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A BRITISH-BACKED jail in Bahrain is denying medical treatment to a frail political prisoner, including diagnosis for a lump on her breast, London relatives have told the Morning Star.
The harsh treatment comes despite British diplomats spending millions of pounds training Bahraini security forces to raise their human rights standards, including in prison healthcare.
Hajer Mansoor Hassan, 50, was arrested after her son-in-law protested against the King of Bahrain’s visit to Downing Street in 2016.
Ms Hassan has been kept behind bars at Bahrain’s Isa Town womens’ jail since then, a punishment UN experts regard as “unlawful.”
Relatives in London are seriously concerned about her health — and fear that she has breast cancer.
They say she noticed a lump in her breast six months ago, but has not received any medical treatment from the prison authorities.
The lump has now grown in size and they are demanding immediate access to a mammogram.
Her daughter, Duaa, told this paper: “It’s been difficult to cope without knowing the fate of my mother. Some nights I can’t sleep.
“My mother’s suffering could end today if she was granted access to medical care.”
The situation is particularly embarrassing for the British government, which is closely allied to the Gulf dictatorship.
The Foreign Office paid for British experts to spend over 800 days training Bahraini prison staff.
The training included reviewing healthcare procedures, such as “routine protocols for administration of daily medications in the cell locations” and “medicines management.”
Ms Hassan’s son-in-law Sayed Ahmed AlWadaei is scathing of the British training which he claims is used to “whitewash” Bahrain’s human rights record.
Mr AlWadaei runs the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) from exile in London where he has become a thorn in the side of the Middle Eastern tyranny.
He told the Star: “Britain’s special relationship with the Bahraini dictatorship should not come at our suffering.”
British training had actually “emboldened the Bahraini government to escalate their punishment,” he said.
Several MPs, including Labour’s Lloyd Russell-Moyle, have written to the Foreign Secretary warning that the “medical negligence” of Ms Hassan is “unacceptable by any international standards.”
The department says it has raised her case “at a senior level with the government of Bahrain” and claims that it has “received categorical assurances” from the Bahraini authorities that Ms Hassan’s imprisonment is not related to her son-in-law’s activism.
Bahrain’s prison ombudsman, another recipient of British training, has told the family that their concerns are “under investigation.”
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