Timeline: Dr Abduljalil AlSingace’s Hunger Strike

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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

3 May 2022

  • Dr Abduljalil AlSingace elapses 300 days on hunger strike.
  • Despite being kept in a medical facility, he is being subjected to deliberate denial of adequate medical care.
    • He has still not been provided with the results of an MRI taken last October 2021, of his left shoulder. The MRI was taken at Hamad Military Hospital in Muharraq; 
    • He is still being prevented from an MRI on his head, as requested by neurologist Hani Al-Fardan in January;
    • He is still being denied access to:
      • Prescribed medications;
      • A hot water bottle.

 

28 April 2022

  • Dr AlSingace agreed to go back on his IV prior to the commencement of Ramadhan. However, he is still abstaining from any solid foods and as of today, he is on day 295 of his hunger strike; 
  • Dr AlSingace was last visited by the doctor responsible for him, Dr Ebrahim AlRumaihi, three months ago and he does not know the reason why;
  • The result of the MRI taken on his shoulder in King Hamad Military Hospital in October 2021 is still not available to him;
  • The Ministry is not providing Dr AlSingace with the sugars he wants to put in his tea and milk. He believes this is to pressure him into stopping his strike; 
  • Dr AlSingace has finally been provided with pain-relieving creams prescribed to him after they were held in Jau Prison’s administrative custody for over two months.
  • Dr AlSingace’s case was mentioned in the US State Department report on human rights released in April 2022, under the section “Academic Freedom and Cultural Events”.

 

20 February 2022

  • BIRD received updates from Dr AlSingace noting the following:
    • The last time the doctor responsible for him, Dr Ebrahim AlRumaihi, visited was on 17 January 2022;
    • He is still awaiting an MRI on his head as requested by his doctor on January 19 2022;
    • He is still being denied video calls so has been unable to see his new grandson Youssef born mid-January;
    • The number of visitors has been reduced to just two individuals, once a week;
    • Dr AlSingace is again being subjected to nightly harassment and being woken from sleep, due to the way duty officers are entering his hospital room, despite the light being turned off and them knowing he is asleep. They enter his room very late at night, even after midnight, waking him and leaving it difficult for him to return to sleep.

 

3 February 2022

  •  Dr Abduljalil AlSingace’s health deteriorated suddenly, forcing the on-duty doctor and paramedics to intervene to treat him. He was given an oxygen mask.

 

30 January 2022

  • BIRD learns that Dr Abduljalil AlSingace is:
    • Still not being provided with basic medication and a hot water bottle despite repeated requests;
    • The results of his previous MRI for his left shoulder and for his head have not yet been delivered to him; the MRI was conducted on 9 October 2021; He now requires a new MRI after being seen by a neurologist but the doctor does not have the results of the previous MRI. 
    • He is still awaiting a CT Scan despite a doctor requesting this months ago;
    • He continues to refuse his IV, Ensure vitamins, and oral medication to protest the arbitrary suspension of his weekly video calls;
    • He is suffering from medical conditions like pain in the neck and back due to a dislocated disc in the lower back and a cervical disc, as well as numbness and tingling in the muscles of his body;
    • Blood samples taken show a considerable drop in proteins and a severe drop in Urea to less than half of the normal amount;
    • His immunity is still low due to a low white blood cell count and his vertigo continues.

 

23 January 2022

  • Dr Abduljalil AlSingace elapses 200 days on hunger strike.
  • Dr AlSingace has still not been informed of the outcome of an MRI scan taken over three months ago, on 8 October 2021, as requested by his doctor.
  • He is suffering from medical conditions like pain in the neck and back due to a dislocated disc in the lower back and a cervical disc, as well as numbness and tingling in muscles of his body.
  • Dr AlSingace is also experiencing cases of vertigo due to an injury sustained during severe beatings and torture during interrogations in 2011.

 

20 January 2022

  • Blood samples from Dr AlSingace showed a considerable drop in proteins and a severe drop in Urea to less than half of the normal amount.
  • His immunity is still low due to a low white blood cell count.

