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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06MANAMA5 2006-01-02 11:52:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manama
Cable title:  

HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP MAKES FIRST EVER PRISON VISIT

Tags:   PREL PGOV PHUM KIRF BA REFORM HUMRIT 
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L MANAMA 000005 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/28/2015
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM KIRF BA REFORM HUMRIT
SUBJECT: HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP MAKES FIRST EVER PRISON VISIT
IN BAHRAIN

Classified By: DCM Susan L. Ziadeh for reasons 1.4(b) and (d).



1. (C) Summary: A delegation from Bahrain Human Rights
Society (BHRS), including Deputy Secretary General Dr.
Abdulla Al-Derazi, has made a visit to Jaw Prison for men,
representing the first time in Bahrain's history that a human
rights organization has been allowed access to the prison
system. Agreement on access to the prison came after more
than two years of requests and then months of discussions
between BHRS and the Ministry of Interior (MOI). The
Ministry has granted BHRS unlimited access to the prison
facilities, administrative staff and prisoners, during a
series of visits BHRS will conduct. BHRS expects to release
their final report on the delegation's visits in two month's
time. End summary.



2. (C) BHRS Deputy Secretary General Dr. Al-Derazi told
Poloff December 27 that a team of 15 members of BHRS,
including medical doctors, psychiatrists, lawyers and
academics, made the first ever visit to Jaw Prison by a human
rights organization on December 24. The team made a second
visit December 31. Dr. Al-Derazi described over two years of
requests to the MOI for access to Bahrain's Jaw Prison for
men. BHRS began sending letters to the Ministry in 2003
requesting meetings with some of Jaw Prison's over 450
prisoners but received no response to its requests. BHRS
featured these unanswered requests in its annual human rights
report. In mid-2005 the Ministry communicated to BHRS a
willingness to discuss the matter, and after several
meetings, the two sides agreed to parameters for the visits.
Per the agreement, Dr. Al-Derazi could not discuss details of
the visit, including prison conditions and allegations of
mistreatment, until BHRS releases its final report on the
visits. He did say, however, that BHRS will not white-wash
any of its findings. BHRS anticipates a late February or
early March 2006 report release date.



3. (C) Dr. Al-Derazi said that the MOI placed no conditions
on the delegation's visit. Prison officials permitted BHRS
members to meet with any of the prisoners they desired,
including the two prisoners on death row. In addition to the
BHRS delegation providing a list of specific individuals with
whom they wanted to speak, prison officials gave BHRS a list
of all inmates from which the delegation chose names at
random. According to Dr. Al-Derazi, no prisoners were
off-limits. BHRS members met privately with approximately 30
inmates on their first visit and another 40 on their second,
all out of hearing range of prison guards, so that prisoners
could talk freely. Over the course of several weeks, BHRS
will conduct a series of visits including unannounced visits.
After completing its review of Jaw prison, BHRS will request
access to both the women's prison and to the juvenile
detention center.



4. (C) Poloff December 28 contacted Graeme Dunkley,
Australian pastor of Awali Community Church
(non-denominational), who also visited Jaw Prison December
24, separately from the BHRS visit. As a Christian pastor,
Dunkley's intent was to meet a group of 15 Christian
prisoners for Christmas. Jaw Prison has four cell blocks;
sentence length determines to which block an inmate is
assigned. The prison warden is a police colonel whom Dunkley
described as very accommodating and welcoming. The warden
permitted Dunkley to bring in any kind of Christian
literature, clothing and toiletries for the inmates. Dunkley
also said that the warden welcomed contributions of religious
literature to any of the four libraries housed in each of the
prison's cell blocks.

MONROE