Reasons that Make Prisoners Release Urgent Necessity
2020-04-23 - 2:20 am
Bahrain Mirror: Bahrain has pardoned more than 900 prisoners after the Coronavirus outbreak, only one third of which are political detainees. Bahrain's prisons remain overcrowded with prisoners of conscience and political prisoners. More than 82,000 tweets have been posted under the hashtag Release_Bahraini_Prisoners during the campaign launched by Bahrainis in recent days. Why do Bahrainis insist on demanding the release of prisoners amid the Coronavirus pandemic?
1. Because the state is making a great effort to combat the spread of the virus, by imposing preventive measures such as preventing gatherings, emphasizing social isolation, imposing the wearing of masks in closed places of gathering and keeping a space of at least 1.5 meters. All of this cannot be implemented inside Bahraini prisons, which are most at risk from infectious diseases, and their conditions do not allow for physical separation.
2. Because the cells in which prisoners are piled up are similar to the crowded dwellings where expatriates are concentrated in. They are the most vulnerable place following expatriate residences, and the greatest threat to the spread of the epidemic, not only among prisoners, but also among prison officers.
3. It is more appropriate for the state to do so now, so that it does not have to do so late, if the disease spreads among prisoners and prison officers. And in order not to repeat the spread of the epidemic among expatriates, Bahrain had to use public schools as temporary residence for expatriates to reduce the overcrowding in unsanitary and unsafe housing.
4. Because more than 2,000 political prisoners are locked up in difficult conditions, with some prison administrations adopting denial of treatment as a means of torture or punishment, which led the health care in prisons to reach its lowest levels, which portends a disaster that would affect prisoners if COVID-19 reaches them.
5. Because a large number of prisoners live with diseases and health conditions that make their exposure to the virus a direct threat to their lives.
6. Because, in addition to the lives of thousands of prisoners which are threatened by the epidemic, emptying the prisons saves hundreds of thousands of dinars of the state's budget that it may be spent on the necessary screenings, treatment and isolation for all these numbers, if the disease spreads inside prisons.
7. Because thousands of prisoners cost the state millions of dinars a year, which the state can use to face the country's distressing economic situation.
8. Last but not least, because it is time to empty prisons of political prisoners, and take the opportunity amid this pandemic to open the page of national reconciliation, which has been stalled, and whose delay the country is no longer able to bear, especially in light of the consequences this pandemic will have on the economy and livelihood of citizens, and the need for genuine solidarity that would propel the nation politically, economically and socially.