 

17 January 2022

  • Today, a coalition of 27 human rights organisation including the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, Amnesty International and Committee to Protect Journalists have written to leaders in democratic countries including the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary, the United States Secretary of State, Germany’s Foreign Minister, the  EU Special Representative for Human Rights and Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, as well leaders in Italy, France, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Australia and Canada.

 

15 January 2022

  • Dr Abduljalil AlSingace celebrates his 60th birthday in a medical facility.
  • Jeremy Corbyn MP tweeted about the case.
  • UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders tweeted about the case.

 

14 January 2022

  • Senator Cardin tweeted about the case.

 

13 January 2022

  • Today, the ongoing detention of political prisoners in Bahrain was debated in a Backbench Bussiness Debate in the Chamber of the House of Commons, where cross-party MPs including Brendan O’Hara MP, Chair of APPG for Democracy and Human Rights in the Gulf; Conservative Father of the House, Sir Peter Bottomley MP; Shadow MENA Minister, Bambos Charalambous; and former Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn MP, voiced their concerns;
  • The debate comes on the 190th day of the hunger strike of Dr Abduljalil AlSingace in Bahrain, as he demands that authorities hand over his confiscated research to his family. The government were criticised for “remain[ing] silent” on his case;
  • The full debate can be viewed here;
  • A Press Conference took place outside the Bahraini Embassy in London today in the wake of the debate.  Brendan O’Hara MP and Jeremy Corbyn MP spoke.

3 January 2022

  • Dr AlSingace elapses 180 days on hunger strike in Bahrain.
  • Dr AlSingace has still not been informed of the outcome of an MRI scan taken over two months ago and no progress has been made on giving him a CT scan as requested by his doctor over two months ago.
  • Dr AlSingace is suffering from medical conditions like severe intermittent headaches, a prostate problem, arthritis in his shoulder joint, tremors, numbness and diminished eyesight, but he does not receive the expected medical care for them.
  • His immunity is still low due to a low white blood cell count.

 

13 December 2021

  • Updates received on 13 December: BIRD received first-hand accounts from family members after their visit to him yesterday, reporting that Dr Abduljalil AlSingace has been refusing his IV for over two weeks, and has stopped taking supplementary vitamins for three weeks, in protest at authorities stopping his weekly video calls to his family.
  • As a result, family members report that AlSingace has lost a considerable amount of weight, appearing more fragile and pale than previously. His sugar levels remain dangerously low.

 

05 December 2021 

  •  BIRD received updates from family members reporting that Dr AlSingace appeared more thin and frail than previous visits; he appeared tired, pale and his fingertips were cold to the touch; despite this, family members report Dr AlSingace’s spirits to remain high. 


28 November 2021
 

  •  BIRD received updates from family members reporting that Dr AlSingace was pale and yellow, his fingertips were very cold despite the AC being off. Since Wednesday 24 November 2021, AlSingace has been on an IV; every 6 hours, it is changed. His hands and arms have lots of holes due to the needles used for the IV.

 

20 November 2021

  •  F1 Champion Lewis Hamilton comments on the case of Dr Abduljalil AlSingace and acknowledges he is aware of his ongoing hunger strike, during a press conference in Qatar.

  • Lewis also said that F1 is ‘duty bound’ to raise awareness of human rights.

 

19 November 2021

  • Between 19 – 21 November 2021, Bahrain hosted the annual Manama Dialogue, in which world leaders were invited to speak. In anticipation of the interventions made by the US Defence Secretary, BIRD sent a letter raising the cases of political prisoners in Bahrain with a focus on Dr Abduljalil AlSingace’s case. The Associated Press mentioned the letter to the US Defence Secretary in a story published on his remarks.

 

14 November 2021

  • BIRD received updates from family members reporting that Dr AlSingace was experiencing shortness of breath, had unusually cold hands, and appeared to be in a fragile state.  

 

12 November 2021 

  • Dr AlSingace was given an oxygen mask as his oxygen levels dropped, as well as having to undergo a cardiac enzyme test – this is usually done to detect whether someone has experienced a heart attack.

