Jailed Bahrain activist Husain Barakat dies of COVID-19

Young Bahraini political prisoner has lost his life in jail due to the new coronavirus neglected by the al Kalifa regime authorities to the critical condition in prisons.

Western-allied Bahrain has come under pressure from human rights organisations over prison conditions including overcrowding, poor sanitation and lack of medical care.

Since an outbreak of the disease in Jau, Bahrain’s main prison, in March, families have been holding small protests demanding the release of political prisoners and better conditions. There was a violent confrontation between guards and prisoners in April after detainees protested against conditions.

At least 220 inmates in Bahraini prisons have suffered the new coronavirus though Barakat was in coma due to severe infection and lack of oxygen.

This is while the prison authorities did not admit temporary leave for the young prisoner denying any information on his state to his family.

The Interior Ministry said on Wednesday that Husain Barakat, 48, who had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in March, had died after being infected with the virus.

He had been taken from prison to a hospital on May 29, it said, adding that he required a respirator in recent days.

Britain-based human rights group the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) said Barakat was a political prisoner being held in Jau.

Barakat was sentenced in 2018, along with another 53 individuals, to life in prison in a mass trial of 138 defendants accused by authorities of belonging to a terror cell, BIRD said.

He was also stripped of his citizenship, which was later restored by royal decree, BIRD said.

The interior ministry claimed Barakat had received regular medical attention and phone calls while in prison.

The National Islamic Society, al-Wefaq, has called for the release of prisoners of conscience since the start of the pandemic.

Bahrain has freed some prisoners considered at risk in response to the health crisis.

Bahrain’s government, which denies carrying out torture in prisons, has said it offered vaccinations to all prisoners and that appropriate measures were taken to deal with COVID-19 outbreaks.


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