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Ombudsman investigates eight custodial deaths

Bahrain News
Fri, 15 Sep 2017

EIGHT custodial deaths, including one woman, were investigated by the Ombudsman Office from May 1, 2016 until April 30 this year.

Details were included in the watchdog’s latest annual report, which documented four deaths at Jaw Prison, three at Salmaniya Medical Complex and one at the BDF Hospital.

Three were due to heart attack and one was a result of chronic disease, while the four cases recorded at Jaw Prison are still being investigated.

Ombudsman Office secretary general Nawaf Al Ma’awda said the watchdog previously issued recommendations relating to the supply and management of illicit substances; care of vulnerable detainees and inmates; and arrangements following a healthcare emergency.

“Many of the concerns that led to these recommendations have been evident again in death investigations this year,” said Mr Al Ma’awda in the report.

“l urge the Interior Ministry and the Health Ministry to urgently develop a joint plan for the full implementation of these recommendations.”

The report calls for protocol for responding to medical emergencies in prison facilities, availability of resuscitation equipment and staff trained to use it.

Furthermore, the watchdog urged authorities to ensure arrangements for healthcare workers to attend the scene of an emergency, first aid training for prison staff and management of illicit substances and non-prescribed medication.

The body recommends drug tests on inmates and efforts to identify those with a history of illicit substance abuse and provide treatment.

It said prison staff should also be trained to identify inmates who abuse substances.