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DOZENS of political prisoners in Bahrain are on hunger strike, but the repressive Gulf monarchy’s foreign minister was welcomed to London for talks today.
Bahraini exiles gathered outside the Foreign Office in Whitehall to protest against the meeting between Tory Middle East Minister Andrew Murrison and Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed al-Khalifa.
They raised concerns that 26 prisoners in Bahrain are on a hunger strike that was launched last week by inmates on death row.
Prisoners are demanding the removal of glass screens that prevent physical contact with loved ones during visits.
The screens were installed after a mass breakout from Jau prison in 2017.
Prominent death row inmates include torture victim Mohammed Ramadan, whose blood sugar level has reportedly dropped, leaving him suffering from dizziness and chest pains.
Legal action charity Reprieve director Maya Foa said: “These reports are especially disturbing in light of the British government’s continued security assistance to Bahrain.
“The Bahraini ‘justice’ system is characterised by torture, forced confessions and arbitrary executions, yet UK authorities continue to support the system and downplay the gravity of the abuses.”
Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei of the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy said: “It is frightening to think that some of these inmates may not even be allowed to properly say goodbye to their families before they are executed.
“They are now putting their health at risk for the humane request to be able to hold their children during family visits.”
A Bahraini state-sponsored human rights body said the prisoners’ demands “do not comply with the administrative procedures” at the jail.
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