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Detained protesters in Bahrain denied medical treatment

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) is gravely concerned about the continued denial of access to medical treatment for prisoners of conscience, and particularly in regards to the cases of wounded prisoners in need of immediate treatment for injuries resulting from the brutal repression carried out by security forces in Bahrain.

On 15 June 2013, Sayed Jaffer Hashim Shubar, 40, was shot with a pellet shotgun while participating in a peaceful protest in his home village of Bilad AlQadeem.

A video which was published online shows his brutal arrest after being shot by a policeman from a very close distance.

Instead of publishing a statement about investigating the incident and prosecuting the policeman. On the contrary, the Ministry of Interior (MOI) published a statement on the same day, referring to the protestors as 'rioters', 'thugs', and 'saboteurs'. It also stated that some people were arrested as part of their efforts and the under the pretext of 'enforcing the law and restoring order'.

The MOI stated that "the Director-General of the Capital Governorate Police has announced that the security forces intervened to disperse saboteurs and rioters who had created chaos in Bilad AlQadeem village on Saturday."

On 17 June, Sayed Maher's family received a call from the Nabih Saleh police station, instructing them to bring him clothes.

When the family went as requested, the prison officials refused to receive the clothes and informed the family that there were orders to transfer Sayed Maher elsewhere. On 23 June, the family went to the office of the Public Prosecution, and were informed that he was transferred to the Dry Dock prison.

The following day, 24 June, the family went to the Dry Dock prison where prison officials denied having Sayed Maher in their facility. When they returned to the office of the Public Prosecution and informed them that they could not locate him, the family was told that they will be contacted whenever there is any news about him.

On 25 June, the family again went to the office of the Public Prosecution and they were sent to see a man named Abdulminim at the Dry Dock Prison. After following the given instructions, they were able to meet Sayed Maher for the first time, and found out that he will be kept in detention for 45 days pending investigation on charges of rioting and illegal gathering.

The family now fears for his health condition and his life as he is still denied medical treatment.

This is not the first time political prisoners are denied medical treatment in Bahrain. In a similar case, detainee Mohammed Sahwan, who was injured with 80 pieces of shrapnel in his head and neck after riot police fired a cartridge from a shotgun at him in 2011, was denied treatment after being arrested at the border with Qatar, where he was attempting to travel for treatment. He is still being denied medical treatment, despite his deteriorating health condition.

Based on the above, BCHR holds the Bahraini authorities responsible for the life, and the physical and psychological well-being of Sayed Maher Jaffar and all other political prisoners, and demands the following:

  • Immediately and unconditionally release Sayed Maher Jaffar, along with all other prisoners of conscience;
  • Provide Sayed Maher Jaffar and all other prisoners with adequate medical treatment;
  • Put an end to the excessive use of force against peaceful protesters;
  • For the authorities in Bahrain to commit to the international conventions which they have ratified, especially concerning the rights of prisoners to receive full medical care.

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