DUBAI – Amnesty International accused Bahrain on Monday of torturing children who have been arrested on suspicion of participating in Shiite antigovernment protests.
The rights watchdog claimed that scores of children, including some as young as 13, “were blindfolded, beaten and tortured in detention over the past two years.”
“By rounding up suspected underage offenders and locking them up, Bahrain’s authorities are displaying an appalling disregard for its international human rights obligations,” said Said Boumedouha, Amnesty’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa.
The group said at least 110 children between ages 16 and 18 are held at the Dry Dock Prison, an adult facility, pending investigation or trial, over taking part in protests targeting the ruling Sunni Al-Khalifa dynasty. It said that sentenced children under the age of 15 who are held at a juvenile center face abuse at night, when social workers finish their day shifts and police take over.
It said the Persian Gulf kingdom amended its juvenile law in August, allowing the jailing or fining of the fathers of children who take part in demonstrations.