What are the Bahraini authorities waiting for to release Abduljalil Al-Singace?
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) call for the urgent release of Abduljalil Al-Singace, a blogger jailed for the past ten and a half years in Bahrain who has been on hunger strike for nearly three months in protest against the treatment he is receiving in prison.
Aged 59 and serving a life sentence, Al-Singace has been on hunger strike since 8 July and has lost more than 20 kilos. His health in now in great danger.
RSF has learned that he is currently consuming only water and milk powder dissolved in water. As a result, his blood sugar level is dangerously low, and his blood pressure and white blood cell count have also dropped drastically. He was transferred to the Kanoo medical centre on 30 July.
Al-Singace is protesting against constant harassment by his prison guards, who eavesdrop on his phone calls with his family, often disconnect his phone line without any warning, keep him under constant surveillance in his cell, and prevent him from sleeping.
The research work he had been doing in prison was also confiscated from him without any justification. In 2015, he went on hunger strike for more than 300 days in protest against the way he was being mistreated.
In March, on the tenth anniversary of his arrest, RSF called on the authorities to release him because his health has worsened steadily in prison. He is not getting appropriate medical care for muscular problems that are the result of a polio attack in his youth, and he has difficulty walking because the rubber cushions on his crutches have worn down.
In a written response to RSF, the Bahraini government claimed that Al-Singace was receiving “all necessary healthcare and treatment,” and that it was “proud of its human rights record.”
“We call on the Bahraini authorities to urgently release Abduljalil Al-Singace for the sake of the human rights that the kingdom claims to protect,” said Sabrina Bennoui, the head of RSF’s Middle East desk. “It is deplorable and unacceptable that, to denounce his prison conditions. this blogger is being forced to resort to this extreme method that is putting his health in great danger.”
ADHRB executive director Husain Abdulla urged the international community, especially allies of Bahrain such as France and the United Kingdom, to “to apply serious pressure on the Bahraini regime to unconditionally release Dr. Al-Singace.” He added that “being detained for over 10 years shows the depth of oppression in Bahrain.”
Five British MPs wrote to their government in July calling on it to intervene urgently.
Bahrain is ranked 169th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2021 World Press Freedom Index.