Bahrain: Sickle cell patient dies in custody

October 8, 2012

The death of a Bahraini jailed for his alleged role in last year’s unrest was the result of complications related to sickle cell anaemia, authorities have said.

Mohammad Ali Ahmad Mushaima died around 3.30am on Tuesday at the Salmaniya Medical Complex (SMC), where he had been undergoing treatment. He was buried on the afternoon of the same day.

“The deceased was one of the inmates in the Reformation and Rehabilitation Centre,” a statement by the Information Affairs Authority said.

“He was sentenced to seven years after being found guilty of charges relating to vandalism, rioting, assaulting a police officer, and resisting arrest which took place at Bahrain’s Financial Harbour in March 2011.”

The statement said that “while incarcerated, Mushaima was treated on more than one occasion at the SMC for Sickle Cell complications.”

According to the announcement, the 27-year-old man was admitted to SMC on August 28 and remained there until his death.

The case has been referred to the Public Prosecution for investigation.

The Ministry of Health said that the deceased had collapsed after visiting the bathroom in his ward and that a medical team tried to resuscitate him but their efforts were in vain.

Muhanna Al Shaiji, chief prosecutor, said that the Public Prosecution had been informed about the death of a patient who was being treated for sickle cell disease at the SMC.

“Upon receiving notification, a member of the Public Prosecution and a forensic medical doctor went to the hospital to launch an investigation.”

The forensic medical examination reinforced the report by the hospital that the death was natural and caused by complications related to sickle cell disease, the statement said.

“The medical examiner’s report confirmed there were no injuries on the body which could indicate criminal action, and therefore the Public Prosecution agreed to hand over the dead body to his family for burial.”

Sickle cell disease, a hereditary blood disorder, has claimed 36 victims this year, including four this week.

Several families who have lost loved ones to the disease are pushing for legal action to help fight the disease.

According to activists, 32 sickle cell patients died in 2011, 35 in 2010, 28 in 2009 and 23 in 2008.

Sickle cell anaemia is the most common sickle cell disease and is caused by abnormal haemoglobin that cause a rigid, distorted and sickle-shaped red blood cell.

Meanwhile, Bahrain authorities said that a group of mourners attacked police with petrol bombs and stones following Mushaima’s burial in Jid Hafs, west of the capital Manama on Tuesday.

The group also engaged in acts of rioting and blocked Budaiya Road, one of the main highways in the Kingdom, the General Director of the Northern Governorate Police said.

“The police warned the group several times to disperse, and when their warnings were ignored. They used only the necessary force to restore order,” he said.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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