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Bahrain has announced an expansion of certain human rights provisions for individuals within its prison system in response to a mass hunger strike involving hundreds of prisoners in the


Last month, detainees initiated a hunger strike by releasing a statement through a banned opposition party. Their demands included extending the daily one-hour time limit outside their cells, permitting group prayers at the prison mosque, easing restrictions on family visits, improving educational facilities, and ensuring access to proper medical care.

Reports from AFP indicate that Bahraini authorities have responded positively to the hunger strike. The Interior Ministry disclosed that the government will now "increase the duration of visitations" and is considering extending the outdoor time for inmates.

However, the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), based in the UK, dismissed these changes as inadequate. Sayed Alwadaei, the advocacy director of BIRD, stated to AFP that "This offer is too little, too late. It comes after 22 days of Bahrain's biggest hunger strike in its prison history."

Alwadaei emphasized that the hunger strike will persist until the government genuinely and sincerely addresses the detainees' concerns. BIRD reports that at least 800 detainees are participating in the hunger strike, a significant increase from the approximately 500 who initially joined. Many of these detainees are purportedly dissidents who were arrested and detained during the Bahraini security forces' crackdown on widespread protests in 2011.

Bahrain's government has consistently denied allegations of ongoing mistreatment and abuses of prisoners. The country's General Directorate of Reform and Rehabilitation conveyed to the news agency that "all inmates have the right to non-violent protest, and additional care and advice have been extended to them."

The Directorate underscored its focus on resolving the situation to safeguard the health and well-being of the concerned inmates. It affirmed that "all inmates are guaranteed their full rights," including medical services and three meals per day. It further stated that none of the participating detainees in the protest have required critical medical attention. Photo by Al Jazeera English, Wikimedia commons.