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UN Rapporteur Expresses Grave Concern over Deteriorating Health, Continued Detention of Al-Singace, Al-Khawaja and Fateel

2023-11-29 - 8:57 p

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders Mary Lawlor said in a tweet on the "X" platform that "she wrote to the government of Bahrain about the deteriorating health condition and ill-treatment of human rights defenders Abduljalil Al-Singace, Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja and Naji Fateel."

Lawlor expressed, in her communication, her concern at the deteriorating health condition of Bahraini activist Abduljalil Al-Singace, resulting from the deprivation of treatment and medical negligence to which he has been subject.

"This appears to constitute part of a broader pattern; wherein human rights defenders are subjected to detention on account of their work in defence of human rights," she stated.

Lawlor also expressed alarm at the rapidly deteriorating health of Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja as well as his ill treatment while in prison.

She acknowledged that the motivation for his detention is rooted in his work in defence of human rights, namely the exercise of his rights to freedom of opinion and expression, to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, and to take part in the conduct of public affairs.

Furthermore, Lawlor expressed concerns that in addition to his deteriorating health, Al-Khawaja's wellbeing is being negatively impacted by routine psychological pressure applied by the prison authorities. She noted that Al-Khawaja is being further targeted in this way in order to push him towards a breaking point.

The rapporteur said that she is alarmed at the ill treatment that Naji Fateel has allegedly suffered. These prison conditions undoubtedly contravene the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules).

"Of particular relevance here are Rule 36 which stipulates that discipline and order shall be maintained with no more restriction than is necessary to ensure safe custody and Rule 37, which states that any form of involuntary separation from the general prison population, such as solitary confinement, isolation, segregation, special care units or restricted housing, whether as a disciplinary sanction or for the maintenance of order and security, including promulgating policies and procedures governing the use and review of, admission to and release from any form of involuntary separation, must always be subject to authorisation by law. The latter would mean the most recent alleged separation of Mr. Fateel from other prisoners, is in disregard of international law," she noted.

The Special Rapporteur explained that she received a response from the Bahraini authorities, but remain seriously concerned by their continuing detention. However, she was disappointed by the Government's efforts to refute the well-researched and serious concerns presented in the communication.

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