Dear Your Majesty,
My name is Ali Mushaima, and I am writing to ask Your Majesty to help me save the life of my 70-year-old father, Hassan Mushaima, who is now paying a harsh price for demanding human rights and democratic change in Bahrain in 2011.
The deep relations between Buckingham Palace and its Bahraini counterpart have been celebrated on many occasions. Your Majesty has now played host to King Hamad of Bahrain at the Royal Windsor Horse Show for several years, even offering him the privilege of a seat next to Your Majesty during the event. Last year, Your Majesty gifted King Hamad a three-year-old Arabian stallion, Hamdani Ra’ad, thereby publicly declaring the strength of your personal relationship with the Bahraini Royal family. I am sure that your gift is now receiving the best possible care in Bahrain; regrettably, this is not a luxury afforded to political prisoners. My father is not even entitled to enjoy his basic human rights while he is unfairly rotting in infamous Jau Prison.
The total indifference my father’s case has received from both the Bahraini Government and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has left me with no choice but to follow my father’s firm commitment to peaceful protest. Today, I am sitting outside the Bahraini Embassy in Belgrave Square, only half a mile away from Buckingham Palace, preparing myself to enter the 21st day of my hunger strike to protest his inhumane treatment.
I start each day by walking to Victoria Station to bathe, before returning to the site of my protest which, so far, has done little to improve my father’s prison condition. After 20 days, I am deeply disappointed that my simple requests have fallen on deaf ears. Life imprisonment is not considered cruel enough by those who seek to silence my father, as it appears that the Bahraini government deem the dignity and well-being of a human less worthy than that of a horse.
The Bahraini authorities are now slowly but deliberately killing him by denying him access to vital medical care. My father suffers a number of serious chronic illnesses, including erratic blood pressure and diabetes, and is also a survivor of lymphoma cancer. On a daily basis, he is required to take a variety of medications to stabilise these conditions. Without them, his life is at risk. Since 2016, however, the government has prevented him from seeing an oncologist to determine whether his lymphoma cancer has returned, despite the need for screenings every six months.
These life-threatening measures add to the humiliation my father is constantly subjected to. My father has not seen his family since February 2017, as authorities have punished political prisoners specifically by imposing further degrading restrictions on healthcare, family visits and access to books. Political prisoners are forcibly chained and shackled if they want to see their beloved ones. My father, however, refused to accept these demeaning conditions.
My doctor has expressed serious concerns about my considerable weight loss. Nonetheless, my frustrations have led me to explore more extreme avenues: I will go on a full hunger strike by sacrificing my intake of vital sugars (through juice), despite the risks this entails for my own health, if the Bahraini authorities do not meet my demands by next week.
This week I will be celebrating Eid in Belgrave Square rather than at home, with my beloved wife and 4-months-old daughter. While I will only be denied the comfort of home on this special day, at least I will be celebrating as a free man. My father, instead, is being forced to spend yet another Eid behind bars and separated from his family, who he has not seen for over 18 months, a basic right that seems to have become a privilege.
I would like to ask Your Majesty to use the influence and strong friendship with the King of Bahrain to help me save my father. All I ask for is for him to be treated humanely, including access to adequate medical treatment, books, and family visitation without subjecting him to humiliating measures.
To end, I hope Your Majesty makes it clear to their Bahraini King that the rights and dignity of a human being are non-negotiable, and that the United Kingdom’s strong commitment to these principles goes far beyond historical ties and so will not be compromised.