Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): It can be said that the hunger strike launched by the six convicted children in the Dry Dock Prison three days ago is one of the most important strikes that must be highlighted, as through their hunger, the young convicts announce Bahrain's failure to abide by the Restorative Justice Law for Children, which the government now brags about at all conferences, especially at the Human Rights Council sessions.
On February 22, 2021, the Public Prosecution posted through its official Twitter account significant tweets about the restorative justice law for children, which was officially issued by the King on February 21.
The most prominent points covered by the law are those that talked about raising the official age of a child to 18 years old, in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and that there is no criminal accountability held against those under the age of 15, and that precautionary measures are taken against them. It stipulates that children under 15 years of age may not be held in pretrial detention, and allows the specialized prosecution of children to hold children in a social welfare institution for a period not exceeding one week.
The new law also provides for the establishment of restorative justice courts for children (minor and major) according to the type of crime committed (felony or misdemeanor) of the accused child, provided that the child is between the ages of 15 and 18.
The most important thing that the families of the detainees noted was the prosecution's statement that it had "established a judicial committee to consider requests to replace sentences imposed before this law was entered into force" for children under the age of 18 at the time of the crime. This means that the sentence of every convicted detainee charged with a crime committed while he was under 18 years old must be commuted.
The new law stipulates that: A child with a mental illness that has caused him to lose consciousness shall be admitted to a specialized hospital, provided that the proceedings shall be suspended. If the child is convicted, the execution of the sentence shall be postponed until he is acquitted.
This law seemed like a door of relief for every detainee who has been accused of a crime that occurred before he turned 18 years old, but this law is merely ink on paper, and material aimed at deluding the Human Rights Council and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for the Rights of the Child into thinking that the situation will change.
In the face of all this fraud and manipulation, the small strikers in the Dry Dock prison took the step to launch a strike in order to shed light on the reality of the government's manipulation and failure to abide by any law or convention that free detainees from prison or relieve them, even if the law is issued by the government itself.
Ibrahim Sarhan, legal advisor at Salam for Democracy and Human Rights, explained that many families of detained children complain about the delay in implementing Article 87 of Law No. 7 of 2021, which requires reducing their sentences. The six detainees on hunger strike are: Mohammad Ali Adel, Hussein Saeed Abdulkarim, Sayed Ahmed Majeed, Firas Hussein, Fadel Mohammad Amin, and Ali Mahmoud Mohammad.
Sarhan stressed in a tweet that there are more than 183 children detained under a deprivation of liberty sentence, noting that if the article was being implemented correctly, then the detainees would have been released, even those who are sentenced to life in jail.
Everything has become clear to everyone, have the Bahraini authorities deluded everyone into thinking that they have opened a new door to deal with cases of sentenced detained children, which was only an attempt to throw dust in the face of criticism of Bahrain's dark human rights record.