Policeman dies in Bahrain jailbreak, manhunt for escaped ‘terrorists’ underway
Several “convicted terrorists” successfully managed to escape a prison facility in southern Bahrain, killing a policeman in the process, the gulf kingdoms’ Interior Ministry has confirmed. A manhunt is now underway to catch the fugitives, officials say.
The escape was made possible due to an “armed assault” on the Jau prison facility, the ministry said.
As a result, “several convicted terrorists escaped Jau prison, security and legal proceedings have been taken,” a message on the ministry’s official Twitter account reads.
PT: Several convicted terrorists escaped Jau prison, security and legal proceedings have been taken— Ministry of Interior (@moi_bahrain) January 1, 2017
Officials did not disclose the exact number of prisoners that managed to successfully flee. According to the Ministry, one police officer named Abdulsalam Saif died while “attempting to prevent some convicts’ escape.”
Jail break attempt at Jau prison, policeman Abdulsalam Saif died attempting to prevent some convicts' escape— Ministry of Interior (@moi_bahrain) 1. Januar 2017
Security forces have launched a manhunt to arrest “those involved in the escape,” and police have set up checkpoints across the kingdom to catch the fugitives, Gulf News reports.
Jau prison houses inmates charged or convicted of criminal offences, as well as undocumented migrants, says the Global Detention Project, a nonprofit research center in Geneva that investigates immigration detention.
The facility in question was the scene of a mass prison riot back in March of 2015, and, in January of last year, a Bahraini court sentenced 57 people to 15 years for taking part in that uprising.
Following the Jau prison riot, Bahrain’s Center for Human Rights issued a report entitled ‘Inside Jau: Government Brutality in Bahrain’s Central Prison,’ which stated that inmates in Jau and other Bahraini prisons face “psychological and physical torture, prevention of medical care.”
The report also pointed to “massive overcrowding” as a serious problem. The Jau inmates rioted against these conditions and were met with “excessive force,” the document states.
Bahrain was among the countries affected by the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ of 2011, when anti-government protests led to violent clashes with police, but were largely suppressed. Nevertheless, the anti-government unrest, which also focused on the human rights abuses, continued throughout the years that followed, but finally ended in violence and mass arrests.
Bahrain’s Shiite population became one of the driving forces behind the uprisings, accusing the Sunni-led government of undermining their rights and demanding more participation in ruling the kingdom.