Situation in Jaw Prison on Verge of Explosion: Protests to Protect Sheikh Ashour, Security Forces Beat Prisoners

2021-03-22 - 7:17 م

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): The situation in Jaw Central Prison has reached the verge of exploding, after prison director Hisham Al-Zayani decided to suppress the protests of prisoners. It is claimed that the perpetrator, a former BDF soldier, is only an executor of Al-Zayani's orders, and has always threatened Sheikh Zuheir with retaliation for defending prisoners' rights.

The prison has been in a state of turmoil after criminal prisoner (Ali T.), of Syrian origin, attacked Sheikh Zuheir from behind with the aim of "strangling him or breaking his neck". However, the Sheikh "resisted him to save himself from death, as the attacker's fist was tight and focused on the head and neck."

The guards took the attacker to an unknown location but didn't open an investigation into the incident, Sheikh Ashour's family said in a statement. This raises doubt on a possible cooperation between the two parties, and that the prison administration is involved in this case.

Regarding the beating that inmate Sheikh Zuheir Ashour was subjected to at the hands of another inmate, the National Institute for Human Rights said that it would like to explain that a delegation from the institute carried out a field visit this morning to the rehabilitation center in Jaw prison to meet the inmate and check on his condition.

The institute added that the inmate was interviewed without cuffs and alone outside the cell, for the aim of receiving his testimony on the incident, to help achieve justice and protect the rights of all prisoners. However, the inmate refused to speak out about the issue, noting that the outer appearance of the inmate looked good and his condition was stable, they noted. 

Opposition leader Ibrahim Sharif commented on the NIHR statements saying that it is "a matter of credibility", adding "Ask yourselves: why do victims, prisoners and their families refrain from filing complaints at the NIHR? Return to your reports and statements in 2011 when you stood still at a time when torture was taking place, and compare your reports to that of BICI, which revealed what was going on to find out why."

Returning to Jaw prison, the prison director fulfilled his threat of introducing heavily armed security forces for prisoners. Meanwhile, activist Mousa Abdulali tweeted, saying, "Detainees have been attacked and beaten by riot forces in building 12 and there are serious injuries among the inmates. A number of prisoners were forcibly dragged as they were bleeding."

BIRD director Ahmed Al-Wadaei reported that "prison guards are confronting prisoners in building 12. There are reports that some detainees sustained injuries as a result of the confrontations," explaining that "prisoners refused to return to their cells after they left to the backyard (the fence)."

Al-Wadaei pointed out that "the prisoners' protest came after Sheikh Zuheir Ashour was beaten by a criminal prisoner and after the prison administration refused to transfer the Sheikh to political prisoners' building."

Prisoners have long complained about Hisham Al-Zayani, whom they accuse of being directly responsible for several abuses. Sources said Al-Zayani assaulted one of the inmates last June, threatening to kill him.

The information indicated that Al-Zayani strangled prisoner Yousif Al-Aradi while he was handcuffed from behind, and then threatened to kill him in front of the other prisoners in building 14.

Human rights activists have called on the authorities to clarify what is going on in Jaw prison and to hold the perpetrators accountable.

Arabic Version