Bahrain: Abduljalil Al-Singace’s health deteriorates (joint communication)

The following is based on a communication written by the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders and other UN experts to the Government of Bahrain on 15 November 2021. It remained confidential for 60 days during which time the Government was expected to respond. The Government did not reply during this window. Replies, if received, will be published on the public UN Special Procedures’ Database.

BACKGROUND

Topic: the deteriorating health of imprisoned human rights defender Abduljalil Al-Singace.

Mr. Abduljalil Al-Singace is the former Director and Spokesperson of the Human Rights Bureau of the Haq Movement for Civil Liberties and Democracy. He was arrested in August 2010 at Bahrain International Airport after returning from participating in a seminar on the human rights situation in Bahrain at the UK House of Lords. After being released without charge, Mr. Al-Singace was arrested again in March 2011, and allegedly disappeared for approximately two months. It is alleged that during his disappearance, Mr. Al-Singace was subjected to various forms of ill- treatment. He was sentenced to life imprisonment on multiple terrorism and State security charges in June 2011. While at liberty, Mr. Al-Singace actively engaged with the UN Human Rights Council as well as other UN human rights mechanisms. Mr. Al-Singace has a disability that required the use of crutches, but now requires a wheelchair.

Since 2010, Mr. Al-Singace has been the subject of several communications by Special Procedures mandate holders, including most recently AL BHR 2/2021, addressed to your the Bahraini Government on 3 May 2021. Mr. Al-Singace reportedly suffers the effects of polio and sickle-cell anemia. We appreciate the response received from the Government to this communication, with further medical information however we regret that additional concerns on his health condition must be raised.

This is a shorter version of the original communication. Since the communication was sent, we have received disturbing information that his health has continued to deteriorate.

Read the original communication

ALLEGATIONS

On 8 July 2021, Mr. Al-Singace informed his family that he would begin a hunger strike in protest against ill-treatment he had been subjected to in Jau Prison and the alleged confiscation of papers on linguistic diversity in Bahrain, that Mr. Al-Singace had written over the course of four years in prison.

On 18 July 2021, Mr. Al-Singace, who suffers from diabetes, along with other medical conditions, and who usually uses crutches, was transferred to Al- Kalaa Hospital having lost over eight kilograms since the beginning of his hunger strike. He was kept at the hospital for approximately one week, before being transferred to Ebrahim Khalil Kando Community Medical Centre, where he has remained since.

Since his transfer to Ebrahim Khalil Kando Community Medical Centre, Mr. Al-Singace has been experiencing vertigo and muscular pains. He has been unable to stand and now requires a wheelchair to move about, rather than using his crutches. As of 25 October 2021, he had lost 20 kilograms, with his health deteriorating greatly.

CONCERNS

In the communication we expressed our concern  as to the deteriorating health of Mr. Al-Singace, as well as to the alleged arbitrary confiscation of his research work. More broadly, we wish to express our continuing concern as to the detention of Mr. Al-Singace, which, as expressed in previous communications addressed to your Excellency’s Government, appears to be solely based on his legitimate advocacy for the respect and protection of human rights in Bahrain.

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