101 Global Academics Stand in Solidarity With Jailed Academic Dr Abduljalil AlSingace on Hunger Strike in Bahrain

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101 global academics have signed an open letter in solidarity with jailed Bahraini academic Dr Abduljalil AlSingace, a renowned blogger, human rights defender and University of Manchester alumni who has been on hunger strike since 8 July 2021 to demand that prison authorities end degrading treatment against him and return a book he wrote in prison, to which he dedicated four years of research, that was confiscated by Jau Prison authorities, the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) stated today.

The letter, addressed to Bahrain’s King Hamad and Crown Prince Salman, describes the confiscation of Dr AlSingace’s research as “a cruel and unjust punishment,” stating that “Dr AlSingace should not have to place his life on the line to secure his basic rights and the return of his intellectual property.” They add that his book is a study of Bahraini Arabic dialects devoid of political content but has still “not been returned despite repeated promises by prison authorities.”

Dr AlSingace is a 59-year-old academic and blogger currently imprisoned at the notorious Jau Prison, after being handed a life sentence by a military court for his leading role in Bahrain’s 2011 pro-democracy uprising during the Arab Spring. As well as being a prominent opposition figure, he is a former lecturer in the Mechanical Engineering department at the University of Bahrain and has a PhD in Impact Mechanics from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, now the University of Manchester. Almost 60 University of Manchester staff members signed the letter in solidarity.  In 2007, he was also a Draper Hills Fellow at Stanford University’s Center on Democracy Development and the Rule of Law.

Dr AlSingace has several chronic illnesses, including post-polio syndrome and a musculoskeletal condition, requiring the use of crutches or a wheelchair, making his hunger strike particularly detrimental to his health. Since he began refusing food, Dr AlSingace has reportedly lost at least 10kg and been transferred to an external hospital for monitoring. During his time in prison, he has repeatedly complained of medical negligence by prison authorities, a common form of punishment against political prisoners in Bahrain.

Following his arrest in 2011, Dr AlSingace was subjected to brutal torture following his arrest, including being repeatedly beaten, “sexually molested”, “forced to lick the shoes” of prison guards and threatened with the rape of his wife and daughter, amongst other violations, according to the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry. Since  his imprisonment, the international community has made consistent calls for his immediate and unconditional release, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy and American, British and European legislators.

Last week, sixteen leading rights groups also issued a statement calling for Dr Alsingace’s release. (Read the statement)

Dr. Brian Dooley, UCL Visiting Scholar, commented: There is zero excuse for this vindictiveness, for denying Al Singace proper medical care, for taking away his academic research, for trying to humiliate him,” said

Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, Director of the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, commented: “This outpouring of solidarity is a testament to the respect Dr AlSingace commands in the academic community. It is a tragic waste that he continues to languish in a prison cell when he should be imparting knowledge to university students; Bahrain should end their petty persecution, return Dr AlSingace’s research and order his immediate and unconditional release.” 

Dr Kasey McCall-Smith, Senior Lecturer in Public International Law at the University of Edinburgh commented: “The persecution and ill-treatment of Dr AlSingace must stop. Only by releasing Dr AlSingace immediately and unconditionally can Bahrain comply with its international obligations.”

 

Read the full letter below or view a pdf here.

04 August 2021

To the King of Bahrain and the Bahraini Crown Prince

 

Copy:

  • Manchester University President & Vice-Chancellor, Dame Nancy Rothwell
  • Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham
  • FCDO (UK Foreign Office)
  • US Department of State
  • European External Action Service

 

Your Majesties King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa,

We are writing to express our deep concern for the well-being of Bahraini political prisoner and University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) alumni Dr Abduljalil AlSingace, who at the time of writing has been on hunger strike since 8 July 2021 in protest against persistent mistreatment at the hands of Jau Prison authorities and to demand that a book he wrote in prison, which was confiscated by prison guards, be immediately returned to his family.

