Coronavirus Hits Jaw Prison: 6 Cases so Far, Officials Not Responding to Calls of Prisoners' Families

2021-03-28 - 2:09 ص

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Six positive Coronavirus cases have been discovered so far among inmates in Jaw Prison. It was confirmed that prisoner of conscience Ahmad Mohammad Saleh from Bani Jamra contracted the virus on March 25, 2021. Human rights defender Ibtisam Al-Saegh has stated that "the place of detention of prisoners is crowded," which raises concerns about the virus outbreak among them. "Humanitarian conditions should be addressed and prisoners, especially those with chronic diseases, should be released," she added.

Political prisoner Abed Ali (Mohammad) Al-Singace, from Al-Sanabis, contracted COVID-19 on Wednesday (March 24, 2021). Al-Signace is held in Jaw Prison and suffers from chronic diseases that put his life in danger.

It seems that the authorities do not care or give significant attention to calls launched by the families of prisoners and political groups to release detainees during the pandemic. On the contrary, according to a statement signed on behalf of the "mothers of prisoners", what has been happening on the ground is more like "tightening the noose on detainees and preventing them from accessing the most basic rights, especially hygiene products, as well as the opportunity to visit the canteen."

Today, families of inmates intensified their calls to the directors of Jaw Central Prison after the Interior Ministry announced on Wednesday the discovery of three cases and other reports indicating that this number is increasing. Prison officials were reluctant to respond to the various calls in a move that exacerbated the families' concerns. "They are not responding to our calls," brother of one of the prisoners told Bahrain Mirror.

Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society held the regime fully responsible for what was taking place inside prisons, as the pandemic is now striking prisoners, whose bodies have been exhausted by torture and many years of inhuman conditions inside prison.

The tests carried out on March 23, 2021 revealed that inmate Naser Yackoub Yousif from Azari has contracted the Coronavirus and so was the case of prisoners Ali Sayed Mousa Al-Alawi from Diraz and Nouh Abdullah Hasam Al Amroum from A'ali. Prisoner Sayed Mahmoud Sharad who is currently serving a 10-year jail term contracted the virus as well. Most of the revealed cases were in building 21, prison cell block 1 in Jaw Prison, which includes more than 150 prisoners.

When Coronavirus reached Bahrain in 2020, the authorities released a number of political prisoners, who had spent between 1 and 8 years in prison and who had only a few days or months left from their prison sentences, due to fear of having Coronavirus spread among inmates. King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa later issued a decree pardoning 901 prisoners "for humanitarian reasons and under the current circumstances". The majority of the released were criminal prisoners, whereas the number of political prisoners amounted to only 17% of the 1,490 prisoners who were actually released. However, these releases soon stopped despite the Prime Minister's speech to local media about their approach to turn to an open prison system and the rush to implement the alternative penal code.

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