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Bahrain prison protests spread ‎

5 August 2010 2:38

The situation in Bahrain jails has become worrisome as protests for basic rights are spreading to other jails, human rights activists say.

On Sunday, at least 70 prisoners in Bahrain’s central prison in Jaw, south of the capital, took part in a protest demanding basic rights, with some even going on a hunger strike.

The protests have now spread to other jails, including the Criminal Investigation Directorate jail, located in the capital. Prison authorities as well as riot police have cracked down on the striking inmates in order to quell the protest, the German news agency DPA reported on Wednesday.

There have been no reports of casualties so far.

Following the severe crackdown, human rights activists and families have expressed fear over the prisoners’ conditions as visits to inmates have been banned since 2005. Even requests to visit the prisons have been ignored.

The prison population, which stood at 474 in 2005, is now over 1,300 this year, Bahrain Human Rights Society (BHRS) Secretary-General Abdullah al-Durazi told DPA.

The BHRS is hoping to convene a meeting between officials and relatives later this week.

In March, the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) Progress Report complained that prisoners are at a higher risk due TO the “sub-optimal health conditions in the prisons, and prevalent drug habits.”

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