Bahrain prison inmates are taking part in a hunger strike over conditions there, activists and authorities said Wednesday, the latest sign of simmering unrest in the island kingdom a decade after the Arab Spring.
The strike targets the Jaw Rehabilitation and Reform Center, a facility holding many of the prisoners identified by human rights activists as dissidents who oppose the rule of the Al Khalifa family. The country’s Sunni rulers long have faced complaints from the island’s Shiite majority of discrimination.
In a statement published by the outlawed Al-Wefaq opposition group, the prisoners said they started the hunger strike over what it described as prison officials blocking inmates from worshipping and 23-hour lockdowns daily. It also alleged prison officials put inmates in isolation arbitrarily, interfered with family visits and provided inadequate health care to those incarcerated.
“Our demands are not trifles, but very necessary and required for human life, even at the lowest levels known to human history,” the prisoners’ statement read.