Ombudsman’s Office response to an organization's inquiries regarding an inmate
The Ombudsman Office followed up on a statement issued by an international organization published on 11 September 2019 raising a number of allegations regarding the situation of the inmate Abduljalil Al-Singace. The allegations focused on “inhuman denial of urgent medical treatment” and that the “prison’s administration informed him (the inmate) that they had ‘changed their mind’ and refused to allow him attending the medical appointment.”
Out of its commitment to professionalism, objectivity and honesty, the Ombudsman Office wishes to clarify to the public the following:
• The Ombudsman Office has not received any complaint from the inmate regarding his recent denial of health care. On the contrary, whenever the Ombudsman Office attempted to interview him, the inmate refused to deal with the Office.
• The Ombudsman Office has reviewed Al Singace’s medical records, which showed his health condition at the Reform and Rehabilitation Center and the diagnosis it on more than one occasion, as well as the prescribed medications to him and the treatment he receives, which confirmed the following:
− The inmate is subject to continuous follow-up on his health condition at the medical clinic in the Reform and Rehabilitation Center and at the specialized clinics in the Royal Medical Services Hospital. The inmate’s health condition is also followed up by the General Security Medical Clinic where 258 medical appointments were scheduled for him which he refused to attend a number of them.
− The inmate’s health is continuously followed-up with at the medical clinic at the Jau Reform and Rehabilitation Center, where he was examined during the month of August 2019 until 10 September 2019 seven times.
− On 26 and 27 August, the inmate said that he suffers from chest pain in the left and right sides. He was given an electrocardiogram (ECG) and various medical examinations which were normal. Furthermore, to increase his reassurance, he was transferred to the Royal Medical Services Hospital in the Cardiology Clinic. The inmate was not diagnosed with any heart disease in the past.
− On 2 September 2019, the inmate refused to go to his medical appointment to follow up on his health and the doctor treating him requested a new transfer to the Cardiology Clinic in order to provide more assurance on his condition.
− As a result of his examination at the medical clinic in Reform and Rehabilitation Center on September 10 2019, it was confirmed that the inmate does not suffer of any chest pain and that his heart and circulatory system, respiratory system, digestive system, and the nervous system are functioning normally. An ECG was done on the inmate and the results were normal.
− In general, the medical report confirmed that the inmate's health is stable and appropriate treatment is provided regularly.
• The Ombudsman Office asked the Reform and Rehabilitation Center’s administration regarding the reason of which the inmate did not attend his referred medical appointment at an external hospital. In response, the Center’s administration stated that the inmate refused to attend in protest to being handcuffed while he was transferred out of the Center, which is the usual procedure followed with all inmates. In addition, the Center’s administration added that the inmate's position is against the policy and regulations of the Reform and Rehabilitation Center which stipulates that all inmates are handcuffed before they are allowed to transfer from one building to another within the Center except in cases of emergency or urgent situations.
• With regard to the organization's demand for the immediate and unconditional release of the said inmate, as well as the so-called “other prisoners of conscience”, the Ombudsman Office is surprised by this approach, especially as it is not relevant to the core subject of the organization's statement, which is health care provided to the inmate. Moreover, this constitutes a clear interference in the work of the Judicial Authority, an independent authority in the Kingdom of Bahrain.