Bahrain: Help save the life of Dr. Abduljalil Al-Singace, spending his 60th birthday on hunger strike in prison
Please take action to help save the life of imprisoned Bahraini human rights defender Dr. Abduljalil Al-Singace, who has been on a liquids-only hunger strike for over 190 days to protest the confiscation of his academic research on Bahraini culture and dialect. He is turning 60 on 15 January 2022, and has been in prison for over a decade for exercising his rights to freedom of expression and assembly.
Dr. Al-Singace is a respected academic and human rights defender serving a life sentence for his peaceful role in Bahrain's 2011 pro-democracy movement. In addition to the health consequences of not eating solid food for nearly six months, Dr. Al-Singace also suffers from chronic medical conditions including post-polio syndrome, requiring crutches or a wheelchair since birth. He is currently being held in Kanoo Medical Center, since being moved there in July 2021 from Jau Prison.
Dr. Al-Singace began his hunger strike on 08 July 2021 to protest the confiscation by prison authorities of an apolitical book on Bahraini dialects that he spent the past four years researching and writing. He asked that it be returned to his family.
In July 2021, the Bahrain Ministry of Interior Ombudsperson declared that Dr. Al-Singace’s work could not be given to his family until a “legal decision” was made. In November 2021, a legal decision clarified the apolitical nature of the book, yet Dr. Al-Singace’s research remains in the hands of authorities.
In late November 2021, authorities arbitrarily suspended Dr. Al-Singace’s weekly video calls to his family. According to the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), Dr. Al-Singace responded “by refusing to take IVs, supplementary vitamins, and oral medication. Family members report that he has since lost a considerable amount of weight, appearing even more fragile and pale. His sugar levels remain low and his immunity is weakened due to a low white blood cell count.”
In his almost 11 years in prison, he has also experienced severe intermittent headaches, a prostate problem, arthritis in his shoulder joint, tremors, numbness, and diminished eyesight. He has not received the expected medical care, and his requests have been ignored.
The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) joins BIRD, IFEX and over two dozen other partners in a joint letter calling on the authorities in the United Kingdom, United States, Germany and the European Union to help free Dr. Al-Singace immediately and unconditionally. The letter, which will be sent to authorities next week, also mentions other prominent Bahraini prisoners of conscience, including GCHR’s Co-Founder Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja and human rights defender Naji Fateel.
On 13 January 2022, Dr. Al-Singace marked his 190th day on hunger strike. BIRD organised a press conference and protest in solidarity with Dr. Al-Singace outside the Bahraini Embassy in London, United Kingdom.
There are several actions you can take to help Dr. Al-Singace:
Dr. Al-Singace and other prisoners were featured in a video campaign to #FreeBahrainiPrisoners in November 2021 on the tenth anniversary of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, which found that Dr. Al-Singace and other activists had been tortured in prison. The campaign was coordinated by GCHR with Bahraini partners including BIRD, Americans for Democracy & Human Rights (ADHRB), the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) and regional NGOs. You can find the updated video at GCHR’s YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/5wcIVNwDcIQ or share it directly from GCHR’s twitter.
Social Media Campaign
Please support Dr. Al-Singace by joining us in sharing messages, images and videos on Twitter to wish Dr. Al-Singace a happy 60th birthday, starting on 15 January 2022, and to mark yet another one of his birthdays spent behind bars. Feel free to tweet the video or use the above image provided by BIRD, or make your own image with a birthday message or a call to #FreeAlSingace.
Petitions & Letters of Support
You can send a letter to the Bahraini authorities calling for Dr. Al-Singace’s release via Scholars At Risk, which has created a support page for him.
You can also send a solidarity message to Dr. Al-Singace, one of the featured writers in the PENWrites campaign, on the English PEN website.
If you are in the UK, you can use BIRD’s online petition to ask your MP to sign Early Day Motion #578 calling for the release of Dr. Al-Singace.