As the UK forges ahead with plans to seal a free trade agreement with the Persian Gulf monarchies, including Bahrain, 8 MPs accused their government, on Thursday, of ignoring Manama’s blatant human rights abuses.
SNP’s Brendan O’Hara blasted the UK government’s inaction to press Manama over Al-Singace’s plight. “I’m sorry to say nothing has been done and the government has remained largely silent,” O’Hara said in the House of Commons during Thursday’s debates.
According to the BICI, Al-Singace was detained and tortured in 2011 for his participation in pro-democracy protests. He was then charged with “terrorism” and sentenced to life in prison.
Another SNP MP Patricia Gibson said that “those who criticize the regime in Bahrain are subject to the cruelest and random treatment. Even reports of rape and electric-shock treatments for detainees, some of whom are juveniles. That is the ugly story of life under the current regime.”
The detained academic has been on a hunger strike since July 2021 over the confiscation of his academic research. He has marked his 60th birthday behind bars, and activists are seizing the occasion to reiterate calls for his immediate and unconditional release.
For their part, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, Mary Lawlor, and other UN experts expressed in a letter to the Bahraini government, their growing concern about Dr Al-Singace’s deteriorating health and his continuing detention which “appears to be solely based on his legitimate advocacy for the respect and protection of human rights in Bahrain.”
Further, the US Senator Ben Cardin joined the growing chorus of lawmakers calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Dr Al-Singace along with the rest of Bahraini political prisoners.
In its latest annual report, Human Rights Watch outlined Manama regime’s intensifying repression and the deteriorating prison conditions, where 3 detainees passed away in 2021, and where 26 death row inmates are at imminent risk of execution.
Furthermore, the report notes that in the lead up to the 10th anniversary of the uprising, the police beat children arrested in protest-related cases threatening them with rape. It also points out that the government has failed to respond to multiple visit requests from the UN special rapporteurs that date back to 2012.
A Middle East Eye’s article has revealed recently that the Bahraini Foreign Ministry dished out nearly $30,000 for the flights, accommodation and meals of 4 British MPs, who attended the annual Manama Dialogue security summit, and who also managed to squeeze in a few meetings with top Bahraini officials.
The Bahrain Institute for Rights & Democracy’s director, Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, reportedly said it was “shameful to see MPs accepting money in the form of hospitality from abusive governments like Bahrain, while political prisoners suffer the most horrific crimes at the hands of the regime.”
After seven years behind bars, jailed top opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman said in a letter from prison that love, tolerance and giving priority to national interests “keeps our hearts and hands always open for dialogue”, adding, “The desired political reform is in the interest of all, the rulers and the ruled, and it’s the cornerstone for improving our economic and living conditions and achieving political stability”.
Sheikh Salman who is serving a life sentence on trumped up espionage charges stressed that the establishment of stability and security will enable Bahrain to face the most difficult political and regional challenges.