Sue Bolton, Moreland councilor and member of Socialist Alliance in Australia, supported the calls by Bahraini human rights organizations to release the political prisoners from the jails in Bahrain.
In an interview with the Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights, Bolton noted that “the Bahraini government is following the footsteps of some other repressive governments in other parts of the world who are releasing prisoners convicted of criminal offenses, while keeping political prisoners in jail. This is a huge total human rights abuse to keep political prisoners in jail with great danger of catching the really horrific COVID-19 virus.”
Bolton said that Bahraini jails lack treatment and that medical treatment is withheld from prisoners as a form of punishment, indicating that “Coronavirus knows no boundaries and affects everybody.”
She stressed that the virus would spread like wildfire if it reaches the prisons. It will be a horrific death and like a death sentence for the prisoners who have other diseases, especially that it’s not possible for prisoners to follow any kind of physical distancing, Bolton stated.
Bolton indicated that the Bahraini government’s policy of allowing the virus to infect prisoners will lead to its transmission to the guards and then to their family members, and therefore to the rest of Bahraini society.
She added “The political parties in Bahrain have not harmed anyone or committed any crimes against anyone,” noting that their campaign “was in fact against violent crimes against ordinary Bahraini citizens.”
Bolton dubbed Sheikh Ali Salman “an absolute hero”, stressing that “he should never been put behind bars in the first place. It the first crime of the Bahraini government.”
She said that besides the human rights movements, we need people like him in society, because they are the ones who defend our rights around the world.
Speaking about Zakiya Al-Barbouri, Bahrain’s only female political detainee, Bolton said that “the reason the government arrested her was because they believed she was a threat,” noting that she was “being used as a hostage” by the authorities.
“You are heroes in your struggle against this authoritarian regime, and a part of the struggle for human rights in the world,” she said, noting that by developing international solidarity among all these movements “we will continue to work for human rights and democracy in the world.”
The interview comes within a series of interviews carried out by the GIDHR in the framework of #Release_Bahraini_Prisoners campaign, launched by a group of Bahraini activists on social media outlets, to call on the Bahraini authorities to release Bahraini prisoners amid serious concerns over the Coronavirus outbreak, specially that Bahrain’s prisons are still overcrowded with prisoners of conscience and political prisoners.