Nine Bahraini and international NGOs and the University College Union launched a campaign this week marking the 100th day of detained human rights defender, Dr Abduljalil Al-Singace’s hunger strike.
English PEN has joined the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB), Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR), PEN International, Index on Censorship, Scholars at Risk, Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle East Studies Association and the University College Union to express our solidarity with the imprisoned activist.
On 21 March 2015, Dr Al-Singace began a hunger strike in protest of the ill-treatment of inmates and the poor, unsanitary conditions at Jaw Prison.
Dr Abduljalil Al-Singace is a prominent academic and blogger who promoted human rights in Bahrain throughout the 2000s. Police arrested Dr Al-Singace for his participation in the peaceful Arab Spring protests in 2011. During his initial detention, security officials subjected Dr Al-Singace to torture and ill-treatment, including forced standing, verbal and sexual assault, beatings, and prolonged solitary confinement. He was tried by a military court in June 2011 and sentenced to life in prison for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government.
Dr Al-Singace suffers from post-polio syndrome, heart, eye, and sinus problems, and requires urgent nasal and ear surgery. Prison authorities have denied Dr Al-Singace specialist medical treatment. He is detained in solitary confinement at Al-Qalaa Hospital and is not permitted to go outdoors. He is denied access to novels, television, radio, and even pen and paper. He is also not allowed access to religious books and prayer beads, and was not permitted a condolence visit when his nephew died.
We, the aforementioned NGOs, call for the immediate and unconditional release of Dr Abduljalil Al-Singace in addition to all human rights defenders and activists in Bahrain who are detained in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Bahrain is a state party. We demand that Dr Al-Singace receives full access to specialized medical attention as a matter of urgency. We remind Bahrain of its obligations to comply with the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. We also call on Bahrain to fully investigate the allegations of ill treatment and torture at Jaw Prison, in line with its obligations under the Convention against Torture.
We also invite you to join our social media campaign and to tweet using the hashtag #SingaceHungerStrike.