Human rights defender Dr. Abduljalil Al-Singace, who was sentenced to life imprisonment, began a hunger strike on Thursday, 8 July, in protest against the degrading treatment he was subjected to by the commanding officer, Mohamed Yusuf Fakhro, in Jau Prison. Such treatment constitutes a violation of his most basic human rights. The officer confiscated his research papers which he had spent four years writing and has been delaying returning them for the last four months. The officer has also refused to respond to Dr. Al-Singace’s requests to make phone calls and meet urgent needs.
Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) condemns the violations committed against Dr. Al-Singace, which prompted him to go on a hunger strike. He suffers from polio syndrome and sickle-cell anemia with symptoms including chronic pain, numbness, and shortness of breath. This places his health in danger, especially since Jau Prison has witnessed an outbreak of the Coronavirus among prisoners since March, as a result of the prison administration’s neglect and failure to implement appropriate health measures. The prisoner Husain Barakat fell victim to this crisis, dying from Coronavirus complications. ADHRB urges the Ministry of Interior to open an investigation into the treatment Dr. Al-Singace was subjected to and calls for his immediate release along with the rest of the political prisoners.
This is not the first time that Dr. Al-Singace had gone on a hunger strike to protest ill-treatment and deprivation of the most basic rights. Rather, he has gone on strikes repeatedly, including on 21 March 2015, when he started a hunger strike to protest against collective punishment, torture, and degrading practices, as well as the deterioration of the general conditions in prison. At that time, he also
Since Dr. Al-Singace’s arrest, his health has sharply deteriorated. Despite this, prison authorities have denied him proper medical treatment. On 20 November 2020, he tripped and fell down twice due to the Jau prison administration’s failure to provide rubber supports for his crutches and their refusal to allow his family to provide them. Dr. Al-Singace had tried to solve this problem previously, after falling to the ground repeatedly and regularly, es, but this attempt did not work.
The prison administration has also refrained from presenting him before specialized doctors for more than 4 years, despite his suffering from several health problems. In addition to his suffering from post-polio syndrome, Dr. Al-Singace suffers from a He frequently experiences dizziness and fainting spells.
Despite all these problems which Dr. Al-Singace experiences, the prison administration is still delaying providing him with some medication. On 9 February 2020, Dr. Al-Singace was taken to hospital after a sharp and sudden drop in blood sugar due to the prison administration’s refusal to take him to his regular medical appointments and their refusal to present him to specialists in order to treat his multiple medical issues. In addition, at the time, Dr. Al-Singace was suffering from chest pains and numbness in his fingertips.
Dr. Abduljalil Al-Singace is a Bahraini academic who was a human rights activist and blogger until 2011, when he was arrested after being beaten, tortured and detained for participating in protests. He is among the Bahrain Thirteen, which includes political leaders who were arrested for their role in the democratic movement in Bahrain in 2011. Dr. Al-Singace was tortured and sentenced to life imprisonment in an unfair trial on the charge of attempting to overthrow the government.
Several human rights and international organizations have called for the immediate release of Dr. Al-Singace and the provision of the necessary medical care. In a recent statement, the Gulf Center for Human Rights denounced the violation of Dr. Al-Singace’s most basic rights and his resorting to a hunger strike once again in protest against ill-treatment. Since he is a blogger, Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists have called for his immediate and unconditional release as well.