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Bahrain has highest number of political prisoners among Arab countries: Rights group

An independent human rights organization has censured Bahrain over its repressive measures and heavy-handed crackdown against political opponents and democracy advocates, saying the Persian Gulf kingdom has the biggest number of political prisoners among Arab states.

The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) said in a report that Bahrain, under the ruling Al Khalifah dynasty, has the largest number of imprisoned rights activists, and it is estimated that there are some 4,500 campaigners being held behind bars across the country.

The organization went on to note that a lot of reports published over the past decade have shed light on the deplorable conditions of prisoners at Bahraini jails, prompting the international community and human rights organizations to compel the Al Khalifah regime to relatively improve prison conditions.

BCHR highlighted that Bahraini authorities have arrested about 15,000 people for their political beliefs over the last decade, thus turning the country into the first Arab nation with the highest number of prisoners in recent years.

Political prisoners in Bahrain are subjected to various forms of torture, ill-treatment and persecution, and the Al-Khalifa regime silences any opposing voice through detention, torture and execution, it pointed out.

Lately, Jalal Feroz, a former member of the Bahraini parliament, said more than 2,500 political opponents are incarcerated in Bahraini prisons, and that they are subjected to the most vicious forms of torture.

BCHR, the Persian Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) and Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) recently in a joint report entitled “Prison Conditions in Bahrain” pointed to the serious structural deficiencies in Bahrain’s criminal justice system, and lack of fair trials for defendants.

They emphasized that human rights are being violated on a large scale at detention centers across the Persian Gulf kingdom, and inmates are exposed to various forms of torture and ill-treatment.

Demonstrations have been held in Bahrain on a regular basis since the popular uprising began in the Arab country in mid-February 2011.

People demand that the Al Khalifah regime relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.

Manama, however, has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any form of dissent.

 

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