Dr AlSingace is a respected Bahraini academic, blogger and human rights defender. He has a PhD in Impact Mechanics from the UMIST, now the University of Manchester, is a former lecturer in the Mechanical Engineering department at the University of Bahrain, and a 2007 Draper Hills Fellow at Stanford University’s Center on Democracy Development and the Rule of Law. Dr AlSingace has a disability and suffers a range of chronic health conditions, including post-polio syndrome, and requires the use of crutches or a wheelchair.

In 2011, Dr AlSingace was sentenced to life imprisonment over his leading role in Bahrain’s pro-democracy uprising during the Arab Spring. According to the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, Dr AlSingace was subjected to brutal torture following his arrest, including being repeatedly beaten, “sexually molested”, “forced to lick the shoes” of prison guards and threatened with the rape of his wife and daughter, amongst other violations.

Since his imprisonment, the international community has made consistent calls for his immediate and unconditional release, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy and American, British and European legislators. Like many political prisoners in Bahrain, Dr AlSingace has faced sustained medical negligence by prison authorities throughout his 10-year imprisonment, causing his health to deteriorate severely.

Dr AlSingace’s decision to launch a hunger strike on 8 July 2021 was a response to degrading treatment he was subjected to by Officer Mohammed Yousif Fakhro and to demand the return of his book, upon which he has dedicated at least four years of work. We understand the book to be a study of linguistic diversity among Bahraini Arabic dialects, without any political content, yet the book has not been returned despite repeated promises by prison authorities.

We are thus deeply disturbed to hear that by 29 July 2021 Dr AlSingace had lost 10kg and been transferred to an external hospital for monitoring. Recent outbreaks of COVID-19 reported at Jau Prison further exacerbate the threat to Dr AlSingace’s health.

Dr AlSingace has spent the last decade in prison simply for peacefully standing up for democracy and human rights, which are essential academic values. The confiscation of Dr AlSingace’s book is a cruel and unjust punishment and Dr AlSingace should not have to place his life on the line to secure his basic rights and the return of his intellectual property.

