Dr Abduljalil AlSingace marks two years on hunger strike
Today, 8th July, marks the two-year anniversary of Bahraini human rights defender Dr. Abduljalil AlSingace’s hunger strike without solid food in protest against the confiscation of his manuscripts on Bahraini dialects of Arabic by prison authorities.
For the past two years, Dr. AlSingace has sustained himself only on multivitamin liquid supplements, tea with milk and sugar, water, and salts.
As of June 23, 2023, Dr Abduljalil AlSingace decided to suspend family visits and telephone calls, the only ways to communicate with his family, in protest of continued medical negligence and prevention of treatment.
Authorities have subjected him to solitary confinement at Kanoo medical centre since 18 July 2021, without access to outside space or direct sunlight.
The prison administration continues to deny him required examinations for the shoulder, head, and eye, treatment for joints, vision, prostate, and tremors, physical therapy despite having a dedicated and equipped floor for it in the medical centre, and necessity items including medical slippers to prevent slipping in the bathroom, a hot water bottle to relieve pain, as well as crutch tips.
Additionally, authorities continue to limit his access to information by banning English and Arabic newspapers and reducing the number of accessible TV channels.
10 MPs have written to Foreign Secretary James Cleverly urging him to leverage the UK’s close relationship with Bahrain and make representations to ensure the return of Dr AlSingace’s research, his access to medical care, and his unconditional release.
A coalition of 19 NGOs sent a letter to Bahrain’s King Hamad expressing concern regarding Dr AlSingace’s deteriorating health and urging him to secure his immediate and unconditional release.
The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention adopted an opinion on Dr AlSingace’s case during its ninety-sixth session on 27 March–5 April 2023. The ruling supports repeated allegations of torture at the hands of the Bahraini government and states that his arrest was unlawful and that he was subjected to enforced disappearance.
On July 3, 2023, Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa met with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. In a statement released after the meeting, 10 Downing Street made no mention of human rights despite a letter sent by 14 parliamentarians urging the Prime Minister to raise the cases of political prisoners including Dr AlSingace when meeting with the Bahraini Crown Prince.
The family of Dr Abduljalil AlSingace made the following statement in recognition of the anniversary of the beginning of his hunger strike: “We are devastated that our father’s suffering has now lasted two years without a resolution in sight. He has been clear since he began his hunger strike that he will not relent until his manuscripts are handed to us. What is most worrying now is that he has decided to end his contact with us in response to the government’s failure to provide the medical treatment he needs. This was our only way to see how is he coping. We urge authorities to meet his demands and end his suffering. We hold them responsible for his safety.”
Sayed Ahmed AlWadaei, advocacy director at the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) stated: “Al-Singace is one of Bahrain’s most renowned human rights defenders and academics and his struggle for two years to restore his right shows the ruthless nature of Bahrain’s dictatorship. Our letter to the King and Crown Prince as those ultimately responsible for his ordeal and ongoing suffering.
Despite their appalling treatment of Dr AlSingace and other political prisoners, the UK government has rewarded Bahrain with more trade agreements and a closer relationship. Bahrain must not continue to feel immune from the consequences of their actions.”