Detained Since: March 17, 2011.
Charges: Plotting to topple the government.
Sentence: Life in prison.
Biography: Abduljalil Al-Singace is a Bahraini engineer, blogger, and human rights activist. On his blog, Al-Faseela, Al-Singace wrote critically about human rights violations, sectarian discrimination and repression of the political opposition in his native Bahrain. He also monitored the human rights situation for the Shia-dominated opposition Haq Movement for Civil Liberties and Democracy.
He was arrested in 2009 and 2010 for his human rights activities and released later. On March 17, 2011, one month after his release, 48 police officers entered Al-Singace’s home, beat him, and took him to the police station at gunpoint. This time, government officials arrested him for his involvement in a peaceful protest that occurred earlier in March. He was detained at Al Qurain military prison where he was subjected to verbal, physical, and sexual assault, prolonged solitary confinement, and forced standing despite his physical condition. On June 22, 2011, Al-Singace was charged with “plotting to topple” the government, and as a result, the National Safety Court sentenced him to life in prison. On January 7, 2013, Al-Singace appeal was brought to Court of Cassation, unfortunately the court upheld his prescribed sentence.
Despite his ill treatment, Al-Singace has remained defiant, having reportedly written a letter to the Bahraini authorities denouncing the practices he has witnessed and experienced while in prison. On October 13, 2012, Al-Singace underwent a hunger strike as a form of protest.
On July 9, 2021, Dr. Al-Singace began a hunger strike to protest his ill-treatment in Jau Prison and to demand the return of a book that was in his possession to his family. Prison authorities confiscated the book and refused to return it to Dr. Al-Singace’s family. On July 18, Dr. Al-Singace was transferred to Al Qalaa hospital after losing 15 lbs (7 kgs) and from low blood pressure. The Ombudsman for the Ministry of Interior published an investigation, clearing prison officials from any wrongdoing and accusing Dr. Al-Singace of “smuggling” his work out. The investigation was reportedly done without Dr. Al-Singace’s testimony. On July 30, Dr. Al-Singace was transferred from the Al Qalaa hospital to the Kanoo medical center. As of August 18, Dr. Al-Singace has lost over 39 lbs (18kg) since he started the hunger strike. Dr. Al-Singace is allegedly subject to harassment by the guards stationed in his room.
Advocacy Partner: Scholars At Risk
On January 28, 2016, Al-Singace ended a 313-day hunger strike he had undergone to protest the abuse practiced against the detainees in Jaw Central Prison following the unrest that erupted in March 2015 (January 29, 2016, Bahrain Mirror).
Abduljalil Al-Singace and other imprisoned human rights defenders have been informed that all subsequent family visits in Jaw Prison will be carried out behind a glass wall. Imposing the glass barrier on human rights defenders is a form of collective punishment that violates human rights law such as the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (Mandela Rules) (January 17, 2019, Gulf Center for Human Rights).
On the 8th anniversary of the Pearl Uprising, Rep. James P. McGovern inserted remarks into the Congressional Record calling on the government of Bahrain to release Abduljalil Al-Singace and other prisoners of conscience and reform policies that risk fostering extremism (February 14, 2019, Congressional Record).
Amnesty International condemned the Bahraini authorities’ denial of urgent medical treatment for seriously ill academic and opposition activist, Dr Abdel-Jalil al-Singace, as inhuman, a violation of his right to health and an act of intentional cruelty (September 11, 2019, Amnesty International).
Human Rights Watch and the Bahrain Institution for Rights and Democracy reported that Bahraini authorities are failing to provide adequate medical care to high-profile prisoners, including Abjuljalil Al-Singace (October 8, 2019, HRW).
19 human rights organizations wrote to Bahraini authorities to urge the release of human rights defenders, opposition activists, and all others imprisoned solely for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression, assembly, and association, including Abdel-Jalil al-Singace (April 6, 2020, HRW).
- The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders Mary Lawlor sent a communication to the government of Bahrain expressing concern for the allegations of torture, and other inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment faced by Mr. Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, Mr. Abduljalil Al-Singace, and Mr. Naji Ali Fateel (July 8, 2021, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders).
- January 2022 marked the sixth month of Dr. Al-Singace's hunger strike, along with his 60th birthday on January 14, 2022.
- May 3, 2022 marked the 300th day of Dr. Al-Singace's hunger strike which remains ongoing as of May 5, 2022, despite his reported declining health.