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UK MPs Call on their Gov't to Push Bahrain to Release Al-Singace

2021-10-05 - 5:30 am

Bahrain Mirror: British lawmakers, trade unions, NGOs, academics, and lawyers called on the government to push Bahrain to release a key opposition figure who has been on hunger strike for months over his "ill-treatment" in prison.

In a joint letter addressed to Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, they accused the UK of turning a blind eye to the case of Abduljalil Al-Singace.

"16 rights groups, 101 global academics, and numerous British parliamentarians have called on Bahrain, a close UK ally, to meet Al-Singace's demands and order his release.

"Yet despite calling for the release of prominent human rights defenders imprisoned by hostile states, the UK government has made no substantive statement, instead repeating false assurances from Bahrain about his case," said the statement, which has 77 signatures and was released by the office of Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael.

"This silence risks emboldening Bahrain in their criminalization of peaceful dissent and torture of dissidents. The UK government must condemn Bahrain's persecution of Al-Singace, call for the return of his intellectual property, and immediate and unconditional release. This miscarriage of justice must end," the letter read.

Al-Singace launched his hunger strike on 8 July "in response to degrading treatment he was subjected to by a prison officer, to protest the restriction of being permitted to call only five numbers during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic", rights groups said in a statement at the time.

The 59-year-old is also demanding a book he has been working on for at least four years be returned to him after it was confiscated by prison guards on 9 April.

Rights groups reported that Singace was suffering from chronic illnesses and facing "sustained medical negligence". A Bahraini government spokesperson denied accusations of ill-treatment, saying AlSingace was receiving proper medical care and was "fully conscious".

The kingdom rejects allegations of human rights violations and denies discriminating against its Shia citizens, but earlier this year, the UN high commissioner for human rights accused Bahrain of being in "violation of international law" over its treatment of prisoners, some of whom are documented to be as young as 13-years-old. 

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