Amnesty International expressed its concern over the deteriorating condition of prisoner of conscience Abduljalil Al-Singace.
Al-Singace began a hunger strike after prison authorities confiscated his research in July 2021, and urged the King of Bahrain to end his cruel and unfair punishment and order his immediate and unconditional release. For his part, Brian Dooley, senior advisor at Human Rights First, aldo called for his release, saying he had been imprisoned for life for his peaceful activism.
Dr. Al-Singace is held in the notorious Jaw Central Prison. He already suffers from post-polio syndrome (which has caused him a permanent physical disability), heart issues, eyes and sinuses issues.
After nearly 6 months of a hunger strike, human rights activists tweeting the hashtag #FrreeSingace say that the Bahraini academic, who is currently in the Bahrain Defense Force Hospital, is not receiving adequate medical examinations as he suffers from a long list of health problems including: severe intermittent headaches, prostate problems, arthritis in his shoulder, poor eyesight, and low immunity due to low white blood cell count.
Since November 2021, Dr. Al-Singace has escalated his hunger strike by refusing to take intravenous injections, complementary vitamins and oral medication in protest of Jaw Central Prison authorities’ suspension of private video calls as punishment, and his food is limited to salt and sugar.
It is reported that Dr. Al-Singace waited more than two months for the necessary CT scan, and his repeated requests for pain relievers and hot water bottles to relieve his pain were denied, in violation of the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (also known as the Nelson Mandela Rules.)
Dr. Al-Singace was born on January 15, 1962. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Manchester Institute of Technology. In early 2005, he was arbitrarily dismissed from his position as an assistant professor of engineering at the University of Bahrain, at the request of the (now deceased) Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa.
For many years, Dr Al-Singace was a human rights advocate and board member of the Bahrain Academic Society, as well as the spokesperson for the Haq opposition movement. He published on his website (Al-Fasila) critical articles on the human rights situation in the country and various political reports. The site was blocked by the authorities a month after his arrest in January 2009, on fabricated charges of participating in a “terrorist plot” and that his articles “incited hatred of the regime”. He was released shortly after.
In 2009, Dr. Abdul-Jalil al-Singace revealed that the US Embassy promised him to pass a petition (signed by 80,000 citizens) to the White House, demanding the right of Bahrainis to draft a democratic constitution. In his article for The New York Times, he asserted that Bahrain is not a beacon of democracy as former US President George W. Bush believed, asking him to be careful when using the words “change”, “dream” and “democracy” while addressing the Muslim world, and stressing that “these matters do not come to us easily” and that “those who seek change here are paying a heavy price”. Al-Singace revealed in his article too that he was arrested at dawn in January of that year, when he was held in solitary confinement on charges of “attempting to overthrow the regime in the kingdom.” He added that his blog and Facebook posts are blocked. He concludes, “It is good that Mr. Obama has pledged support for democracy and human rights, but he should speak of these ideals only if he is willing to help us achieve them”.
In August 2010, Dr. Al-Singace was arrested at Bahrain International Airport after speaking at a conference in the British House of Lords, in which he criticized Bahrain’s disregard for human rights issues and its lack of freedoms.
He remained incommunicado, where he was subjected to severe physical and psychological torture before being released during the peaceful protests calling for democracy in February 2011.
As documented in the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) report, Dr. Al-Singace was insulted, beaten and sexually harassed. Despite suffering from post-polio syndrome, the Bahraini authorities subjected him to torture and medical negligence. The report reveals that he was denied his glasses for more than a month, and was also denied the use of rubber stoppers for his crutches, which led to him falling several times.
Since that time, his health has deteriorated sharply, and Dr. Al-Singace has launched several hunger strikes to protest deteriorating prison conditions, deliberate medical neglect, the use of collective punishment, torture and degrading practices.
In August 2015, Dr. Al-Singace was transferred to the military hospital after his health deteriorated, as he had been on a hunger strike since March 21 in protest against the systematic collective punishment following the protest of prisoners of conscience against the deteriorating conditions of Jaw Prison.
Dr. Al-Singace has been on his current hunger strike since July 8, 2021, to protest against the ongoing restrictions imposed during the Corona pandemic, and to demand a re-dissertation of his research that was confiscated by prison guards on April 9, 2021, and which he worked on for at least 4 years. The research sheds light on the linguistic diversity among the Arabic dialects in Bahrain, i.e. it is devoid of any political content.
On July 18, 2021, Dr. Al-Singace was transferred to a medical facility affiliated with the Bahraini Ministry of Interior.
The United Nations special rapporteurs on human rights defenders and international human rights organizations have made numerous calls for his immediate and unconditional release, yet the authorities in Bahrain continue to ignore them.
On March 11, 2021, the European Parliament passed an urgent resolution, by an overwhelming majority, calling on the Bahraini authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience, including Dr. Abduljalil Al-Singace, and to drop all charges against them. The resolution condemned the ongoing medical negligence against them, calling for comprehensive and credible investigations into all allegations of torture and for those responsible to be held accountable.