf of 15 detainees in the isolation building:

1.      Hasan Abdullah Isa Al-Ghasra

2.      Sadiq Abdullah Isa Al-Ghasra

3.      Mohammad Ahmad Fakhrawi

4.      Ali Ahmad Fakhrawi

5.      Mohammad Abdulamir Jabar Mushaima

6.      Ahmad Mohammad Saleh Al-Arab

7.      Hussein Ali Hussein

8.      Ahmad Mohammad Abdulwasi

9.      Yousif Ahmad Abdullah Al-aradi

10.  Hasan Mousa Jaafar Mohammad

11.  Sayed Bassan Jaafar Hasan A'ashour

12.  Anwar Amer Ali Joma'a

13.  Salah Saeed Salah

14.  Mohammad Joma'a Shamlouh

15.  Abass Mallualla