6 November 2019 – Today marks the 1000th day that political prisoner, Ali AlHajee, has gone without seeing his family. On Monday, Ali sent a letter from Jau Prison, where he is currently serving a ten year sentence after being convicted in an unfair trial which relied upon confessions extracted under torture. In the letter, Ali describes being “tormented” by being unjustly separated from his family for so long.
Since 1 September, Ali has been on a hunger strike to protest being denied unobstructed family visits since February 2017, as well as the systematic denial of medical care to political prisoners, religious discrimination, and the use of physical and psychological ill-treatment by the prison administration.
As of yesterday, BIRD can confirm that after 66 days on hunger strike, Ali has finally been taken for a dental appointment and has been told that his treatment will continue. In his letter, Ali outlines how his mental and physical health suffered as a result of his strike and how his weight has already dropped to 61 kilograms. Ali has pledged to continue his protest until his demand to see his family without barriers is met.
Husain AlHajee, son of imprisoned activist Ali AlHajee, shares heartfelt plea for his father’s release who he hasn’t seen since Feb ‘17.
— BIRD (@BirdBahrain_) October 9, 2019
Ali’s case has been raised by UK politicians, international NGOs and the media numerous times. Most recently, on 17 October, Chris Law SNP and Lib-dem peer Lord Scriven, Chair and Vice Chair, respectively, of the APPG on Human Rights and Democracy in the Gulf, raised Ali’s case in a letter to the FCO MENA Minister Andrew Murrison, ahead of his meeting with the Bahrain Foreign Minister in London.
As the @foreignoffice hosts #Bahrain’s FM today, human rights must be at the core of their discussion. Death row inmates are currently on #HungerStrike to demand unobstructed family visitation. @ChrisLawSNP & I wrote to @AWMurrison to demand that they are treated humanely. pic.twitter.com/llpIRF1BsY
— Paul Scriven🔶️ (@Paulscriven) October 17, 2019
In the meantime, the UK government continues to rely on assurances from the Bahraini authorities that “access to medical care…for those in detention is guaranteed by the Constitution of Bahrain”, while directing victims of abuse to UK-funded oversight bodies, which the UN Committee Against Torture has criticised for being neither independent nor effective.
Full Letter Below
4 November 2019
This Wednesday, 6 November, marks 1000 days since I last saw my family. Day after day, I remain tormented as I continue to count the hours spent away from my family; for too long, I have been denied my human right to see my family without an imposed physical barrier separating us from one another. I especially miss the embraces of my mother, father, and son Husain. By being denied the right to see me, Husain, who is now 7, is also subject to this punishment.
Wednesday will also mark the 67th day of my hunger strike to demand the continuation of the dental treatment program for my teeth and jaw, as well as to demand the facilitation of visits from my family.
My treatment was abruptly stopped due to incomplete administrative procedures, and I have not seen my family since February 9, 2017. Accordingly, I will continue to remain on hunger strike until these demands are met.
Currently, I live in a state of deteriorating psychological and physical health as a result of the hunger strike and the anguish accompanying it. My weight has dropped to 61 kilograms, and I suffer general bodily weakness and limb stiffness during sleep. All along, the prison administration has been aware of my current situation, and the National Institute for Human Rights is also aware of my case. Yet nonetheless, I remain on strike awaiting my legitimate demands to be met. It is in the hands of the relevant authorities to meet these demands, and there is no justifiable reason for their denial. I therefore demand that the authorities in question facilitate and speed up the halted administrative procedures relating to my discontinued treatment program, and allow me to meet my family without any barriers.