The Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), English PEN and Index on Censorship gathered outside the Bahrain Embassy in London on Wednesday 29 July 2015 to protest the ongoing detention of Dr Abduljalil Al-Singace.
Al-Singace is a prominent academic and blogger who promoted human rights in Bahrain since 2000. Police arrested Al-Singace for his participation in peaceful protests in 2011. During his initial detention, security officials subjected Al-Singace to torture and ill-treatment, including forced standing, verbal and sexual assault, beatings, and prolonged solitary confinement. He was tried by a military court in June 2011 and sentenced to life in prison for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government.
Al-Singace’s health has rapidly deteriorated since he was imprisoned, and he is kept from receiving desperately needed medical supplies. On 21 March 2015 Al-Singace began a hunger strike in protest of the ill-treatment of inmates and the poor, unsanitary conditions at Jau Prison. He has now completed 132 days of hunger strike.
Rights groups gathered at the solidarity protest unanimously called for the release of Al-Singace and denounced restrictions on freedom of expression in Bahrain. The organisations also called on Bahrain to investigate allegations of torture in Bahrain’s prisons and called for urgent medical attention for Al-Singace.
Freedom of expression in Bahrain has continued to be restricted since 2011, when Saudi Arabian troops helped crush pro-democracy protests during the Arab Spring. The government regularly censors its citizens’ opinions, especially criticisms of the government, and imprisonment is a common punishment for simply expressing one’s opinion. Al-Singace is only one of many who have been jailed for expressing their beliefs. His continued strength and activism remains an inspiration to those still fighting within Bahrain and around the world for the fundamental right to freedom of expression.
Al-Singace suffers from post-polio syndrome, heart, eye, and sinus problems, and requires urgent nasal and ear surgery. Prison authorities have denied Al-Singace the specialist medical treatment that he urgently needs. He is currently being detained at the Al-Qalaa Hospital and is not permitted to go outdoors. He is also being denied access to novels, religious texts, television, radio, and pen and paper for writing.
Join our social media campaign #SingaceHungerStrike in solidarity with Dr. Al-Singace.
Send writing materials and messages of support to Dr. Al- Singace.
Find out more about freedom of expression in Bahrain.