Bahrain urged to investigate third prison death in months

Rights groups call on the government to launch an independent investigation into the death of 35-year-old Hasan Abdulnabi Manoor.

Hasan Abdulnabi Mansoor died while in detention on July 25 following 'sickle cell complications' [Courtesy of Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain]

Human rights groups have called on Bahrain to launch an “independent investigation” into the death of a 35-year-old national in jail.

The Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) and Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) made the call in a joint statement on Wednesday.

According to the statement, prisoner Hasan Abdulnabi Mansoor died at the Salmaniya Medical Complex on July 25 following “sickle cell complications, amid reports of medical negligence by authorities at Dry Dock Detention Centre”.

He was reportedly serving a three-year sentence on drug-related charges, according to Amnesty Bahrain, which also confirmed his death last month.

The US-based rights group said prison authorities did not refer him for treatment “in a timely manner”.

It also urged authorities in the kingdom to “immediately launch an effective, independent and impartial investigation into the circumstances of Hasan Abdulnabi Mansoor’s death”.

ADHRB said although Bahrain’s interior ministry reported the death, it did not acknowledge reports of medical negligence or confirm whether a probe would take place.

Husain Abdulla, head of ADHRB, said the government’s “corrupt oversight bodies are not independent and will only produce a whitewash report,” and added that without a UN-led probe, the truth will be “buried”.

ADHRB also said Mansoor was not given his prescribed medication during his time in detention.

BIRD spoke to witnesses and prisoners who shared a cell with Mansoor.

The report cited a cellmate, Husain Ibrahim Dhaif, saying: “Every day … [Hasan Abdulnabi] went to the police officers, and he spoke to them about his medication,” but, the report continued, Mansoor’s efforts were “to no avail”.

He added: “Three days before he was transferred [to hospital], he was telling [prison authorities] that he needed to go to the prison clinic. They told him, ‘Wait and we will take you.’ They let him go inside his cell and they ignored him.”

Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, director of BIRD, said the testimonies give another “shocking account of medical negligence by Bahraini authorities”.

“The systematic mistreatment of prisoners in Bahrain is reaching a crisis point; without an independent investigation by UN officials, Bahrain’s government will continue to sweep these deaths under the carpet,” he said.

This is the third prison death that has taken place since April related to medical negligence, the statement said.

In June, Husain Barakat, who was imprisoned after what rights groups said was an unfair trial, died in Bahrain’s Jaw prison following a second COVID-19 outbreak, Amnesty said.

In addition to providing vaccines to prisoners, further preventive measures are needed to protect them against the spread of the pandemic, the group said at the time.

Barakat’s relatives told Amnesty in early June that the prison administration had failed to distribute face masks or hand sanitiser to protect prisoners.

Amnesty also noted that overcrowding in Bahrain’s prisons is a “long-standing concern which makes social distancing impossible”.

Source: Al Jazeera