Why Doesn't King Release Political Prisoners who Spent their 10th Ramadan Behind Bars?
2020-05-20 - 11:15 p
Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Thousands of young Bahrainis have fasted their tenth Ramadan in prison, while the King of Bahrain appeared to take part in the Global Day of Prayer and Fasting to stop the Coronavirus pandemic, which can at any moment infect its political prisons and cause a disaster for the whole country.
Ahead of Ramadan, there were signs hinting at the release of some political prisoners, with a "royal pardon" on the sidelines of the unprecedented global pandemic crisis. A large number of MPs "dared" and publicly asked the king to release political prisoners, in statements that apparently came as official requests, but nothing happened, and no one was released.
A month earlier, thanks to Coronavirus, the king issued, for the first time since 2011, a general amnesty, which included only 57 political prisoners out of 901 prisoners. The rest of the Inmates released were criminal offenders, convicted mainly in cases related to theft and drugs (according to confirmed information).
For the first time, Ramadan passed silently in Bahrain, with no obsequies or mosques, due to the Coronavirus epidemic. This is the tenth Ramadan since the 2011 protests. Until 2017, Ramadan was distinctively a political month every year. In Ramadan 2016, the authorities revoked the citizenship of Bahrain's most prominent Shiite leader, Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim, which made people turn the area around his house into an open sit-in for nearly a year, and just days before Ramadan 2017, the authorities raided and cleared the Diraz sit-in.
The regime in Bahrain has committed everything. There is no longer a red line, nor anything forbidden. For three years, the political opposition front had nothing left to fight the regime with. Everything became silent.
All surrendered to the king's will, and the king achieved everything he wanted. There is nothing to threaten him with anymore, so why does he not release the political prisoners? Why is he taking the risk by keeping nearly 4,000 political prisoners in overcrowded cells with all this danger that will not be confined to the walls of prisons, but will strike the whole country?
Perhaps, in a debt-ridden country threatened by a bleak economic future, there are no longer political demands that burden the people, equal to the freedom and safety of prisoners. They have become desperate to receive opportunities in business, scholarships, positions and even tenders, more than getting fair representation within a fully empowered legislative authority.
We want our children safe. This is what occupied thousands of citizens who prayed last night in their homes. This is what filled their silent consciences. They prayed "Glory be to Him who does not treat the citizens of His Kingdom unjustly and harshly, Glory be to Him who does not let torment and pain come suddenly upon mankind."
Has the King thought of these prayers while participating in the May 14 declaration in a Global Day of Prayer and Fasting to stop this epidemic? Did the cries of frightened mothers over their children inside prisons shake his conscience? Why was he only merciful with criminals?
"We thank God the Almighty, always and forever, and we pray and plead Him in these blessed days of this holy month to accept our fasting, evening prayers and supplications, remove the pandemic and affliction from our homeland, and make Bahrain as well as the rest of the Muslim countries and the whole world safe."
Listening to the king's speech on the occasion of the last ten days of Ramadan, one imagines Bahrain to be the utopian state of Plato, which lacks nothing but prayer and that Bahrain suffers no crisis other than this deadly epidemic.
Let's say that this pandemic is undoubtedly the most tragic calamity, should recognizing it as a dangerous pandemic be by ignoring thousands of political prisoners? What happens if the epidemic spreads inside Jaw prison? What prayers can help then?
Unconfirmed reports are increasing about the infection of interior ministry officials, which is not at all unlikely after the confirmation of the increase in cases among medical staff, and the high number of infections in the country in recent days, as well as mortalities.
In 1918, the last year of World War I, the Spanish influenza pandemic killed nearly 50 million people. The most important factors that have accelerated the spread of the epidemic were the overcrowded soldier barracks and massive marches.
Yesterday, the world celebrated the International Day of Living Together in Peace, all what Bahrain's prisoners want after 10 years is to live! Why doesn't the king have the audacity to end all this pain and fear? Is he really the one who owns the decision to pardon in the first place?