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Bahraini prisoners’ families hold small protest during pope visit | News

Bahraini prisoners’ families hold small protest during pope visit | News

Activists say the protesters were taken from the protest site in a police vehicle and then released.

Relatives of death row inmates and lifers in Bahrain staged a small protest along the route of Pope Francis’ motorcade calling for the freedom of political prisoners in the Gulf Arab state.

It was not clear if the Pope saw the signs as his motorcade moved from his residence to a school in Isa Town where he then addressed students and teachers. Around 30,000 flag-waving worshipers attended an outdoor mass on Saturday.

A video of Saturday’s protest, which included several women and children, was posted online by the London-based Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) and Bahrain’s disbanded al-Wefaq opposition group. .

Hajer Mansoor, the mother of imprisoned activist Sayed Nizar al-Wadaei, held a sign saying: “Tolerance does not exist for us here in Bahrain”.

One of the signs read “Tolerance, coexistence is a practice, not just a slogan. #Free Hassan Mushaima #Free Political prisoners #End Bigotry”.

Hassan Mushaima, an opposition leader, was sentenced to life in prison in 2011 for anti-government protests led mainly by the Shia Muslim community. The Sunni monarchy suppressed the unrest.

In the video, a police officer can be heard saying to protesters, including a little boy: “Please, if you have any requests, if you have anything, not this way or that way.”

A government spokesman said a group of nine people had been asked to disperse by uniformed police and “acceded to the request”, according to Reuters news agency.

“No further action is being taken in this regard,” the spokesperson said in a statement, adding that “there have been no arrests or apprehensions related to the papal visit.”

“Free Protestors”

Earlier, BIRD said in a statement that the protesters were taken from the site in a police vehicle and then released.

Ahead of the pope’s arrival in Bahrain on Thursday, families of those on death row urged him to speak out against capital punishment and defend political prisoners during the trip.

He did so in his maiden speech on Friday to government officials and the diplomatic corps.

On Thursday, the first day of his four-day visit, the pontiff call for end discrimination and human rights abuses.

It is vital that “fundamental human rights are not violated but promoted”, the pope said Thursday at the royal palace in Sakhir during his first visit to the Gulf Arab state, where the Shia Muslim opposition and groups of rights advocates accuse the Sunni monarchy of overseeing human rights. rights violations, a charge authorities deny.

Bahrain was the only Gulf state to experience a massive Arab Spring upheaval. It has imprisoned thousands of people, some in mass trials, since the uprising.

The kingdom rejected criticism from the United Nations and others over its conduct of trials and detention conditions, saying its prosecution was in accordance with international law.

Bahrain last year conditionally released dozens of prisoners under new rules allowing electronic monitoring and house arrest instead. Mushaima’s son then said his father had declined an offer of parole.