 

10 November 2021

  • BIRD received updates from family members reporting that AlSingace has been experiencing episodes of vertigo over the past few days.

 

8 November 2021

  • BIRD received updates from family members reporting that AlSingace’s book has now undergone a legal review and that it has been determined to be apolitical. Despite this decision, authorities are still refusing to hand over his work to his family. 
    • Health condition: Over the past few weeks, the visits by his doctors have become sparse, with doctors only seeing him once every 2 or 3 weeks, and his access to medications and pain relief products has been delayed despite repeated requests. His skin is continually cold to the touch, bruises from the use of an IV are not fading, his hair is thinning and his hands remain swollen. Contrary to his requests, police remain present in his hospital room 24/7 while he sleeps and during family visits.

 

5 November 2021

  • On 5 November 2021, US Senator Rubio called for AlSingace’s immediate release.

 

4 November 2021

  • Dr AlSingace elapses his 120th day on hunger strike, marked on social media with a video outlining his case.

 

3 November 2021

  • The Independent – Bahrain accused of Cop26 ‘greenwashing’ as it continues Saudi-led war in Yemen
    • A group of 6 UK MPs and peers, including former Green Party leader Baroness Natalie Bennett, have accused Bahrain of ‘greenwashing’ after Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad AlKhalifa appeared at Cop26 to promote Bahrain’s green credentials while his government continue the “devastating” war in Yemen and abuse political prisoners, pointing to jailed opposition leader Dr Abduljalil AlSingace, who enters his 120th day on hunger strike tomorrow.

 

29 October 2021

  • As Dr AlSingace enters his 114th day on Hunger Strike, BIRD receives worrying reports from his family members detailing the following: Dr AlSingace’s blood sugar level has dropped to 2.3. This level is dangerously low & could lead to loss of consciousness. His calcium levels are low and his immunity is weakening.

 

25 October 2021

  • An Early Day Motion (EDM) tabled by Paula Barker MP, calls for the immediate release of political prisoner Dr Abduljalil AlSingace who has spent over 100 days on hunger strike; Decries Dr AlSingace’s life sentence for his peaceful leading role in Bahrain’s 2011 pro-democracy uprising; and unreservedly condemns Dr AlSingace’s torture in 2011 by Bahraini officials.  The EDM has  supporters from cross-party Members of Parliament. 
  • BIRD launched an email to your MP campaign calling on MPs to sign EDM 578.

 

15 October 2021

 

14 October 2021

  • Protesters gathered outside Bahrain’s embassy in London in solidarity with  Dr Abduljalil AlSingace on his 99th day on hunger strike. Speakers included Lord Scriven, Amnesty International and English PEN calling on Bahrain to end their ill-treatment of AlSingace and return his academic research which was confiscated by prison guards in April. Read more.

 

08 October 2021

  • Reports from family members detailed that Dr AlSingace had three blood tests done this week; his white cell blood count was lower than what is normal. He was said to be suffering from the flu, severe pain in the muscles of his right hand and his voice sounded tired.

 

06 October 2021

  • Reports from family members detailed that Dr AlSingace suffered a sickle cell crisis that lasted for days. He had severe muscle pain and his white blood cell count is unstable & low. His Vitamin D, Iron, Calcium & Sodium levels were at critical levels and he was still waiting to be taken for an MRI and CT scan.

 

05 October 2021

  • Dr AlSingace elapses his 90th day on hunger strike.

 

28 September 2021

  • An open letter addressed to UK Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Liz Truss, which received over 75 signatures, was published by The Independent’s Voices Section (see pdf) and later republished in full by Middle East Monitor.
  • Three days later, a hard copy of the letter was sent by Alistair Carmichael MP to the UK Foreign Secretary (see pdf).
  • The open letter was also featured in an article published by the Middle East Eye.

 

25 September 2021

  • Dr AlSingace elapses his 80th day on hunger strike.

 

15 September 2021

  • Dr AlSingace elapses 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

Take Action & Email Your MP to ask that they support the case of Dr Abduljalil AlSingace by signing EDM 107

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