12 years on, the tragedy of the prisoners of conscience in Bahrain continues
It can be asserted that - over the past twelve years - there is not a single Bahraini family that has not experienced any of the horrible methods of torture and systematic violations.
As the twelfth anniversary of the peaceful popular movement in Bahrain approaches, Manama’s behavior becomes increasingly intransigent and arrogant, with no serious intention of resolving the worsening crisis, despite the opposition’s moderate rhetoric and its sincere initiatives. However, the most pressing issue today is the slow killing that prisoners of conscience are arbitrarily subjected to, amounting to deliberate physical elimination, in death chambers that remind us of the medieval dungeons and Spanish inquisition torture methods.
It can be asserted that - over the past twelve years - there is not a single Bahraini family that has not experienced any of the horrible methods of torture and systematic violations, from the moment of arrest through the investigation, then through what the authorities claim and believe are “trials”, and then during the prolonged detention and abuses, additional trials, and systematic medical negligence all that accompanies.
These trials are unfair and lack the minimum standards of justice, as international reports attest, and they are nothing but a farce in which the authority sues the opponents and accuses them of fabricated cases that have been already conducted in the royal rooms, in retaliation against those dissenters who dare to peacefully express their opinion. Moreover, the “accused” are denied access to their lawyers and may be subjected to enforced disappearance for weeks or months, as documented in scores of incidents.
In prison, horrors and medical negligence have claimed the lives of Muhammad Sahwan, Hussein Barakat, and many others who have passed away after their release, not to mention those who suffer from permanent disabilities because of what they endured.
In Jau Prison, nothing but a series of systematic medical neglect, poor quality meals, contaminated water, irregular heating/cooling, rats and insects, infectious diseases, restriction of freedom of worship, restriction of intellectual freedoms, denial of higher education, limited time for sunbathing and exercise, restriction on visits and phone calls, glass barriers, suspicious trials and denial of temporary exit to participate in the burial ceremonies of the detainees’ relatives, etc. This is the tip of the iceberg of retribution and oppression in the infamous dungeon.
What is ridiculous is that Manama names its notorious Jau Prison as “Reform and Rehabilitation Centre,” while the reality is that the aforementioned notorious center systematically humiliates the dignity of political prisoners, brutalizes, and abuses them psychologically and physically.
Those whom the authorities have persecuted - throughout the past decade - are not criminals, but the elites of Bahrain’s community from politicians, media professionals, religious scholars, academics, artists, journalists, students... etc. from different age groups, children, youth, and the elderly, both women and men. Behind bars, the sincere loyal leaders of the national action, who are keen on Bahrain’s sovereignty and independence, are currently held.
What those oppressed have been subjected to - in terms of systematic global complicity - is definitely no different from the appealing infringements, which take place across the globe. Yet when it comes to such a strategic geographical area as Bahrain, where the geostrategic interests of the arrogant powers are located, silence prevails, as their interests are more important than human rights and the dignity of the indigenous inhabitants.
Bahrain is not Ukraine, and its peaceful people are persistent and steadfast despite their wounds, so the mainstream media will not stand up to claim their rights and freedoms.
This plight has become weightier today, chiefly after the tightening of the security grip and the manipulation of laws and the judicial bodies to punish the peaceful dissidents in courts that lack the most basic standards of fair trials, according to groundless official accounts, in addition to other abuses such as the prevalence of hate speech and sectarian incitement. The government, on the other hand, provides protection to those involved and even punishes those who reveal these abuses behind bars.
Today, after a decade and two years, the crisis has been exacerbated, and the authority - which has openly announced its already established friendly ties with the Zionist enemy after decades of cover-up - is preoccupied with isolating its own people expecting that it will gain legitimacy or a security instrument.
Manama regime is in complete estrangement from the parties to the crisis who are illegally incarnated or forcibly exiled. Alas, the international community supports it, and all the tools of repression are in its hands. However, neither sham elections, nor carefully-studied whitewashing events could ever burnish its black record.
The regime persists in denying its failures throughout the past years. It isolated 100,000 citizens who constitute the political weight and conducted fake parliamentary elections that lacked popular legitimacy with a boycott that exceeded the 2018 and 2014 rounds, due to poverty, unemployment, high taxes, looting of pensions, and the imposition of normalization with the temporary Zionist entity.
The basic solution, after 12 years, is to release all prisoners of conscience, led by Sheikh Ali Salman, as he is the guarantee of real change and serious reform for Bahrain.