As if it is not enough of human rights abuses engulfing the Bahraini Kingdom that the 50 years old Hajer Hassan was tortured in a local prison as punishment for a relative telling British MPs about the Gulf state’s human rights abuses.
The lady was subjected to the brutal reprisal in Isa Town prison five days after a parliamentary debate on the mistreatment of political prisoners in the country.
She was singled out for a severe beating because her son-in-law, Sayed Alwadaei, had briefed a group of MPs about what was happening in Bahrain before the debate started.
She was also rushed to hospital with bruises to her hands and back following the attack, and her blood sugar level had also dropped to a dangerous level.
Meanwhile, Mr. Alwadaei said the debate on September 11 was attended by two representatives from the Bahrain embassy who heard politicians discuss his testimony.
It led to a group of 14 MPs, from all parties, writing to the Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt this week to complain that Bahrain, an ally of Britain, was trying to stop its critics testifying to the UK parliament.
In this respect, Tory MP Peter Bottomley said: ‘If one of our allies responds to a debate in the House of Commons by mistreating the relatives of someone who has informed it, that is a direct challenge to the strength of the UK-Bahrain relationship. That people providing information to MPs should have their families treated in this way is unacceptable’.
In the letter, which was also sent to the Speaker and Leader of the House, the MP’s mocked the ‘extraordinary statement’ released by the Bahraini authorities which claimed Mrs. Hassan had beaten herself up.
They said the Bahraini account of what happened had continued: ‘The inmate had intended to get together with other inmates and tried to hurt herself by hitting her body and lying on the floor’.
Meanwhile, a recent report by the UN Secretary-General also detailed the ‘ongoing pattern of reprisals and intimidation’ faced by human rights defenders in Bahrain, and held up Mr. Alwadaei’s relatives as an example.
The family were caught up in the wave of crackdowns which erupted when the Arab Spring swept through Bahrain in 2011, following similar uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.
At one point more than 100,000 pro-democracy demonstrators took to the streets, and many, including Mr. Alwadaei, were thrown in jail.
When he was freed in December 2011 after being incarcerated for six months, he fled to the UK, where he was granted asylum by the Home Office.
As well as his mother-in-law, Mr. Alwadaei’s cousin and brother-in-law are also in jail, all accused on alleged charges of planting a fake bomb.