Prison Conditions in Bahrain
Since 2011, Bahrain authorities have sentenced thousands of people in connection to the February 14 popular movementand for pro-democracy activities, including 3314 individuals in the last five years. Many of them were charged under Bahrain’s severe anti-terrorism law. The lack of fair trial guarantees is a systematic problem in Bahrain’s criminal justice system. There have been continuous violations of defendants’ due process rights, including enforced disappearances, coerced confessions, torture and inadequate access to legal counsel. Women human rights defenders have not been spared torture, abuse and sexual assault.
In 2021, 132 individuals were sentenced to varying prison terms, including nine life sentences. Many of these trials involved more than one defendant, up to 33 in one case. The charges ranged from joining “terrorist groups” to “illegal assembly” and “insulting the judiciary.” During the year, the Bahraini courts handed down and upheld 984 years of prison terms and 101,134 BD (254,000 EUR) in fines in total. It should be noted that these figures are not comprehensive, as they depend mainly on what was published by local newspapers.
The authorities arrested 173 individuals in 2021 in relation to pro-democracy activities. The majority of arrests were carried out after summons for interrogation. Many were carried out arbitrarily in-house raids, where security forces did not present arrest warrants nor inform the arrestees and their families about the reason behind their arrests. A number of individuals were arrested on the spot, for example, in protests, in the street, in a hospital, and at the airport.
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