Dr Abduljalil AlSingace, an imprisoned opposition activist and human rights defender, has been on hunger strike since 8 July 2021. He is protesting against persistent ill-treatment at the hands of Jau Prison authorities, the main prison in Bahrain, restrictions imposed during COVID19 limiting prisoners contact to only five numbers, and to demand that a book he wrote in prison that was confiscated be immediately handed to his family, a coalition of 16 rights groups stated today.
A respected academic, blogger and a University of Manchester alumni, Dr AlSingace has spent the last decade in prison serving a life imprisonment sentence. He was amongst 13 opposition activists arrested between 17 March and 9 April 2011, including high-profile political opposition leaders, activists and human rights defenders, who were then convicted by a military tribunal for their roles in the 2011 pro-democracy protest movement
15 September 2021
- Dr AlSingace elsapses his 70th day on hunger strike.
8 September 2021
- As Dr AlSingace enters his 63rd day on hunger strike in Bahrain, BIRD hears reports from family members that he has now lost 20kg. Dr AlSingace is suffering from low blood pressure and a low white blood cell count. He is complaining of joint pain and a delay in receiving prescribed medication to treat this. He is also suffering from muscle shakes and dry eyes, for which he is also awaiting medication. Dr AlSingace has been recommended an MRI and CT scan, but he has had neither.
18 August 2021
- As Dr AlSingace enters his 42nd day on hunger strike in Bahrain, BIRD hears reports from family members that he has now lost 18kg and is complaining of harassment by guards at Kanoo Medical Centre where is currently staying for monitoring. Read more.
12 August 2021
- AP diplomatic journalist Matt Lee raises Dr AlSingace’s hunger strike with US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price during a State Department press briefing. Watch the video or read the transcript
3 August 2021
- Bahrain published a statement that commented that Dr AlSingace had “been admitted to a centre operated by the Ministry of Health, and he is receiving all necessary medical care. The inmate remains fully conscious with his vital signs normal, and he is subject to regular monitoring and care.”
30 July 2021
- 16 leading human rights groups including Amnesty International, BIRD, Scholars at Risk and the Committee to Protect Journalists issue a public statement calling for Dr AlSingace’s confiscated research to be returned and for his immediate release from prison.
- Dr AlSingace was transferred from AlQalaa hospital to Kanoo medical centre.
28 July 2021
Bahrain’s Ministry of Interior Ombudsman published an investigation:
- According to the Ombudsman, who cleared the prison officials of any wrongdoing and accused Dr AlSingace for alleged “smuggling” of his own work, Dr Al Singace “was not subjected to mistreatment”. This conclusion was reached without Dr AlSingace’s testimony as he refused to be interviewed. Human Rights Watch has found that the Ombudsman has repeatedly failed to investigate credible allegations of prison abuse or to hold officials accountable. The UN Committee against Torture has also raised concernsthat these bodies were neither independent nor effective.
- Although the Ombudsman states that prison authorities “did not intend to confiscate the papers”, it confirms “that the reason for [Dr AlSingace’s] hunger strike was the confiscation of the papers he wrote” and that his work cannot be returned until a “legal decision” is taken.
27 July 2021
- Activists hold an all-day protest outside the Bahraini Embassy in London calling for Dr AlSingace’s release and for his hunger strike demands to be met.
23 July 2021
- Amnesty International Bahrain Team posted a Tweet expressing concern which calls for Dr AlSingace to be released immediately and unconditionally, labelling him a ‘prisoner of conscience’.
- Layla Moran MP, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson, posted on Twitter in support of Dr AlSingace.
- Brendan O’Hara MP, SNP Spokesperson for International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution, posted on Twitter in support of Dr AlSingace.
20 July 2021
- Shadow Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, Wayne David MP, posts on Twitter in support of Dr AlSingace.
- Father of the House of Commons, Conservative MP Sir Peter Bottomley, endorses a motion calling on the UK government to “use all available leverage to press Bahrain for the immediate and unconditional release” of Dr AlSingace, giving the motion cross-party support.
19 July 2021
- The Office of the Public Prosecution referred AlSingace’s case to the Ombudsman of the Ministry of Interior (the Ombudsman). The statement from the Public Prosecution incorrectly provided that AlSingace’s hunger strike was also related to “the refusal of the [Jau’s Reformation and Rehabilitation] centre’s administration to allow him to contact his relatives”.
- Andrew Gwynne MP published a public statement in support of Dr AlSingace which called on the FCDO to intervene and publicly call for Dr AlSingace’s release from prison. The statement includes a comment from Andrew.
- Lord Scriven posted on Twitter in support of Dr AlSingace.
18 July 2021
- Dr AlSingace was transferred from Jau Prison to AlQalaa hospital for monitoring after his health deteriorated.
16 July 2021
- Four UK parliamentarians, including former Green Party leader Baroness Bennett, signed an Open Letter which Andrew Gwynne MP sent to Dominic Raab, raising concerns over Dr AlSingace’s case and asking the UK government to publicly call for his immediate release.
15 July 2021
- House of Lords debate where Dr AlSingace’s case is raised twice with the government. Baroness Northover and Lord Browne urge the government to call for his release.
8 July 2021
- Dr AlSingace began a hunger strike in protest at degrading treatment in the prison, particularly by Officer Yousif Fahkro, prolonged medical negligence and the confiscation of a book he wrote over the course of 4 years in detention by prison authorities. Dr AlSingace initially refused to ingest food and medication, take Covid-19 tests and make video calls to his family.
How you can help
- Post your support for Dr AlSingace on social media using the hashtag #FreeAlSingace
If you are UK-based, use BIRD’s online app to send an email to your MP asking them to raise Dr AlSingace’s case with the UK Government