Bahrain: Medical negligence leaves prisoners in agony, puts lives at risk


A new investigation by Amnesty International has revealed a shocking pattern of medical negligence in Bahrain’s prison system, where individuals with serious conditions like cancer, multiple sclerosis and sickle-cell anaemia are being denied specialist care and pain medication. 

The reports we heard from prisoners’ relatives paint a stark picture of medical negligence and intentional ill-treatment in Bahrain’s prisons
Devin Kenney, Amnesty International’s GCC researcher

The organization spoke to relatives or family members of 11 prisoners, held in various detention facilities around the country, and received credible reports of a healthcare system marred by negligence, delays and arbitrary exercise of authority.

“The reports we heard from prisoners’ relatives paint a stark picture of medical negligence and intentional ill-treatment in Bahrain’s prisons. Although medical treatment is provided, it is far from adequate, and prisoners are frequently subjected to disruptions, delays and needless, petty cruelty,” said Devin Kenney, Amnesty International’s GCC researcher.

We are urging Bahrain’s authorities to take immediate steps to ensure all those in state custody can access adequate health care, as they are obliged to do under international law
Devin Kenney

“In one appalling case, a man with stage-three cancer was sent back to prison just days after a biopsy – the same individual recently had to wait for more than a month for his medication. Another man has lost at least seven teeth since being detained, due to denial of dental treatment. We are urging Bahrain’s authorities to take immediate steps to ensure all those in state custody can access adequate health care, as they are obliged to do under international law.” said Devin Kenney.

Amnesty International is calling on the authorities at Jaw prison, the women’s jail and prison at Isa Town, and all other places of detention in Bahrain, to abide by international human rights law and standards in their treatment of detainees and prisoners. They must ensure that detainees and prisoners enjoy the standards of health care that is available in the community, without discrimination.

Read full investigation here