Editorial: A Tribute to Prisoners of Bahrain

2023-09-18 - 11:37 am

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Without a doubt, it is a victory for the prisoners and their will. After demonstrating patience and persistence, the prisoners were able to extract from the Ministry of Interior recognition of their urgent human rights that they demanded since the first day of the hunger strike, which began on August 7 and ended on September 12, 2023.

For 36 days with unparalleled steadfastness and endurance, a remarkable ability to negotiate under pressure, not surrendering to the Minister of Interior's implications of indifference, and enduring the inhumane punishments imposed by the prison administration on them amid the strike, the prisoners managed to make the greatest impact on the domestic level. They have once again shed the light of media on their cause and the country's crisis, mobilized the public that went out in solidarity marches and held sit-ins. Through this strike, they have made a new sacrifice for the cause and the people, in addition to their sacrifices that have been ongoing for years.

Bringing Bahrain, its cause and the suffering of its people to the forefront is a great feat and invaluable service, especially at such a time. Perhaps professional human rights and political organizations cannot make such an achievement at this time, which many thought was a dead end.

As a reminder, the demands of the prisoners on strike were: removing prisoners held in the isolation prison, ending confinement in cells for 23 hours a day, restoring the previous arrangements, under which prisoners were allowed to leave their cells during the day and use prison facilities such as football stadiums, libraries and mosques for congregational prayers. Prisoners also demanded to be able to exercise their right to university education. Other demands include: ending medical negligence as prisoners sometimes have to wait for more than a year to be examined by a specialist. Furthermore, hunger strikers want to end the restriction on family visits to half an hour a month behind glass barriers.

The Interior Ministry, and then the Ombudsman, as well as the NIHR, responded by saying that these claims were unlawful, and the Interior Ministry did not accept recognition of these clear rights for prisoners.

Until yesterday, the Ministry of Interior was forced to admit to the prisoners' representatives that their demands are legal and that they are among their legitimate rights, but demanded a deadline of September 30 to implement the demands.

The prisoners agreed and decided after consultations to suspend the hunger strike until further notice, stressing the possibility of resuming the strike if the Interior Ministry fails to implement the agreement.

The ball is now in the court of the Interior Ministry and behind it the credibility of the entire government, so does the ministry want to buy time until the Crown Prince finishes his trip to the United States, which is supposed to start, September 13, 2023, and until the completion of the visit of a delegation from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, whose delegation will arrive very soon in Bahrain?

The prisoners, for their part, had a clear position in their official statement, saying: The coming days will be decisive in determining the fate of the suspension or resumption of an open-ended hunger strike, as there is no acceptance of any limitations on the demands, which, as we have repeatedly stressed, are necessary to the point of urgency.

The agreement concluded in Jaw prison has been made in the face of the Crown Prince and Prime Minister, so what does Rashid bin Abdullah want; to save face for his boss or is something else entirely?

Arabic Version