International NGOs call on Manama to free jailed activist
Several international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have called on the Bahraini regime to immediately release human rights activist, Abduljalil al-Singace, who has been on hunger strike for the past 160 days.
On Thursday, a total of 41 NGOs called on the international community, the United States and the European Union in particular, to press the Al Khalifa regime for Singace’s freedom.
The appeal for the release of the 53-year-old Bahraini activist comes as some other rights organizations, among them the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) and Index on Censorship, have called for actions to be taken regarding Singace’s case and an end to human rights abuses in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom.
“The United Kingdom should use its leverage with Bahrain to secure Abduljalil’s release and hold their ally accountable. He is a blogger, a journalist, a thinker and categorically should not be in prison,” said Director of Advocacy at BIRD Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei.
Jodie Ginsberg, the chief executive officer at the Index on Censorship, said, “Dr. Singace has been on hunger strike for more than five months and the UK has yet to call for his release. His arrest, sentencing and treatment in jail have received international condemnation and we call on Britain to join global counterparts in calling for Dr. Singace’s release and ensuring he receives appropriate medical assistance.”
Singace went on hunger strike on March 21 in protest against the collective punishment and torture of inmates at Bahrain’s notorious Jaw Prison following a riot there earlier that month. He was arrested, tortured and later sentenced to life imprisonment for organizing pro-democracy demonstrations back in 2011.
Human Rights Watch has denounced the Bahraini regime over the conditions at Jaw Prison, calling on authorities to allow prisoners to contact their families.
Jaw Prison, Bahrain’s central detention facility, is where hundreds of people are incarcerated only for participation in peaceful anti-regime protests.
Since mid-February 2011, thousands of people have held numerous demonstrations on the streets of Bahrain, calling for the Al Khalifa royal family to relinquish power. Many people have been killed and hundreds of others injured and arrested in the crackdown on demonstrations.