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Nearly 8,000 Indian citizens imprisoned abroad, half of them in Gulf countries, 178 in Bahrain | THE DAILY TRIBUNE

TDT | manama

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

Staff reporter

A total of 178 Indian expatriates are serving their various sentences or are on trial in Bahrain’s prisons, according to the latest statistics available from the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.

There are 1,570 expatriate Indian prisoners in Saudi Arabia, followed by the United Arab Emirates (1,292), Kuwait (460), Qatar (439) and Oman (49).

There are nearly 8,000 Indian nationals imprisoned overseas and half of them are in Gulf countries, according to statistics.

Speaking to the Daily Tribune, Dr Babu Ramachandran, Chairman of the Indian Community Relief Fund (ICRF), said the Bahrain government was doing its best to ensure the best humane treatment for prisoners.

ICRF is a non-profit, non-governmental organization working under the patronage of the Indian Ambassador for the general welfare of Indian workers in Bahrain.

ICRF regularly visited prisons before the pandemic hit Bahrain.

“The Kingdom has one of the best prison systems in the world.

All prisoner requirements are met, corresponding to the best global standards.

Previously, we carried out regular visits to prisons which had to be interrupted following the pandemic outbreak.

“We hope ICRF teams can resume prison visits once the pandemic is under full control.”

Dr Babu, who is also a doctor at the American Mission Hospital in Bahrain, said mental depression dominates all health conditions facing Indian expatriate prisoners.

“It is quite natural for prisoners to suffer from mental depression.

During the visits, we noticed that most of them wanted to tell us about their origins and their families.

“ICRF primarily provides legal assistance to expatriate Indian prisoners, in addition to offering counseling and serving as a link between detainees and their family members.

Before the pandemic season, they were served special meals and offered phone cards.

“Other major illnesses among inmates are diabetes, hypertension and respiratory ailments.”

Alternative Sentences Dr Babu praised the government’s efforts to improve the lives of prisoners and the introduction of alternative sentences.

The government of Bahrain has already announced new alternative sentencing reforms to modernize its sentencing framework.

Now all prisoners are potentially eligible for alternative sentences, unlike in the past when only prisoners who had served a year and a half of the custodial sentence were eligible.

Under the new system, all adults sentenced to prison will become eligible to have their case dealt with through alternative sentences, even before any prison sentence begins.

Alternative sentences may include community service, house arrest, exclusion orders, no contact orders, electronic tagging, rehabilitation programs or compensation.

The reforms will see more offenders serving their sentence in the community and a review of existing prisoners for transfer to alternative sentences and early release.

Alternative sentences will be considered by the courts at the request of the Crown and after being satisfied that the offender does not pose a risk to the public.

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