Bahrain has conditionally released 30 convicts, including 27 political detainees, under a new law allowing electronic monitoring and home arrest instead of incarceration.
Prisoners who have completed at least half of their sentence in jail are permitted to complete it in other ways, such as community service, rehabilitation classes, or electronic surveillance, under the 2017 "alternative sentence" law. Bahrain's King modified the law last week to allow for the transfer to non-custodial punishments at any stage during a term.
Many of the 27 political prisoners placed under house arrest this week, according to exiled activist and director of the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, Sayed Alwadaei, were imprisoned as adolescents. "Despite this, they will continue to be subjected to harsh limits on their freedom. In any case, the continuous detention of hundreds of political prisoners in Bahrain overshadows these exceptional releases." He demanded that all political inmates in Bahrain be released "unconditionally."
Kameel Juma Hasan, detained at the age of 14 and sentenced to 28 years in prison in 2019, was among the released detainees. In May, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) declared that he had been detained unlawfully.
According to documents seen by Reuters, some of the release terms include the use of tracking devices and prohibitions on communicating to the press, using social media, and engaging in political activities. According to his son Ali, Hassan Mushaima, who was arrested in 2011 and sentenced to life in prison for anti-government activities, has turned down a conditional release offer.
According to the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, out of a total jail population of up to 3,800 persons, the Kingdom has around 1,400 political prisoners.