Prisoners were tortured and subjected to cruel and inhuman treatment, including medical neglect, delays in medical treatment as reprisal and denial of contact with family members. Authorities continued to restrict freedoms of expression and assembly and to hold prisoners for exercising these rights. The government did not adequately protect migrant workers from exploitation or take adequate steps to address the climate crisis. The government tightened access to healthcare for stateless children.



At least six prisoners were tortured and otherwise ill-treated during the year.

In February, Ahmed Jaafar Mohamed told the Office of Public Prosecution’s Special Investigation Unit (SIU), the agency that investigates government abuses, that Jaw prison guards had beaten him when he was forcibly deported from Serbia to Bahrain on 24 January. The SIU told the UN that it was investigating the allegation, but did not report any results.

In March, authorities moved Ahmed Jaber Ahmed to an external hospital only after 11 months of illness had left him unable to walk or dress himself. The hospital diagnosed tuberculosis that had spread to his spinal column, requiring that he be put in a halo brace. Denial of medical care can be considered cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

In May, AbdAli Khayer, a Jaw inmate imprisoned on terrorism charges in a mass trial, said in a voice-recorded call from the prison that when he told a guard he needed treatment at the prison clinic for painful gout that was making it difficult for him to stand, the guard responded by beating him with his fists.


Freedom of assembly, association, and expression

Authorities continued to hold prisoners for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly.

In February, Amnesty International confirmed use of the Pegasus spyware against three Bahraini citizens who had criticized the government.3

During the final two weeks of November, authorities arrested and released six members of the family of prisoner of conscience Hasan Mushaima for peacefully protesting on his behalf. One was held for interrogation for two days.

Ten leaders imprisoned since 2011 for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly during mass protests that year continued to be held, as did prisoner of conscience Sheikh Ali Salman, an opposition leader serving a life sentence.

Bahrain Newsroom

February 26, 2019 • Report

Human rights in the Middle East and North Africa: A review of 2018

The international community’s chilling complacency towards wide-scale human rights violations in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has emboldened governments to commit appalling violations during 2018 by giving them …

September 6, 2017 • Report

No one can protect you: Bahrain’s year of crushing dissent

A new report published by Amnesty International today sheds light on the repressive tactics used by the Bahraini government over the past year to crush civil society and violently crack down on protests, leading to the deaths of six people, including one child.

November 18, 2016 • Report

Window-dressing or pioneers of change? An assessment of Bahrain’s human rights oversight bodies

Five years after Bahrain’s 2011 uprising, which saw peaceful protesters beaten, shot, and killed in the streets, key reforms introduced to address human rights violations by the security forces have yet to deliver justice to the vast majority of victims and their families, said Amnesty International in a new report published today.

February 18, 2016 • Report

Amnesty International State of the World 2015-2016

International protection of human rights is in danger of unravelling as short-term national self-interest and draconian security crackdowns have led to a wholesale assault on basic freedoms and rights, warned Amnesty International as it launched its annual assessment of human rights around the world. “Your rights are in jeopardy: they are being treated with utter contempt by many governments around the world,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

September 2, 2015 • Report

Use of Force – Guidelines for Implementation of the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by law enforcement officials

From the streets of Ferguson, Missouri to the favelas of Brazil, the police use of force and firearms makes global headlines when it turns fatal.

April 15, 2015 • Report

Behind the Rhetoric: Human Rights Abuses in Bahrain Continue Unabated

A new report by Amnesty International details the rampant abuses including torture, arbitrary detentions and excessive use of force against peaceful activists and government critics, which continue to take place in Bahrain four years after the uprisings that rocked the Gulf kingdom in 2011.

February 25, 2015 • Report

State of the World 2014/2015

This has been a devastating year for those seeking to stand up for human rights and for those caught up in the suffering of war zones. Governments pay lip service to the importance of protecting civilians. And yet the world's politicians have miserably failed to protect those in greatest need. Amnesty International believes that this can and must finally change.

May 15, 2013 • Report

Annual Report: Bahrain 2013

Kingdom of Bahrain Head of state King Hamad bin ‘Issa Al Khalifa Head of government Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa The authorities continued to crack down on protests and …

November 21, 2012 • Report

Bahrain: Reform Shelved, Repression Unleashed

Amnesty International's newest report exposes a markedly deteriorating human rights situation in Bahrain, where authorities have reneged on promises to enact far-reaching human rights reforms.

August 3, 2012 • Report

Amnesty Statement on Human Rights in Bahrain to Congress

Amnesty issued a strong statement on the importance of human rights at the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission of the US Congress.