Signatories

  1. Professor Mona Baker, Emeritus Professor, Translation and Intercultural Studies, University of Manchester, UK
  2. Dr Ian Bruff, Senior Lecturer in European Politics, University of Manchester, UK
  3. Dr Luke Bhatia, Lecturer in International Politics, MA Human Rights Programme Director, University of Manchester, UK
  4. Professor James Pattison, Department of Politics, School of Social Sciences, University of Manchester, UK
  5. Professor Kevin Morgan, Professor of Politics and Contemporary History, University of Manchester, UK
  6. Dr Adel Nasser, Senior Lecturer, School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering, University of Manchester, UK
  7. Dr Alexia Yates, Senior Lecturer in History, University of Manchester
  8. Dr Simeon Gill, Department of Materials, University of Manchester, UK
  9. Linzi Stirrup, Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Manchester, UK
  10. Millie Woodrow-Hill, PhD student in Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Manchester, UK
  11. Dr Dharman Jeyasingham, Lecturer in Social Work, University of Manchester, UK
  12. Gail Davidge, Research Associate NIHR GM ARC – Mental Health Stream, University of Manchester, UK
  13. Professor Philippa Browning, Professor of Astrophysics, University of Manchester, UK
  14. Dr Jamie Doucette, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, University of Manchester, UK
  15. Dr Jean-Marc Dreyfus, Reader in Holocaust Studies,  University of Manchester, UK
  16. Professor Helen Beebee, Samuel Hall Professor of Philosophy, University of Manchester, UK
  17. Dr Fred Schurink, Lecturer in Early Modern Literature, University of Manchester, UK
  18. Professor Hal Gladfelder, Senior Lecturer in 18th&19th Century Lit, University of Manchester, UK
  19. Professor Graeme Kirkpatrick, Professor of Social and Cultural Theory, University of Manchester, UK
  20. Professor Julian Williams, Professor of Mathematics, University of Manchester, UK
  21. Dr Richard Child, Lecturer in Political Theory, University of Manchester, UK
  22. Professor James Garratt, Professor of Music History and Aesthetics, University of Manchester, UK
  23. Susan Hogan University of Manchester, UK
  24. Dr Michael Sanders, Senior Lecturer, University of Manchester, UK
  25. Dr Jennifer Hobbs, School of Social Sciences, University of Manchester, UK
  26. Dr Helen Barnes, School of Health Sciences, University of Manchester, UK
  27. Dr Malcolm Gray, Senior Lecturer, Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Manchester, UK
  28. Dr Talia Zajac, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, University of Manchester, UK
  29. Dr Ethan Menchinger, Lecturer in History of Islamic World, University of Manchester, UK
  30. Dr David Alderson, Senior Lecturer in English Literature, University of Manchester, UK
  31. Dr Suzanne M. Embury, Department of Computer Science, University of Manchester, UK
  32. Dr Natalie Zacek, Senior Lecturer, English, American Studies and Creative Writing, University of Manchester, UK
  33. Dr John Piprani, Archaeology Department, University of Manchester, UK
  34. Dr Georg Christ, Senior Lecturer in Medieval and Early Modern History, University of Manchester, UK
  35. Dr Richard Whalley, Senior Lecturer in Musical Composition, University of Manchester, UK
  36. Professor Eva Schultze-Berndt, Professor of Linguistics, University of Manchester, UK
  37. Dr Cristina Temenos,  Lecturer in Human Geography, University of Manchester, UK
  38. Dr Alex Gunz, Lecturer in Marketing, University of Manchester, UK
  39. Rohi Jehan, University of Manchester, UK
  40. Bill Hebenton, Senior Lecturer, School of Social Sciences, University of Manchester, UK
  41. Felix Kwihangana, School of Environment, Education and Development, University of Manchester, UK
  42. Gabriel Neiva, Modern Languages and Cultures, University of Manchester, UK
  43. Rebecca White, Post Doctoral Tutor, University of Manchester, UK
  44. Demetra Kourri, Teaching Assistant, University of Manchester, UK
  45. Clare Cummings, School of Environment, Education and Development, University of Manchester, UK
  46. Joe Stafford, News and Media Relations Officer, University of Manchester, UK
  47. John O’Neill, Hallsworth Chair in Political Economy, University of Manchester,  UK
  48. Joe Lake Rees, Research Assistant, University of Manchester, UK
  49. Penelope Orr, School of Social Sciences, University of Manchester, UK
  50. Paul Tate, Faculty of Humanities, University of Manchester, UK
  51. Holly Hope, Division of Psychology & Mental Health, University of Manchester, UK
  52. Caroline Martin, Executive Committee UCU, University of Manchester, UK
  53. Vanessa Cowan, Systems and Data Management Assistant, University of Manchester, UK
