Maltreatment of political prisoner Abduljalil Al-Singace

Shaikh Hamad bin ‘Issa Al Khalifa
Office of His Majesty the King
P.O. Box 555
Rifa’a Palace, al-Manama, Bahrain
Fax: +973 1766 4587

Your Majesty,

We write to you on behalf of the Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA) regarding the continued and serious maltreatment of Dr. Abduljalil Al-Singace, a Bahraini citizen and political prisoner serving a life sentence in your country. Our Committee previously wrote to you about Dr. Al-Singace’s case in 2013, 2014 and 2015, emphasizing our profound concerns regarding the conditions of his imprisonment and his deteriorating health.  

MESA was founded in 1966 to promote scholarship and teaching on the Middle East and North Africa. The preeminent organization in the field, the Association publishes the International Journal of Middle East Studies and has nearly 3,000 members worldwide. MESA is committed to ensuring academic freedom and freedom of expression, both within the region and in connection with the study of the region in North America and elsewhere.

Dr. Al-Singace was a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Bahrain from 1995 until his incarceration for his part in the 2011 protests for greater democracy and respect for civil rights in your country.   He suffers from numerous health problems, including musculoskeletal issues and sickle cell disease, as well as two ruptured ear drums, reportedly the result of beatings and torture to which he has been subjected while in prison.  In addition, we understand that his requests to see medical specialists have been denied and that his family members have been banned from visiting him at Jaw Prison.  His 313-day hunger strike in protest of the conditions of his incarceration is itself a clear indictment of the unjust nature of this imprisonment.

Indeed, we share the long-standing assessment of Amnesty International, Scholars at Risk and other prominent organizations that Dr. Al-Singace is a political prisoner. His life sentence has no basis in law, but is instead intended to punish and intimidate political dissenters in Bahrain.

We therefore call upon you to ensure that Dr. Singace receives the medical attention and treatment indicated by his ailments, and to overturn the current ban on family visits.  We also urge you to intervene to have the charges or convictions against Dr. Al-Singace, who has simply exercised what should be protected human rights of peaceful dissent, dismissed.  In the interim, we ask that you ensure that his case is addressed in a manner consistent with internationally recognized standards of due process, fair trial and detention, in accordance with Bahrain’s obligations under international law.

We look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Beth Baron                                                                                 
MESA President                                                                         
Professor, City University of New York                                 

Amy W. Newhall
MESA Executive Director
Associate Professor, University of Arizona

cc: 

His Excellency Shaikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa 
Minister of Justice, Islamic Affairs, and Awqāf 
Fax +973 1753 6343

His Excellency Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa
Minister of Interior
Fax +973 1757 2222

His Excellency Shaikh Khaled Bin Ahmed bin Mohamed Al Khalifa
Minister of Foreign Affairs
contactus@mofa.gov.bh

His Excellency Shaikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Khalifa
Ambassador of Bahrain to the United States
Fax 202 362 2192 
ambsecretary@bahrainembassy.org

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