Bahrain: Dr. Abduljalil al-Singace Birthday Spent yet again behind Bars

On the 15th of January, Dr. Dr. Abduljalil al-Singace celebrated his 57th birthday. This is yet another birthday spent behind bars. He is a Bahraini human rights activist, engineer, and blogger serving a life sentence solely based on his activism. 

Dr. Singace earned his Ph.D in mechanical engineering from the Institute of Technology of the
University of Manchester. He was Chief Engineering Professor at the University of Bahrain until
2005, at which point he was stripped of the title for his involvement in pro-democratic civil society
movements and open opposition to the government. He was the head and official spokesperson of
the Human Rights Bureau for the Haq Movement for Liberty and Democracy. He is also a blogger
who has long sought democratic and human rights reform in Bahrain. As a result he has been subject
to several arbitrary arrests and ill-treatment.

On 17 March 2011 he was rearrested during a “state of emergency” imposed by
the Bahraini government. The lawyer who defended him, Mohammed al-Tajer, was arrested the
following month. On 22 June 2011, he was brought before a military court along with the other
members of the “Bahrain 13”, a renowned group of activists and human rights defenders who
supported the democratic protests in 2011. The court sentenced Dr al-Singace to life in prison on the
charge of “plotting to topple” the government. Dr. al-Singace suffers from post-polio syndrome, resulting in paralysis and confining him to a wheel chair. Bahraini authorities have subjected him to torture while in prison, even using his disability against him to enhance his suffering.

Since his imprisonment, Dr. al-Singace’s health has sharply deteriorated, yet prison authorities have denied him adequate medical treatment, including for low white blood cell count and low potassium. Prison authorities additionally have refused him rubber stoppers for his crutches, resulting in falls on the prison floors and subsequent ridicule from prison staff. While in prison, Dr. Abduljalil al-Singace has gone on hunger strikes to protest against the prison’s use of collective punishment, torture, and humiliating practices, as well as the general worsening prison conditions.

The European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR) condemns this sentence against Dr. al-Singace and calls on the Government of Bahrain to immediately and unconditionally release him and all other prisoners of conscience. This case is yet another example of the ongoing and systematic deterioration of human rights in Bahrain. It clearly demonstrates the unfair and illegal conditions activists and prisoners of conscience face in the country.

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