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A Moroccan Felon Perpetrated the Attack Against Female Bahraini Prisoners of Opinion

2016-30-11--00-06-23

Right to Left, detainees: Maasouma AlSayyid (arrested since 26/7/2016), Tayba Ismail (arrested since 26/6/2016, & Tayba Darwish (arrested since 14/5/2014)

Bahraini human rights activist Ebtesam AlSaegh has confirmed that a Moroccan female prisoner convicted of a criminal offense perpetrated the attack against three female Bahraini prisoners of opinion incarcerated at the Isa Town Women’s Prison a few days ago. The families of three prisoners of opinion, Tayba Ismail, Tayba Darwish, and Maasouma AlSayyid, affirmed that their daughters received death threats and were attacked by a sharp object wielded by a Moroccan prisoner who is serving a sentence after being convicted of a crime of moral turpitude. The Moroccan prisoner in question has proven to be a ringleader of an entire network whose members were also guilty of committing similar crimes of moral turpitude.

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Detainee Tayba Darwish’s three children

It is worth noting that detainee Tayba Ismail, a mother of two sentenced to a year for alleged “lèse-majesté” in her Tweets, was stabbed by the Moroccan prisoner numerous times in the face, and she also sustained multiple stab wounds on different parts of her body. The Moroccan prison also “assaulted” detainee Maasouma AlSayyid, who is serving six months for “illegal assembly”, and she was “bashed Maasoua against the wall”. Detainee Maasouma was transferred to the hospital along with Tayba Ismail. Detainee Tayba Darwish, a mother of three sentenced to five years, also received death threats from the same assailant.

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Detainee Tayba Ismail and her two toddlers

Detainee Tayba Ismail’s spouse, who was able to see her for five minutes one day after the attack, was told by her that the Moroccan prisoner “has perpetrated similar attacks against other detainees, and she especially targets prisoners of conscience. As a result, the prison has become an unsafe place, even more so for prisoners of conscience,” because the Moroccan prisoner openly threatens them, flaunting her connections to high-ranking officials. According to statements made by the Moroccan prisoner in question, she “can do literally do anything, even murder [the prisoners of conscience], since she is protected and has immunity thanks to her said connections and relationships with high-ranking officials. The worst that could possibly be done to her would be extraditing her back to Morocco”. In fact, even after the latest attack she perpetrated, Bahraini authorities took no disciplinary action except placing the assailant in solitary confinement for a week only! It is expected that the assailant will be returned to the same prison cell as her victims next week.

The families of the victims of this vicious attack demand that their daughters, all prisoners of conscience, be transferred to a separate facility or building, isolated from prisoners convicted of felonies, in order to protect them from such attacks. The families also expressed their concern for the health and physical well-being of their detained daughters, since the felons they are incarcerated with are mostly convicted of crimes of moral turpitude, and therefore suffer from various sexually transmitted diseases, some of which are contagious. These families fear that their daughters are being exposed to such diseases as well as otherwise unsanitary conditions due to the fact that the authorities have failed to incarcerate felons separately from prisoners of opinion.

Based on the aforementioned, the Bahraini German Organization for Human Rights & Democracy (BGO) calls for the immediate and unconditional release of the female prisoners of conscience who were arrested, tried, and sentenced for merely exercising their internationally guaranteed right to freedom of opinion. BGO also holds the Bahraini authorities accountable for the safety and well-being of the prisoners of conscience, as the authorities have an obligation to guarantee the safety of the prisoners of conscience and provide a safe environment behind bars, both physically and psychologically. This is best accomplished by separating the convicted felons from the prisoners of conscience who government insists on incarcerating. In addition, incarcerating prisoners of conscience with convicted felons is considered to be a psychological torture tactic employed by the authorities against the prisoners of conscience and their families because it places these prisoners at risk of danger and bodily harm, especially since they have received credible death threats from the felon who carried out an attack against them. Furthermore, the authorities are jeopardizing the health and physical well-being of the prisoners of conscience by housing them in the same prison cells as convicted felons diagnosed with contagious sexually transmitted diseases.

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