DUBAI: Twelve prison guards in Bahrain have been charged with physically assaulting inmates, the authorities said yesterday, a rare move in the kingdom which has witnessed sporadic unrest since 2011.
The Special Investigation Unit, a public prosecution commission tasked with investigating government officials and employees, said it received on April 11 complaints of “assault” in Jaw prison south of the capital Manama. “Twelve security (personnel), including two officers, were charged (with assault) and transferred to court,” the commission said after investigating the allegations. It said the court will hold its first hearing on May 20.
In a separate incident, a security guard this year was sentenced to six months in jail after being charged with assault, the commission said, without disclosing the date of his arrest. It said it had received 29 complaints of “torture, mistreatment, and use of excessive force” in the first four months of this year, adding that 67 security personnel were questioned. Bahrain, home to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, has been gripped by bouts of unrest since 2011, when authorities cracked down on Shiiteled protests demanding political reform. Since then, hundreds of protesters have been jailed and those convicted of terrorism offences have been stripped of their nationality. Bahrain accuses Iran of inciting protests among its Shiite citizens. Tehran denies the accusation. — AFP