Husain Barakat, political prisoner of Bahrain, dies of COVID-19 | Coronavirus pandemic news

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Husain Barakat, 48, died after contracting the virus at Jau Prison, where an outbreak of coronavirus disease began in March.

A political prisoner serving a life sentence in Bahrain has died after hiring COVID-19, the interior ministry and activists said on Wednesday as the Gulf state struggles with rising infections.

Bahrain has come under pressure from human rights organizations over prison conditions, including overcrowding, poor sanitation and lack of medical care.

Since the outbreak of the disease in Jau, Bahrain’s main prison, in March, families have held small protests demanding the release of political prisoners and better conditions. In April there was a violent confrontation between guards and prisoners after the prisoners protested the conditions.

The Interior Ministry said on Wednesday that Husain Barakat, 48, who had been completely vaccinated against COVID-19 in March, had died after becoming infected with the virus.

He was transferred from prison to Salmaniya Hospital on May 29, he said. Barakat’s family said he was placed on a fan in an ICU unit.

Britain-based human rights group Bahrain Institute of Rights and Democracy (IBRD) said Barakat was a political prisoner detained in Jau.

Barakat was sentenced in 2018, along with 53 other people, to life in prison in a mass trial of 138 defendants accused by authorities of belonging to a “terrorist” cell, BIRD said.

Citizenship was also withdrawn, which was later restored by royal decree, BIRD said.

His son was also arrested at age 16 and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The Interior Ministry said Barakat had received medical attention and regular phone calls while in prison.

Bahraini human rights activist Maryam Khawaja, whose father is imprisoned in Jau, said Barakat told his wife during his last phone call that he could not breathe and that he would “die.”

The Euro-Mediterranean Gulf Monitor has called for an immediate and independent investigation into the incident.

“Since the coronavirus broke out in Bahrain’s prisons, and despite the authorities being asked to make more serious efforts to stop the spread of the virus among detainees, no health care has been provided to detainees, no measures have been implemented preventive detention in prisons and authorities continued the policy of deliberate medical abandonment, ”the monitor said on Twitter.

The dissolved Bahraini opposition group al-Wefaq has called for the release of prisoners of conscience since the start of the pandemic.

Bahrain has released some prisoners considered at risk, such as pregnant women, in response to the pandemic.

The new daily cases of COVID-19 increased to record highs in mid to late May, reaching more than 3,000 new cases per day, after falling below 200 per day by the end of the year. past. Bahrain said on Tuesday that 1,279 new cases had been reported, with 18 deaths.

The Bahraini government, which denies torture in prisons, has said it offered vaccinations to all prisoners and that appropriate measures were taken to deal with COVID-19 outbreaks.





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