BFHR: 57 Prisoners Included in Pardon Had Less than 2 Years Remaining of Prison Sentences
2020-05-03 - 10:41 am
Bahrain Mirror: The Bahrain Forum for Human Rights (BFHR) monitored the release of political prisoners throughout the last period, between March 11 and April 30, by studying 512 cases of prisoners of conscience.
It said in a statement that 512 prisoners of conscience were released between March 11 and April 30 according to the following classification: royal pardon (57 cases), alternative penalties (139 cases), end of sentence (6 cases), end of arrest period and appearance before judicial authorities (9 cases), release (1 case), in addition to (1 case) from the Criminal Investigations Directorate. Preliminary information indicated that the 299 rest cases were released within alternative penalties, however, these cases are still being examined.
The BFHR noted that, with reference to the Attorney General's statement on April 12 about completing the release of 1,793 inmates, the outcome of political prisoners is as follows; 6% released in the royal pardon which included 901 prisoners, and 46.1% released within alternative penalties. 26.1% of the 1,793 released prisoners were prisoners of conscience, which means that the majority of those released by the royal pardon decree or the Alternative Penal Code are criminal prisoners.
According to the forum's observation, 139 prisoners, from 37 different regions in Bahrain, were released within alternative penalties between March 11, 2020 and April 5, 2020.
It also determined the remaining prison sentences of 127 of the 139 released prisoners, noting that the remaining prison sentences ranged between a maximum of 5 years and a minimum of two days, at an average rate of about one year and 17 days.
The number of released prisoners and their remaining prison terms are as follows: 4 to 5 years (4 people), 2 to 3 years (26 people), more than one year and less than two years (23 people), 10 to 11 months (8 people), 6 to 9 months (11 people), 3 to 5 months (29 people), one to two months (12 people), more than 20 days and less than a month (5 people), 14 to 18 days (4 people), and 2 to 7 days (5 people).
The forum also determined the remaining prison terms of the 57 prisoners who were released in a royal pardon, indicating that they were released from March 14 to March 17. The 57 prisoners are from 29 different regions in Bahrain. The BFHR further said that the remaining prison sentences of 30 out of the 57 released people ranged between a maximum of 7 years and 9 months and a minimum of two months and 7 days, at an average rate of about two years, 11 months and 18 days.
The numbers of those released and their remaining periods are as follows: More than 7 years (two people), 4 to 6 years (3 people), 2 to 3 years (17 people), more than 1 year and less than 2 years (7 people), in addition to one person who had 2 months and 7 days left of his prison sentence.
Based on the aforementioned information, it is clear that the official authorities are manipulating the numbers of released prisoners by mixing those released in the royal pardon with those released within the alternative penal code. The percentage of political prisoners is very low, meanwhile, there are more than 4000 prisoners of conscience held in harsh conditions and in overcrowded buildings.
While the BFHR reiterated the call for releasing all prisoners of conscience, Hussein Nooh, head of monitoring and documentation at the BFHR, stressed that applying alternative penalties on prisoners of conscience is a step that lacks human rights respect. Nooh stressed that prisoners of conscience have an inherent right to freedom, emphasizing that victims should be compensated and judicial rulings issued against them should be dropped. He added that people involved in the violations against prisoners of conscience should be held accountable.
Nooh said that the deteriorating prison conditions are not compatible with the standard minimum rules for the treatment of prisoners, due to problems such as overcrowding, which foreshadows a catastrophe if the Coronavirus pandemic spreads inside the Bahraini prisons.
The most important manifestations of the deteriorating prison conditions are: negligence of hygiene and maintenance of facilities, violation of privacy, absence of procedures of obtaining education, overcrowding (some cells do not exceed 12 meters in size and contain 16 prisoners), as well as the poor health care.
352 violations that affect the right to receive appropriate and necessary treatment were monitored last year (in 2019), as security authorities rely on denial of treatment as one of the main forms of torture.