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Ombusdman denies Al-Wefaq systematic allegations

Manama, Aug13(BNA) A NEWSPAPER report on Al Wefaq National Islamic Society criticising the Interior Ministry’s Ombudsman Office secretariat-general has been dismissed as “totally biased, unprofessional and subjective”. The secretariat-general yesterday issued a statement hitting back at the “false claims” published by the newspaper on Tuesday – describing them as “politically abusive”. It expressed astonishment over Al Wefaq’s doubts regarding the Ombudsman’s role. “Al Wefaq’s systematic attacks on the secretariat-general emanate from its rejection of any model for a successful institution. The society disregards the negative impact of such an attitude on citizens. Such claims denote extreme ignorance about the legalities underlying the establishment of the secretariat general,” says the statement. “Al Wefaq also ignores the fact that the secretariat-general is an independent executive body, with no political role. Its main focus is on legal aspects within a specific institutional framework.” On Al Wefaq criticising appointments at the secretariat-general, the statement said the secretary-general and his deputy have no other activity outside their human rights role, which proves they are intellectually and ideologically independent, with no political prejudice. “They are not affiliated to any political or non-governmental organisation, and therefore Al Wefaq’s claim that they favour one party at the expense of the other is not true.” On Al Wefaq’s criticism of the first annual report, the secretariat-general asserted that “not even a single complaint had been rejected”. “The secretary-general also announced that 27 cases had been investigated and referred to the authorities concerned”. Concerning the report on a visit to Jaw Prison announced by the secretariat-general in September 2013, and the criticism that no action had been taken against those responsible for congestion in cells, the statement denied any negligence on the part of the secretariat-general and the prison management. In its report, it recommended such congestion to be avoided. “Visits to reformation and rehabilitation and provisional detention centres are carried out in accordance with international criteria and principles,” the statement said. Concerning the death of an inmate suffering from sickle cell due to medical negligence, the statement said the “secretariat-general immediately informed. The Public Prosecution since it was a criminal case”. Thus, allegations by Al Wefaq are under the purview of the Public Prosecution.