On 1 August, Ali Mushaima, the son of Bahraini political leader Hassan Mushaima (70), started a hunger strike outside the Bahraini Embassy in London to protest the prison conditions his father is subjected to while serving his life sentence in Jau Prison, Bahrain.
BREAKING: Activist Ali Mushaima declared a hunger strike to protest his father’s degrading treatment by authorities in #JauPrison.
— BIRD (@BirdBahrain_) August 1, 2018
- 1 August: Ali Mushaima began his hunger strike to protest against the prison conditions that his father, Bahraini political leader Hassan Mushaima (70), is subjected to while serving his life sentence in Jau Prison, Bahrain.
- The Bahraini Embassy issued a deceiving statement, in which they claimed to provide him with the best possible health care. (To know more about Hassan Mushaima, read joint statement by BIRD and ECDHR.)
- Other imprisoned political leaders such as Abdulwahab Husain, Dr AbdulJalil Alsingace, and Shiekh Abduljalil Almuqdad, are suffering from similar problems.
- 2 August: Fellow imprisoned political leaders confirmed that Hassan Mushaima’s and Abdulwahhab Hussain’s blood sugar levels are dangerously high and they are running out of medicine because they refuse to be humiliated to get the medical care they need.
- 3 August: It is the 3rd day of Ali’s hunger strike. He spent yet another night outside the Bahraini Embassy in London. None of his demands have been met: his father continues to be denied medical care unless he agrees to the humiliating treatment; he has yet to be given family visitation rights; and he continues to be denied access to books and other reading material.
- The Guardian published an opinion piece wherein Ali discussed the plight of his father and the UK’s complicity to Hassan’s degrading treatment.
- 5 August: Metropolitan police halted the projection of photos of Hassan Mushaima on the building of the Bahrain Embassy under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
- 6 August: Ali is embarking upon the sixth day of his hunger strike. His body weight has now dropped by five kilograms as he continues to brave the heatwave by remaining outside of the Bahraini Embassy. None of his demands have been met.
- Amnesty International issued a statement condemning the ‘cruel denial of medical treatment’ which is endangering the lives of jailed activists, including Hassan Mushaima.
- Hassan Mushaima, was a founding member and Deputy Secretary-General of the political party Al-Wefaq from 2002-2006, which was dissolved in 2016. In 2006, he withdrew from Al-Wefaq to establish and lead the Haq movement until his imprisonment in March 2011, when he was then sentenced to life in prison.
- Hassan Mushaima suffers from high blood pressure, diabetes, gout, and a urinary tract infection, as well as being a former lymphoma cancer patient.
Hassan Mushaima’s prison conditions are in violation of the universal standard set by the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (Mandela Rules). He has repeatedly been denied access to:
- Adequate medical care and has difficulties in accessing health checks. Mr Mushaima requires regular scans as he is in remission for lymphoma cancer. Despite it being a necessity, prison authorities have not allowed him to attend a check-up since September 2016. He also suffers from diabetes, but prison authorities ignored the doctor’s advice to consult a diabetes specialist and have delayed the administration of his medication, which he last received 4 months ago.
- Family visitations resulting from the degrading treatment he is subjected to. Under current prison regulations, the authorities shackle inmates whenever they leave their cells, even for medical appointments. This humiliating procedure is reserved specifically for those who are guilty of exercising their right to freedom of expression. As a result, Mr Mushaima has not seen his family since February 2017.
- Books and other reading material, including the Quran.
- The United Nations (UN) have called for Hassan Mushaima’s release;
- Amnesty International (AI): has labelled him a “prisoner of conscience” ;
- Human Rights Watch (HRW) condemned the humiliating treatment he is subjected to for being a political prisoner.
- Amnesty International (AI): condemned the degrading treatment of Hassan Mushaima as it puts his life at risk
The British Government is aware of Hassan Mushaima’s case. However, they have failed to take any actions and have merely raised his case “at a senior level” with the Bahraini authorities.
Ali Mushaima sent letters to:
- His MP, Mike Freer
- Lord Scriven and Karen Lee MP
- All the appeals from the international human rights community (UN, AI, HRW) calling for Mr Mushaima’s release have fallen on deaf ears.
- A few hours after Ali Mushaima started the hunger strike, the Bahraini Embassy in London issued a statement responding to Mark Freer MP’s concerns. This statement is extremely misleading as to Hassan Mushaima’s current health condition and access to medication.
UK Training to Bahrain:
- Since 2012, the UK government has provided £5 million-worth of technical assistance to Bahrain in support of its ‘reform programme’, which seeks to build effective and accountable institutions, strengthen the rule of law, and ensure police and justice reform. Since the implementation of this programme, however, Bahrain has witnessed a dramatic human rights deterioration, including of prison conditions.
Any actions in support of Ali Mushaima can make a difference. You can help Ali by:
- Writing a letter to your MP urging them to raise Hassan Mushaima’s case with the Bahraini authorities (draft letter here)
- Visiting Ali Mushaima outside the Bahraini Embassy in London and posting a photo on social media adding the following:
— Sam Walton (@SamWalton) August 1, 2018