Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): The case of the martyr Mohammad Sayyah (1998) should have been an example for the security authorities in Bahrain, warning of the consequences of their brutal treatment of political prisoners, from torture during interrogations, abuse in prison, to denial of treatment, even if they suffer from cancer.
Although he was released and sent to London for treatment after being diagnosed with cancer, Mohammad Sayyah, 28, passed away about three years after his imprisonment and the severe torture he was subjected to in prison, on the grounds of the 90s uprising. His death was a sorrowful event to the people of Sitra at that time.
This is not unprecedented Bahrain government behaviour. The king, himself, expressed hope that political dissident Hasan Mushaima would die of cancer in 2010, when he ordered the state to stop treating his lymphoma cancer in London.
The king last year used the same weapon against Mushaima, who is serving a life sentence for his role in the 2011 protests. Prison authorities denied him his medications, and only allowed him to receive them while he was humiliated with his hands cuffed to his back. He was also banned from going to hospital to undergo cancer tests for more than a year.
Mushaima's health deteriorated, and he accused the authorities of slowly killing him. His son Ali went on a hunger strike in front of the Bahraini embassy in London for more than 45 days, causing a great political uproar which put pressure on the authorities, who met Ali's demands, giving medication to Mushaima, and transferring him to the hospital to undergo cancer tests for the first time in two years, let alone officially vowing to the British government to continually provide him with treatment.
The same crime was committed by the authorities with at least 3 political prisoners previous year. The health of detainee, Sayed Kadhem Abbas, 23, deteriorated, as he suffered from serious symptoms such as decreased ability to see, convulsions and inability to breathe. This; however, was met with no mercy.
Following numerous humanitarian calls to save him, and after he suffered a seizure, he was transferred to the hospital where the doctor decided to perform his surgery to release liquids from his head that were pressing on his eye and blocking his vision. After undergoing surgery, further tests showed that Sayed Kadhem suffers from cancer.
The authorities released him when they found out that his cancer had reached an advanced level, and his life was in danger. Sayed Kadhem lost his eyesight, while waiting for the United States to grant him a visa for treatment there.
In a Turkish hospital, another detainee is receiving chemotherapy after the authorities decided to release him, when his condition became serious last year. Before his arrest in September 2014, Ali Qambar (brother of martyr Isa Qambar) didn't not suffer from any disease. He was tortured to make false confessions, and during his imprisonment the symptoms of cancer began to appear on him, among the symptoms were: losing a lot of weight and immunity. Even after doctors discovered that he suffered from brain cancer, he remained in prison for more than one year.
Meanwhile, three years after being diagnosed with colon cancer, Elias Al-Mulla, 25, remained in prison even after he underwent a surgery to remove the tumor. Although he reached stage 3, the prison administration continue to prevent him from taking cancer medications through procrastination and negligence. His family had to resort to the police to save his life in prison, after he called seeking help due to the pain he is suffering.
His mother, who fought for her son for so long, published an article stating that Bahraini law provides that if a detainee is suffering from a life-threatening illness, the sentence could be delayed. "Jaw prison administration must immediately release him if it is interested in keeping him alive, otherwise it does not want him alive."
2018 passed by and Elias hasn't been released yet. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison. He previously said that he prefers death to the humiliating treatment. "Why are our children left to die before they are released?" his mom wondered.
The government saw that death was the only right that Elias or any political prisoner enjoys.
Besides the torture and devastating psychological situation, political prisoners in Bahrain are living in a harsh environment plagued with diseases before the eyes of the authorities, which Amnesty International described in a special investigation last year as an appalling pattern of medical negligence.
At least five detainees died in prison due to deliberate medical negligence, the last of whom was Mohammad Sahwan (2017).