It said in a statement issued yesterday that claims that Hassan Mushaima, who is serving a life sentence for trying to topple Bahrain’s government in 2011, has been denied all appropriate treatment and healthcare were inaccurate.
It also referred to the independent investigation undertaken by the Ombudsman Office into these allegations as well as regarding Mr Mushaima’s access to family visits and access to reading material.
“The Ombudsman found that Mr Mushaima was not being denied healthcare, but that he was refusing to attend appointments because prison regulations required inmates to wear handcuffs to attend appointments outside his prison building,” said the embassy in the statement.
“The Ombudsman noted that prison authorities had stated that, on an exceptional basis, Mr Mushaima would be escorted to his appointments without handcuffs.
“The investigation further found that allegations concerning denial of family visits and deprivation of reading material were not substantiated, and that Mr Mushaima was being offered his full rights of visitation and reading material in accordance with applicable prison regulations.”
The embassy also referred to remarks made by British MP Alistair Burt, who is the Minister of State for the Middle East at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, during a recent debate on Bahrain’s rights record in Westminster Hall.
Mr Burt said, following inquiries concerning Mr Mushaima’s healthcare, that the UK government had “received categorical assurances that, in his case and others, there is and has been access to appropriate medical care while in detention”.
The embassy added that the Bahrain government fully stood by such assurances, and would continue to extend full healthcare and treatment to all those in custody, including Mr Mushaima.
The GDN reported last week that the Ombudsman Office’s investigator met Mr Mushaima at Jaw Prison to speak to him directly about four main points – access to medical care, family visits, access to books and alleged inappropriate
removal of books from his cell.
The watchdog said that during the interview Mr Mushaima said he was not permitted to attend family visits because he was not willing to be searched or handcuffed, and also said that he used to have visits for four hours each month that were now reduced to two hours monthly.
The Ombudsman stated that Article 17 of the Bahrain prison law regarding the visiting rights of inmates or detainees states that each inmate has the right to have either two visits in a month for a maximum of one hour each visit or one visit every week lasting half an hour.