Bahrain – Rights group appeals for Dr Abduljalil al-Singace as Hunger Strike Reaches 160th Day

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SHAFAQNA - Bahraini prisoner of conscience Dr Abduljalil al-Singace today hits a milestone 160 days of hunger strike as rights organisations appeal for his freedom. Forty-one international NGOs today released an urgent appeal addressed to the Government of Bahrain to release the hunger striker.

On 21 March 2015, Dr al-Singace went on hunger strike in protest at the collective punishment and acts of torture that police inflicted upon prisoners following a riot in Jau Prison earlier that month. Since then, he has subsisted on water, fizzy drinks and IV injections.

The United States government recently stated their awareness of Dr al-Singace’s case and urged Bahrain to ensure adequate medical care for all prisoners and an investigation into all reports of mistreatment. The UK government has previously raised his case with Bahrain, though they have never called for his release. The 41 NGOs call on the international community, and in particular the US and the European Union, to urge for Dr al-Singace’s release.

The release of the urgent appeal also coincides with a protest led by the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democacy (BIRD), English PEN, Index on Censorship and REDRESS outside the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London, calling on them to take action on Dr al-Singace’s case and to put pressure on the Bahraini authorities to end human rights abuses in Bahrain and its prisons.

Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, Director of Advocacy at BIRD: “The United Kingdom should use its leverage with Bahrain to secure Abduljalil’s release and hold their ally accountable. He is a blogger, a journalist, a thinker and categorically should not be in prison.”

Cat Lucas, Writers at Risk Programme Manager, English PEN: “PEN remains seriously concerned for Dr al-Singace, now on the 160th day of his hunger strike in protest at the treatment of his fellow prisoners. We continue to urge the Bahraini authorities to release Dr al-Singace and the many other writers of concern to PEN unconditionally, and to allow him access to the medical attention he requires, as well as to reading and writing materials, as a matter of urgency.”

Jodie Ginsberg, CEO, Index on Censorship: “Dr al-Singace has been on hunger strike for more than five months and the UK has yet to call for his release. His arrest, sentencing and treatment in jail have received international condemnation and we call on Britain to join global counterparts in calling for Dr al-Singace’s release and ensuring he receives appropriate medical assistance.”

Dr Abduljalil al-Singace is a prisoner of conscience and a member of the Bahrain 13, a group of activists arrested by the Bahraini government for their role in peaceful protests in 2011. Dr al-Singace is a blogger, academic, and former Head of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Bahrain. Dr al-Singace is currently serving a life sentence ordered by a military court on 22 June 2011.

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