Imprisoned Journalist Al-Jaziri Refutes Khoury Claims: We're Piled Up with No Preventive Measures

2020-04-09 - 10:41 p

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): In an audio recording from inside prison, imprisoned journalist Mahmoud Al-Jaziri explained that the statement of Maria Khoury, Chairperson of the National Institute for Human Rights (NIHR), and other members, aired on Bahrain television, regarding their alleged visit to the prison for the purpose of protecting the prisoners is "merely a play that has nothing to do with reality".

Journalist Mahmoud Al-Jaziri, who is sentenced to 15 years in prison over political charges, said that he watched the report aired on television from inside the prison and listened to the NIHR report, and stressed that the report is completely false and is a ploy that has nothing to do with the reality of the situation.

The report displayed the most recent building in the prison which was opened about a week ago, Al-Jaziri added, noting that only a few number of prisoners were transferred to that building, while prisoners are piled up in the old building, like building number 1 and 4 or in the tightly sealed or non-ventilated ones like building number 12, 13 and 14.

Al-Jaziri denied the news that the prison administration had made any preventive measures, other than preventing family visits. He stated that the only measure the prison administration had taken was preventing us from family visits, without finding suitable alternatives that would enable us to meet our families. Al-Jaziri wondered if the epidemic lasts for one year, "would we be prevented from seeing our families for this long". "The measure is correct but it is not enough," he further stated.

He also refuted what was mentioned in the report about the technique of using video calls with families, saying that talking about this call technique is merely a lie. On the contrary, a few days ago, a restricted communication procedure was adopted which prevents prisoners from communicating with more than 5 scheduled phone numbers in the automated system, noting that prisoners are not allowed to communicate with other numbers.

As for the prison infirmary, Al-Jaziri said that the part of the statement that spoke about the readiness of the infirmary or the adoption of protective measures by the police is also false, highlighting that the cadre working in the prison infirmary are known for their deliberate negligence and that the police themselves have affirmed this.

Al-Jaziri expressed regret for what he called "the deviation from the human rights message that the institute should adhere to," explaining that "instead of being a watchdog to ensure the protection of prisoners, it has become a tool to whitewash the ugly reality and fabricate lies."

"I say to Ms. Khoury that crises are solved by recognizing the facts and trying to solve the shortcomings, not by falsifying the facts, and that the national requirement under these dangerous circumstances is to reveal the truth to the officials and society, and to take appropriate protective measures. Your report is a process of societal deception that will not be in the interest of anyone," he said. Al-Jaziri also demanded to meet Ms. Khoury "if she is keen on knowing the reality and truth".

This was the response of imprisoned journalist Mahmoud Al-Jaziri to the NIHR report on the conditions of Bahraini prisons, in which the Institute "confirmed" that it closely monitored on the ground the precautionary and preventive measures adopted by the Ministry of Interior in accordance with international standards recommended by the World Health Organization to prevent or reduce the transmission of the Coronavirus among inmates.

Arabic Version