The Embassy would like to offer more clarity regarding the healthcare and treatment received by Mr. Rajab whilst in detention.
Mr. Rajab’s medical condition required a surgical procedure which was performed at the Bahrain Defence Force (BDF) Hospital on 3 October 2016. The necessary healthcare provisions were made available to Mr. Rajab during transfer to and from medical appointments during this time.
In April 2017, Mr. Rajab was transferred to hospital upon his request. His health condition required laboratory tests to be sent outside of the Kingdom of Bahrain. Those tests were completed through the BDF Hospital. Costs amounting to BHD 533 (£1,176) were incurred by the Ministry of Interior.
On 4 April 2017, following a complaint of pain, Mr. Rajab was taken to the surgical department at the BDF Hospital for examination, where it was determined he was suffering from a urological/colorectal condition. An operation was conducted on 5 April 2017 and Mr. Rajab was discharged on 7 April 2017, on the condition that he be returned to the hospital on a daily basis for wound care and follow-up. On 8 April 2017, Mr. Rajab requested that he be taken to the Public Security Forces Clinic for post-operation follow-up and was granted his request.
On 8 April 2017, during a family visit, Mr. Rajab complained of bleeding in the area of the surgery. He was asked if he preferred to receive care from a healthcare facility other than the BDF Hospital, including private clinics. Mr. Rajab requested to attend the Public Security Forces Clinic and was taken there by ambulance on conclusion of his family visit. He was admitted into the clinic and arrangements were made for his family to visit on a daily basis.
Mr. Rajab attended medical consultations on 11 July 2017, 8 August 2017, 13 August 2017 and 17 August 2017 for prescriptions and follow-up.
On 22 August 2017, Mr. Rajab was found to have Hypothyriodism following consultation with a private specialist doctor. His health condition was treated and Mr. Rajab received the appropriate follow-up care.
On 8 August 2017, Mr. Rajab sent a letter to the Minister of Interior expressing thanks and appreciation for the care received by the clinical team:
“I write this letter to thank Your Excellency and to express the positive feeling I felt while I was receiving treatment at the clinic of the Ministry of Interior. This is something I think it should be acknowledged and highlighted to encourage the staff to achieve further development, growth and reformation. I would like also in this letter to show my appreciation for the compassionate treatment I received by all employees of the clinic; physicians and nurses, and their ongoing follow up of my health and psychological condition. I felt like I was living within my family members.”
On 25 October 2017, Mr. Rajab was discharged by his doctor after it was determined that a full recovery had been made following a minor surgery. Mr. Rajab left the clinic freely, without being handcuffed as has been alleged, and with all his belongings. The allegations surrounding his discharge are false and are disproved by CCTV evidence.
Upon his return and readmission into Jau Prison, Mr. Rajab was subject to a routine search and his head was shaved, in-line with standard readmission procedures designed to protect nmates and staff. The appropriate privacy and decency protections remained in place.
Regarding the allegation that Mr. Rajab’s cell was strip searched during the night, Ministry of Interior CCTV footage clearly shows that the search was conducted on the entire prison wing with the use of metal detectors-only. There were no strip searches and no acts of misconduct were committed.
The Embassy contacted the Independent Ombudsman regarding the issue of random searches of prison wings and cellblocks at night. The Ombudsman’s response was that:
“Whilst it is regrettable that night time random searches disturb sleeping inmates, you will appreciate that illicit substances and weapons in prison cause terrible tragedies and searches are regrettably very necessary.”
It is worth nothing that oversight bodies such as the Independent Ombudsman and the Prisoner and Detainee Rights Commission (PDRC) are in place to independently investigate any allegations of mistreatment and to make the necessary recommendations.