  54. Reka Polonyi, School of Arts, Languages and Cultures, University of Manchester, UK
  55. Christopher Page, Technical Operations Manager, Department of Computer Science, University of Manchester, UK
  56. Sean Dunne, Manager Scientific Services, University of Manchester, UK
  57. Matthew Burns, School of Health Sciences, University of Manchester, UK
  58. Ksenia Litvinenko, School of Environment, Education and Development, University of Manchester, UK
  59. Laura Caradonna, University of Manchester, UK
  60. Miguel Saona-Vallejos, Tutor of Spanish as a Foreign Language, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK
  61. Dr Anne Alexander, Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Cambridge
  62. Professor Richard Hudson FBA, Emeritus Professor of Linguistics, University College London (UCL), UK
  63. Dr Ala’a Shehabi, Deputy Director Institute for Global Prosperity, UCL, UK
  64. Dr Brian Dooley, Visiting Scholar, Global Governance Institute, UCL, UK
  65. Dr Luke Moore, Teaching Fellow in British and Comparative Politics, Department of Political Science , UCL, UK
  66. Seán Doyle, Lecturer in Education, UCL Institute of Education, UK
  67. Sean Wallis, UCL UCU branch president and principal research fellow, UCL, UK
  68. Dr Kate Cronin-Furman, Lecturer in Human Rights, UCL, UK
  69. Dr Saladin Meckled-Garcia, Associate Professor in Human Rights and Political Theory, Co-Director of UCL Institute for Human Rights, UCL, UK
  70. Dr Holly Smith, UCU NEC for London and the East, UCL Institute of Education, UCL, UK
  71. Professor Richard Pettinger,  Director, MSci Information Management for Business, School of Management, UCL, UK
  72. Dr Martin Fry, Department of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering Sciences, UCL, UK
  73. Professor John Chalcraft, Professor of Middle East History and Politics, London School of Economics (LSE), UK
  74. Dr Muna Dajani, Research Officer Middle East Centre, LSE, UK
  75. Dr Rayane Chami, Department of Psychology, Kingston University, UK
  76. Dr Anna Zueva, Senior Lecturer, Department of Management, University of Huddersfield, UK
  77. Dr Gary Allen, Senior Lecturer, Department of Computer Science, University of Huddersfield, UK
  78. Dr Chelsea Sambells, Head of Research – Holocaust Education and Learning Centre, University of Huddersfield, UK
  79. Dr Kasey McCall-Smith, Senior Lecturer in Public International Law, University of Edinburgh, UK
  80. Dr David Wearing, Postdoctoral Research Associate, SOAS University of London (SOAS), UK
  81. Professor Gilbert Achcar, Professor of Development Studies and International Relations, SOAS, UK
  82. Professor Nur Masalha, Centre for Palestine Studies (CPS), SOAS, UK
  83. Professor Jan Toporowski, Professor of Economics and Finance, SOAS, UK
  84. Dr Jens Lerche, Reader in Agrarian and Labour Studies, SOAS, UK
  85. ​​Rahul Rao, Reader in Political Theory, SOAS, UK
  86. Dr Peter Hill, Vice Chancellor’s Research Fellow in History, Northumbria University, UK
  87. Dr Nicola Pratt, Reader, International Politics of the Middle East, University of Warwick, UK
  88. Catherine Cobham, Lecturer, Head of the department of Arabic and Persian, University of St Andrews, UK
  89. Ahmed M. Abozaid, The Handa Center for the Study of Terrorism & Political Violence, School of International Relations, University of St Andrews, UK
  90. Professor Neve Gordon, Professor of human rights law, Queen Mary University of London, UK
  91. Professor Janet C.E. Watson FBA, Co-director of Centre for Endangered Languages, Cultures and Ecosystems, University of Leeds, UK
  92. Professor James Dickins, Professor of Arabic, University of Leeds, UK
  93. Dr Lewis Turner, Lecturer in International Politics of Gender, School of Geography, Politics and Sociology, Newcastle University, UK
  94. Dr Nalini Vittal, member, University and College Union (academic trade union)
  95. James Godfrey, PhD Researcher, Law, Birkbeck, University of London, UK
  96. Professor Anna Stavrianakis, Professor of International Relations, University of Sussex, UK
  97. Dr Ricardo Pereira, Reader in Law, Cardiff University, Law School, UK
  98. Nadje Al-Ali, Professor of Anthropology and Middle East Studies, Brown University, US
  99. Professor Federico Zanettin, Faculty of Political Science, Università di Perugia, Italy
  100. Professor Annalisa Pavan, International Policies on Education, Department of Philosophy, Sociology, Education and Applied Psychology, University of Padova, Italy
  101. Dr Hilary Kilpatrick, Independent Scholar, Switzerland
Take Action & Email Your MP to ask that they urgently raise the case of Dr Abduljalil AlSingace

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