Sunday, March 16, 2008

Ill prisoner's family 'kept in the dark'

Ill prisoner's family 'kept in the dark'

Published: 16th March 2008

RELATIVES of a prisoner are pleading with authorities for information on his health after he was transferred to the BDF Hospital suffering from kidney problems.

Abdulla Mohsin Abdulla, aged 30, was one of several men arrested in connection with violent clashes between police and protesters in December.

His sister Ezdihar says he developed kidney problems in custody and has since been admitted to the BDF Hospital.

However, she says the family has not been allowed to visit him or even speak to his doctor.
"Last week he developed a kidney problem and the prison doctor had told him to drink lots of water and to allow him to go to the bathroom," she said.
"However, prisoners are not allowed to go to the bathroom frequently except at scheduled times."

Ms Abdulla said the family was informed last week that her brother was feeling weak and had to be taken to hospital.
"We were told that he was admitted and under the care of a kidney specialist," she said yesterday.

"After that we were not informed of anything and we received no news of his health, so we decided to go to the hospital to find out.
"We went to the hospital, but were not allowed to meet the doctor or even ask him about Abdulla's condition."

She claims her brother was not at the scene of the violence, which erupted when 500 demonstrators took to Budaiya Highway late last year following a gathering in memory of Ali Jassim Makki, who died during an earlier riot in Ras Ruman.

The protesters vandalised public and private property, set fire to garbage bins and blocked roads. The demonstrators also set Jidhafs suq on fire and a private car was damaged.
Officers intervened to restore order and prevent rioters, who were using Molotov cocktails, iron rods and stones to attack police, from committing further acts of violence. A policeman sustained severe injuries in the clashes and rioters set a police vehicle on fire after stealing weapons from it.

Also arrested in the clashes was Mohammed Al Singace, who has reportedly refused to accept any more visitors in protest at his alleged inability to receive medical treatment.

His brother, Abduljalil, claimed police were not allowing him to receive treatment for a slipped disk, which he says he suffered during the clashes, in addition to low haemoglobin levels allegedly caused by malnutrition.

"A normal haemoglobin index level is 14 and my brother's index level is below 10," said Abduljalil.

He claimed his brother had reported seeing inmates abused in prison, an allegation the Interior Ministry has repeatedly denied.
"His refusal to see visitors is only to send a message. He threatened that he would go on hunger strike if he does not receive treatment."
He said his brother was now facing charges of rioting, illegal assembly, illegal possession of a weapon, theft of weapon and vandalism.
"None of these charges have been proven and as a matter of fact the alleged weapon is not there," he said. "The judge that took up the case asked where the weapon was and no one had any idea."

However, Interior Ministry inspector General Brigadier Ebrahim Al Ghaith once again dismissed allegations that prisoners had been mistreated and were not allowed access to a doctor yesterday.

"Their rights are being protected by law and all detainees have access to medical treatment 24 hours a day," he said.
"If they need more medical services, then they are referred to Salmaniya Medical Complex or the BDF Hospital."
© Gulf Daily News