Riot police arrest families of Bahraini political prisoners staging sit-in

Riot police arrest families of Bahraini political prisoners staging sit-in
Families of Bahraini prisoners staged a sit-in outside the Jau prison but were met with a heavy-handed crackdown.
2 min read
02 May, 2024
Riot police arrest families of Bahraini political prisoners on Thursday [Getty]

Riot police arrested a number of people staging a sit-in protest outside Bahrain’s Jau prison on Thursday and forcefully dispersed the rally.  

According to the London-based non-profit organisation, Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), the protest was peaceful but was quickly dispersed.

The protest was launched at around 10 a.m. Bahrain local time, with the families chanting for the release of prisoners, some of whom they say were on death row.

"At least two women were arrested, and later called their families to be taken from Eastern Riffa station. It is unclear if those arrested and released will face criminal charges," BIRD said in a statement.

Bahrain’s ministry of interior also issued a statement saying appropriate legal steps were taken against a group of people "violating the law" and "continuing their illegal violations despite the warnings more than once".

The statement also said that the public prosecution was notified.

In videos published online, riot police could be seen grabbing the protesters and removing them from the location.

In early April, around 600 political prisoners were released in Bahrain in the biggest royal pardon since the 2011 Bahraini protests.

Recent riots inside the prisons made the expense of keeping so many behind bars a burden on the state, some media reports said.

Bahrain has imprisoned thousands of protesters, journalists and activists - some in mass trials - since 2011.

It says it prosecutes those who commit crimes in accordance with international law and rejects criticism from the United Nations and others over the conduct of trials and detention conditions.

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Bahrain has a Shia Muslim majority and is ruled by a Sunni royal family. It is the only one of the Gulf monarchies to have faced serious unrest during the Arab Spring protests that swept the Middle East and North Africa in 2011.