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US State Department Condemns HR Violations in Bahrain, Demands Release of All Political Prisoners

2021-11-27 - 8:35 p

Bahrain Mirror: The US State Department expressed growing concerns about the worsening human rights situation in Bahrain due to continued arrests of activists and journalists, demanding the immediate release of all political prisoners.

This came in a letter addressed earlier this month to US Senator Jack Reed, in which it stressed the depth of US-Bahraini relations in the field of regional security, human rights, the rule of law, trade development and economic reform, noting the growing US concern about the human rights situation, specifically allegations of prisoner treatment, lack of space for political participation, freedom of opinion and expression, and space for peaceful gatherings in the country.

It stressed the necessity to give journalists more space to work freely, indicating that journalistic work should in no way be the basis for prosecution and arrest, urging the Bahraini government to take serious steps to release political prisoners.

The US State Department said in its statement "Through our periodic reports, we have made it clear and will continue to make it clear that engaging in protests, peaceful activity, and journalistic action should not be the basis for prosecution."

"We will continue to advocate for a comprehensive and open society that we believe in and that works for the benefit of both Bahrain and the United States."

It praised what it deemed "positive steps taken by the Government in recent years to address some human rights issues, including the establishment of alternative penal code under which more than 4000 prisoners were released."

It tackled a number of the mentioned steps including the establishment of regional leadership in the fight against human trafficking and freedom of religion.

"The current US administration has stressed the importance of respect for human rights, which is at the heart of its foreign policy and which reflects on our relations with Bahrain," it said, wishing that the Bahraini government "takes into account the content of the letter."

US Congressman Larry Bucshon expressed concerns about the human rights situation in Bahrain, which was detailed in the annual reports of human rights practices, including allegations of prisoners' treatment, lack of space for political participation, freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly.

Bucshon condemned at the time the continued arrest of seven of the country's most prominent leaders of the peaceful uprising, which began in 2011, highlighting that some of them are serving life sentences, citing the need to introduce the alternative penal code, which was passed by a royal decree last September. 

"Human rights organizations continue to raise concerns about the situation in detention centers in Bahrain. We noted that the government has no measures to fight Covid 19 in these facilities, including the release of prisoners and giving them the necessary vaccines," he said.

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