Bahrain orders probe into prison hunger strike

MANAMA, April 30 (Xinhua) -- The Bahraini Public Prosecution on Wednesday ordered an investigation into a hunger strike in the country's largest detention facility.

Since the beginning of this week, over 250 inmates went on a hunger strike at the prison in the village of Jaw, and started attacking guards, after they were told that phone calls to their families and break time were to be reduced, said Mahana Al Shaiji, who heads the Southern Governorate Public Prosecution.

"They attempted to lock up prison guards to allow other inmates to escape," said Al Shaiji.

He said that prosecutors have questioned 236 prisoners, and a medical examiner had checked those who claimed to be mistreated in custody.

Prison officials will also be questioned in the coming days to see if they violated any laws, Al Shaiji said.

Also on Wednesday, Al Wefaq National Islamic Society, Bahrain's largest opposition group, voiced its support for the inmates and demanded that authorities release the number of inmates jailed in overcrowded facilities.

Al Wefaq said last month that it documented over 680 sporadic protests and 187 arrests, including those of 17 children and three women. Families of some of the detained said their relatives had been subjected to degrading treatment while in custody.