Bahrainis Launch Campaign on Twitter Demanding Release of Political Prisoners before COVID-19 Takes Over
2020-04-07 - 7:21 p
Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Bahrainis voiced an urgent appeal via Twitter demanding the authorities in Manama to release political prisoners to save them from the risk of contracting the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
More than 22,000 tweets have been posted, until the moment of writing this report, as part of a media campaign launched by families of political prisoners and human rights activists.
The campaign included videos of mothers and children calling on the authorities to release their imprisoned loved ones.
There are more than 3,000 political prisoners in Bahrain, who have repeatedly complained over the past nine years of medical negligence and lack of access to health care, which caused the prevalence of diseases among them, despite the fact that the vast majority of them are young.
The emotional video, posted by the mother of three prisoners, one of whom Ali Abbas, who is believed to be suffering from COVID-19, left an echo in the Bahraini community. The mother pleaded with the authorities to hear her voice.
"At a time when, we and the world, are aware of the conditions in Bahraini prisons and their poor environment as well as the consequences of the Coronavirus outbreak inside prisons, the authorities' act of stalling the release of prisoners in Bahrain makes no sense," tweeted Al-Wefaq Deputy Secretary-General, Sheikh Hussein Al-Daihi.
For his part, Yousif Al-Jamri wondered if even "the Prime Minister of Great Britain became infected with Coronavirus, then what would the situation of prisoners be!?"
Meanwhile, opposition leader Ibrahim Sharif wrote: "Why are we focusing our campaign on the release of prisoners? It's because most prisoners in Bahrain are arrested over political grounds, because prison is overcrowded to the extent that it is impossible to implement social distancing, because the police and staff get in contact with the people outside prison and then with prisoners, and because confronting the pandemic with its near and far consequences requires putting an end to division and unifying efforts."
"We have closed everything to devote ourselves to our global battle against a fierce enemy who wants to kill us all, who does not care about our sectarian and political affiliations. We closed schools, restaurants, shopping malls, aviation and travel agencies, and one thing remained: the issue of prisoners and exiles. It's time for reconciliation," he added.
President of Salam Organization, Jawad Fairooz, appealed to the international human rights bodies and organizations and the free people in the world "to show solidarity with us and with the families of prisoners and participate in the campaign to demand the release of prisoners, in light of the fear of the Coronavirus outbreak in Bahrain's prisons, which are overcrowded with prisoners". Fairooz further emphasized the need to release prisoners of conscience in particular.
"I demand the release of my son and other prisoners as the Coronavirus spreads, but I stress on giving the priority to prisoner Zakiya Al-Barbouri, as she is a mother and the remaining female prisoner of conscience," activist Ali Mhanna commented.
Dozens of families published photos of their imprisoned loved ones and called for their release.