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News ID: 51335
Asia » Asia
Publish Date: 12:28 - 11 April 2021
Bahrain has released dozens of inmates, including long-term political prisoners, amid a surge in COVID-19 cases at the heavily overcrowded jail in Faw, east of the Persian Gulf kingdom.

Bahrain releases some inmates of notorious prison after virus outbreakActivists said on Saturday that the Manama regime’s authorities had vowed to set free a total of 199 detainees, but only 166 have so far been released.

Mohammed Jawad, 75, an uncle of prominent Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab, was among those freed after spending 10 years in prison.

The released inmates will carry out the rest of their sentences under electronic monitoring.

Bahrain's health ministry claimed that only three prisoners had contracted the coronavirus at the Faw jail and that the vaccination campaign had been completed there.

However, London-based Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy said dozens of detainees have caught the virus at the detention facility.

Over the past months, Bahraini authorities have been criticized for flouting the prisoners’ right to adequate health care and hygiene supplies amid the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

Family members of the prisoners have in recent weeks staged demonstrations in a number of Bahraini localities, urging the immediate release of their loved ones.

“The Bahraini government and prison authorities have a clear duty to guarantee the right to health of those in detention and protect them from the risk of infection. They must not gamble with the lives of those in their custody. The authorities must ensure all prisoners are provided with face masks and adequate hygiene supplies, that they can keep physical distance and are tested regularly,” said Lynn Maalouf, deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

Additionally, Bahrain’s main opposition group the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society  has called for the release of prisoners of conscience since the start of the coronavirus outbreak.

"Al-Wefaq holds the regime fully responsible for what is happening inside the prisons," it said last month, adding that the inmates' health had been exhausted by years of torture and inhumane conditions.

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