4 September – A Bahraini women’s detention centre banned all detainees from contacting family after an episode of food poisoning, the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) learned today.
Human rights activist Ebtisam al-Saegh said in a brief call this afternoon that Isa Town detention centre for women had refused to allow detainees to make calls after several women had fallen ill.
Al-Saegh and Madina Ali are among the four Bahraini female detainees in a “very bad” condition following food poisoning, al-Saegh said. The activist added that two other women, from Egypt and Morocco, have also been affected.
The detainees noticed insects within the food provided by the detention centre, as well as bad smells, al-Saegh stated. She described the food as “a disaster”.
Al-Saegh, who suffers from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), requires a special diet. She said, “As someone who is supposed to have special food, this [contaminated substance] is the food I’m getting. Imagine the other prisoners.”
Hajar Mansoor, a political prisoner and the mother-in-law of Sayed Ahmed AlWadaei, was also seen by a doctor following a deterioration in health. Mansoor too was banned from making a phone call to her imprisoned son, Sayed Nizar AlWadaei, which caused her psychological stress.
Two other Bahraini detainees, Zaynab Marhoon and Najah al-Sheikh, complained of stomach pains, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. BIRD calls on the prison authorities to ensure the provision of adequate, healthy and hygienic food for all detainees.
Al-Saegh also spoke of generally unhygienic conditions at the detention centre. BIRD therefore calls on the Prisoners’ and Detainees’ Rights Commission (PDRC) to investigate the conditions at Isa Town detention centre for women.
Sayed Ahmed AlWadaei, Director of Advocacy at BIRD, said, “The UN must be given access to Bahrain and be permitted to investigate these reports of inhumane conditions at the women’s detention centre. What adds to these individuals’ suffering is that they have been subjected to torture and sexual abuse. Instead of releasing them and holding abusers to account, the prison authorities are punishing them while they are already imprisoned.”