Bahrain: Ongoing repression against political prisoners
|Publisher||International Federation for Human Rights|
|Publication Date||2 February 2012|
|Cite as||International Federation for Human Rights, Bahrain: Ongoing repression against political prisoners, 2 February 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4f39296421.html [accessed 21 May 2013]|
Last Update 2 February 2012
FIDH expresses its utmost concern about acts of continued repression on political prisoners that have entered in a hunger strike to protest their continued arbitrary detention as well as the deteriorating human rights situation in the country.
FIDH has been informed that around 250 political prisoners started a widespread national hunger strike on January 29, 2012, after the prominent 14 political and human rights activists, who were arbitrarily detained since March 2011 , announced they will begin a hunger strike in the central Jaw prison.
According to the information received, as a response to the hunger strike, part number 4 of the central Jaw prison where the above-mentioned detainees are kept, was reportedly teargassed. A number of them were severely beaten and others were put in solitary confinement. Moreover, those detainees are no longer allowed to make any phone calls, and continue to be denied access to the designated outdoors areas of the prison.
After detainees from the Dry Docks prison announced that they would join the hunger strike, a number of prisoners from different areas in Bahrain were reportedly told that they would be released if they plead for the King's forgiveness, in addition to saying that they are against the strike and the protests. A number of those who had refused to do so were reportedly beaten severely to the extent that they had to be transferred to the hospital. Some of them called their families informing they were forced to give apologies on camera.
FIDH calls upon the Bahraini authorities to take all necessary measures to put an end to these acts of repression and to order a prompt, effective, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the above-mentioned acts, where as the result of which must be made public, and those responsible of such acts must be held accountable.
Those political activists and human rights defenders were condemned before military courts in the context of the repression against peaceful protesters. They were handed down harsh sentences including life imprisonment. FIDH, along with other international human rights organisations, has repeatedly denounced the violations of fair trial guarantees during these proceedings. Furthermore, FIDH recalls that pursuant to recommendation NÂ°1720 of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) report  , "all convictions and sentences rendered by the National Security Courts where fundamental principles of a fair trial [...] were not respected" must be reviewed in ordinary courts.
Moreover, FIDH is deeply concerned by the deteriorating situation in the country since the release last November of the BICI report and in particular regarding the ongoing disproportionate use of force and the excessive use of tear gas by the security forces which has led to several deaths over the past weeks.
FIDH recalls the authorities' obligation to comply with the international human rights instruments ratified by the Kingdom of Bahrain and their pledge to effectively implement the recommendations of the BICI report, especially NÂ°1722 with regard to "the use of force, arrest, treatment of persons in custody, detention and prosecution in connection with the freedom of expression, assembly and association".
 See FIDH et OMCT joint press release "FIDH and OMCT call for the immediate end of repression!", May 11, 2011.
 On July 1, 2011, the BICI was established, constituted by international members and with a national mandate, "to investigate and report on the events occurring in Bahrain in February/March 2011 and any subsequent consequences arising out of the aforementioned events, and to make such recommendations as it may deem appropriate". The BICI report was issued on November 23, 2011. It documented 45 killings, 1500 cases of arbitrary arrest, and 1866 cases of torture, amongst other figures and made resolutions to be full implemented at the end of February, 2012.