London (AFP) - Bahraini prisoners suffering cancer, multiple sclerosis and sickle-cell anaemia do not have access to medical care, Amnesty International said Friday, accusing local authorities of "negligence".
Family members of 11 Bahraini prisoners, including high-profile activists, described treatment ranging from "petty harassment to needless cruelty", according to a new report by Amnesty.
Amnesty said their accounts, supported by documentary evidence, showed health care in Bahrain's prison system was "marred by regular instances of negligence, delay, and arbitrary exercise of authority".
Inmates with serious conditions like cancer and multiple sclerosis are regularly denied specialist care and pain medication, Amnesty said.
"Although medical treatment is provided, it is far from adequate, and prisoners are frequently subjected to disruptions, delays and needless, petty cruelty," the report said.
"In one appalling case, a man with stage-three cancer was sent back to prison just days after a biopsy – the same individual recently had to wait for more than a month for his medication."
Among the families interviewed are relatives of activist Hajer Mansoor Hassan, mother-in-law of Sayed Ahmed Wadei, head of advocacy for the London-based Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy.
The family of Ahmed Merza Ismaeel, half-brother of jailed cleric Sheikh Ali Salman, was also among those interviewed.
Salman, one of the main faces of the 2011 Bahrain protests demanding changes in government, was acquitted of charges of espionage this year. Bahrain's public prosecutor has appealed the verdict.
Hundreds of Bahrainis have been jailed, and some stripped of citizenship, since 2011, as authorities continue to crack down on political dissent.
The government accuses Iran of inciting unrest in the Shiite-majority kingdom. Tehran denies the charge.
Located between rival regional powers Saudi Arabia and Iran, Bahrain has been ruled for more than two centuries by the Sunni Al-Khalifa dynasty.
It is a key US ally and home to the Fifth Fleet.