Dr. ‘Abdul-Jalil Al-Singace
On June 22, 2011, Dr. Abdul-Jalil al-Singace, professor of engineering at the University of Bahrain, was sentenced to life imprisonment by a military court on charges of training and financing a terrorist organization. Al-Singace was sentenced along with 13 other defendants, all of whom were given only restricted access to legal counsel and whose lawyers were not allowed to be present during the prosecution’s questioning of the defendants. Al-Singace is the spokesman and director of the Human Rights Bureau of the Haq Movement for Civil Liberties and Democracy, an opposition political organization with support from the Shiite community in Bahrain. Al-Singace was arrested on August 13, 2010, on his way back to Bahrain from the United Kingdom, where he had given a speech about the human rights situation in his country. He was subsequently held incommunicado for two weeks, during which time, he claims, he and other detainees were severely tortured. He was released from prison on February 23, 2011, by order of the king of Bahrain and remained free for less than a month before being re-imprisoned on March 17, 2011. According to Human Rights Watch, several other members of the Haq Movement were arrested shortly after al-Singace, and when finally given access to their lawyers on August 27 and 28, all reported being tortured. The torture, which the lawyers claimed was visible on their bodies, included severe beatings, being forced to stand for long periods, being suspended by their hands, application of electric shocks, and deprivation of food, water, and sleep. The Bahrain Center for Human Rights reports that the government has issued a ban on publication about the cases of al-Singace and the other detainees.
In fall 2012, al-Singace was part of a group of prisoners who engaged in a hunger strike to protest several violations and restrictions placed on prisoners, including restrictions on calls to family and lawyers, access to newspapers, and access to exercise in fresh air.
Please send appeals to:
Shaikh Khaled bin Ali al-Khalifa
Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs
P.O. Box 450
Fax: +973 1753 6343
Salutation: Your Excellency
His Majesty Shaikh Hamad bin Issa Al Khalifa
King of Bahrain
Office of His Majesty the King
P.O. Box 555
Kingdom of Bahrain
Fax:+ 973 1766 8884
Salutation: Your Majesty
His Excellency Dr. Majid bin Ali Al-Naimi
Minister of Education
Ministry of Education Building
Al Istiklal Street
P.O. Box 43
Isa Town Central, Kingdom of Bahrain
Fax: +973 1768 7866
I am extremely concerned about the sentence of life imprisonment given to Dr. Abdul-Jalil al-Singace, the chairman of the Human Rights Committee of the Haq Movement, who had previously been arrested at Manama Airport on the morning of 13 August when returning to Bahrain after a visit to London. He was given only limited access to legal counsel, and his lawyer was not allowed to be present during the questioning of the prosecution.
Dr. al-Singace has described to his lawyer the brutal torture he endured at the hands of the Bahraini authorities: He was held in solitary confinement for a fortnight; his crutches and wheelchair were taken away from him, forcing him to stand for hours on one leg because of the paralysis in his other leg; he was stripped naked and beaten repeatedly; electric shock devices were attached to his ears and nipples; he was repeatedly slapped across the face and ears, causing him to partially lose his hearing; he was forced to listen to the screaming of other prisoners being tortured; and he was forced to sign statements written by the authorities.
Such brutal measures clearly violate numerous articles of the International Covenant on Civil and Political (ICCPR). The use of violent measures to suppress human rights defenders is counterproductive and leads to increased violence and unrest. Until the key issues of civil and economic inequalities experienced by the Shia majority are addressed, no progress will be made toward creating a harmonious society.
Bahraini authorities have a responsibility to investigate the accusations of torture and prosecute the parties responsible for the authorization and act of torturing. Please take this up with your Bahraini counterpart as an urgent matter.
I look forward to your response on this pressing matter.