JNN 02 Feb 2012 Manama : Bahraini police fired tear gas on hunger strikers protesting against their detention over last year’s pro-democracy protests, an activist said, adding that one of them was admitted to hospital Tuesday.
Riot police “fired tear gas Monday on detainees on hunger strike in one of the cells,” the head of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR), Mohammed al-Maskati told AFP.
Maskati said the incident caused no injuries but that one of the hunger strikers, opposition activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, was “hospitalised Tuesday as he suffered from hypotension and low blood sugar levels.”
The interior ministry insisted that the hunger strikers were being well looked after.
“All prisoners are receiving full medical care and a team of medics is present 24 hours to provide treatment when needed,” the ministry said in a statement carried by the official BNA news agency.
“No cases of illness have been registered due to the hunger strike,” it added.
Maskati said that around 150 prisoners had joined the hunger strike launched by 14 activists on Sunday evening.
He said he and five other BYSHR activists not in custody had also gone on hunger strike in solidarity with the prisoners.
Month-long protests led by the Sunni-ruled Persian Gulf state’s majority community were put down with the help of Saudi-led troops in March last year.
The crackdown led to the deaths of 40 people, including five detainees who were tortured to death, an independent commission of inquiry appointed by King Hamad found.
The commission accused police of using torture and excessive force.
The uprising seeking greater rights began nearly a year ago. Authorities worry that unrest will increase before the Feb. 14 anniversary.
About 40 people have been killed in the crackdown and the security forces have arrested hundreds, including doctors and nurses accused of treating injured revolutionaries.
Physicians for Human Rights says doctors and nurses have been detained, tortured, or disappeared because they have “evidence of atrocities committed by the authorities, security forces and riot police” in the crackdown on anti-government protesters.
A report published by an independent committee in November, 2011 found that the ruling Al Khalifa regime had used excessive force against the protesters and accused Manama of torturing political activists, politicians, and demonstrators.