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Family of Bahraini activist granted special visit, but concerned about health

DUBAI, Nov 10 (Reuters) – The family of a Bahraini activist sentenced to death was allowed physical contact with Mohammed Ramadhan for the first time in years during a prison visit this week, his wife said, although she added that she believes that he is not coping. medical treatment.

The family was among those who called on Pope Francis before his visit to Bahrain last week to speak out against the death penalty, which he did while stressing human rights.

Ramadhan’s wife, Zainab Ebrahim, who went to Jau Prison with their three children on Monday, said she did not know why they were given a “special visit”.

“It’s been years since we could touch him,” she told Reuters, adding that they were usually separated by a glass barrier.

“The children ran to him as soon as they saw him and they cried and screamed and hugged him.”

A government spokesman said in response to a Reuters query that visits to prisoners “may include private and extraordinary visits without glass or physical barriers”.

Ramadhan and another man, Husain Moosa, were sentenced to death in 2014 for the bombing of a convoy and the killing of a police officer in what rights groups say were convictions based on confessions extracted through torture.

Bahrain’s highest court upheld the sentences in 2020.

A UN human rights watchdog called on Bahrain last year to free and compensate the two men, saying they were being held arbitrarily.

The UN panel said it considered the two detained on the basis of their political opinion, because they had taken part in pro-democracy protests.

Bahrain, which crushed an anti-government uprising in 2011, rejected the report and said the hearings and appeals met all requirements of a fair trial.

Ramadhan’s wife said his requests for an external hospital visit for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for a lump on his neck were not granted, although he was taken to the prison clinic.

She said the lump was found about four months ago.

The government spokesman said: “The standard process before any scan, invasive diagnostics or treatment is for a patient to be seen and assessed by a healthcare professional.”

The spokesman said Ramadan had refused to attend a medical appointment on October 19 and that another was scheduled but “yet to take place”.

Reporting by Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Robert Birsel

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