Bahrain’s Leading Human Rights Defenders on Hunger Strike

Human Rights Defender and Bahraini prisoner of conscience Dr. Abduljalil al-Singace has begun a hunger strike as of March 21st, demanding to receive news of detainees in Jaw Prison and also calling for Jaw Prison to remove the bans on calls and visits to its Building 4, where Dr. al-Singace’s son Husain is being held. In a message to his family, Dr. al-Singace asserted that all detainees are his sons, not simply Husain, and that he would continue his hunger strike until the condition of Building 4 is improved, and when all detainees across Jaw Prison are able to contact their families.

Dr. al-Singace’s hunger strike comes in tandem with human rights defender Abdulhadi al-Khawaja’s hunger strike, during which he is also demanding improved conditions for prisoners in Bahrain.  Al-Khawaja, like Dr. al-Singace, is a member of the Bahrain 13 and was also sentenced to life in prison on political charges in 2011. Al-Khawaja is striking to call for an end to arbitrary arrests & detention, as well as an investigation into the alleged torture and mistreatment that continues to take place in Bahrain’s prisons.

Dr. Al-Singace was sentenced to life in prison in 2011 in reaction to his human rights activism. Due to previous instances of torture, abuse and mistreatment, Dr. Al-Singace’s already fragile health is at risk of being further endangered by the strike. Prison officials have denied Dr. Singace access to critical medical treatment, with as many as fourteen medical appointments cancelled by Bahraini authorities.  Al-Khawaja, who began his water-only hunger strike on March 2nd, is also suffering from serious health issues and is at severe risk of further health complications. ADHRB stands in solidarity with Dr. Abduljalil al-Singace and Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, and expresses concern for their health and well-being, along with all prisoners currently held in Jaw Prison. ADHRB calls for the release of Dr. Al-Singace, his son Husain, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja and all political prisoners currently detained in Bahrain.