Bahrain: Human rights defender Dr. Abduljalil Al-Singace transferred to hospital in second week of hunger strike
On 18 July 2021, imprisoned Bahraini human rights defender Dr. Abduljalil Al-Singace, an academic and blogger, was transferred to hospital ten days after beginning a hunger strike to protest ill-treatment and harassment in Jau prison. The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) calls on the authorities to immediately free Dr. Al-Singace, and failing that, to respond to his demands so he will end his hunger strike.
Dr. Al-Singace was transferred to the Public Security Hospital in Al-Qalaa for observation on 18 July 2021 after he lost 7kg and his blood sugar levels dropped, leading to concerns about his organ functions, especially the kidneys.
He began the hunger strike on 08 July 2021 to protest ill-treatment, including the confiscation of a book he spent four years writing about local dialects and accents. The book was confiscated in April 2021 and prison authorities ignored his repeated requests for it be given to his family.
On 19 July 2021, government media reported that the Office of the Public Prosecution referred Dr. Al-Singace's request for his research to the Ministry of Interior Ombudsman. The statement from the Public Prosecution also contained misinformation about the hunger strike.
When embarking on the hunger strike, he said that Officer Mohammed Yousif Fakhro has consistently denied all his requests and that the officer confiscated his research. Dr. Al-Singace has repeatedly protested poor medical care, including the months’ long denial of rubber stoppers for his crutches, which he needs to walk. He did not receive any until June and July 2021.
GCHR is concerned that Dr. Al-Singace’s already compromised health will suffer irreparably if he does not eat or take his medication. GCHR, other NGOs, United Nations experts and the European Union have recently issued numerous appeals for the authorities to provide proper medical care to Dr. Al-Singace, and to free him. In addition to having post-polio syndrome and sickle cell disease, he suffers from cervical disk herniation and spinal disc herniation caused by the torture and ill-treatment to which he has been subjected since his arrest in March 2011.
Dr. Al-Singace, a member of the Bahrain 13 (a group of activists and human rights defenders including Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja), was sentenced to life in prison on 22 June 2011 for his role in peaceful protests that took place in Bahrain in 2011.
On 15 July 2021, his case was raised by UK Members of Parliament during an Oral Session at the House of Lords on human rights violations in Bahrain, as a result of a meeting between the UK Prime Minister and the Bahraini Crown Prince in June 2021, where human rights were not discussed.
Take Action Now!
GCHR asks supporters of Dr Abduljalil Al-Singace to please tweet in English or Arabic calling on the authorities in Bahrain to:
- Immediately and unconditionally free Dr. Abduljalil Al-Singace and all other human rights defenders including Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja from prison;
- While in prison, allow Dr. Al-Singace and all prisoners unhindered access to medical care and medical equipment; and to ensure they are not subjected to ill-treatment and abuse;
- Hand over Dr. Al-Singace’s research to his family; and
- Guarantee in all circumstances that human rights defenders in Bahrain are able to carry out their legitimate activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.