A Bahraini political prisoner has died at a detention centre, which the authorities have claimed was due to "natural causes."
However, the kingdom's main opposition group Al-Wefaq, which was dissolved in 2016, has claimed that he died "as a result of dangerous, inhumane conditions [and] medical negligence."
The Interior Ministry meanwhile alleged that he "suffered from chronic diseases" leading to a heart attack.
A statement was issued by Al-Wefaq yesterday following reports that Abbas Malallah passed away at the notorious Jau Prison.
His funeral procession brought out protestors around the country as he was laid to rest in his home village of Nuwaidrat, approximately 10 kilometres south of the capital Manama.
#Bahrain : Funeral of activist Abbas Malallah who died in prison – with accusations from his supporters of medical negligence – his death has further fuelled recent protests calling for prisoners to be released because of #COVID19 – #عباس_مال_الله pic.twitter.com/cmNxJqQoff
— sebastian usher (@sebusher) April 7, 2021
Malallah was arrested on May 17 in 2011 after being accused of taking part in anti-government demonstrations during the Bahraini Uprising earlier that year.
He was sentenced to 15 years and 6 months in prison. However, his health is said to have deteriorated since 2019 and his body is said to have been lodged with pellets as a result of shots fired by security forces.
His family had reportedly raised his plight with the authorities to provide him with adequate healthcare.
Protesters took to the streets following the funeral of Abbas Malallah demanding accountability for his death. Malallah died in #Bahrain's #JawPrison on Tuesday after being subjected to torture and years of medical negligence. pic.twitter.com/z9C6x38KIT
— LuaLuaTV (@LuaLuaEnglish) April 6, 2021
According to a report by Bahrain Al-Youm, Mahmoud Issa, a fellow inmate, stated in an audio recording that Malallah had been held in solitary confinement for two years and was denied contact with relatives for a year.
He also recounted the last moments of his life, stating that Malallah collapsed in his cell around midnight after complaining of a burning sensation in his chest and had difficulty breathing.
After other inmates tried to alert the guards, which Issa said lasted for 10 minutes, one of the guards told them that "we do not have orders to move the prisoner out of the cell."
Following pressure from inmates, his body was eventually transferred to a hospital where he died.
Malallah's death comes a day after Bahrain's exiled and most prominent cleric, Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim, released a statement expressing concern over healthcare in the country's prisons amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Iran-based cleric also reiterated calls for the immediate release of political prisoners.