Activist Abdul-Jalil Alsingace Re-Arrested; Fears for Safety
PEN International is deeply concerned about the reported re-arrest of academic and human rights activist Dr. Abdul-Jalil Alsingace on March 16, 2011, after a violent crackdown on peaceful opposition protestors in the capital, Manama. Dr. Alsingace recently spent nearly seven months in detention for his peaceful opposition activities, during which time he was reportedly ill-treated. There are serious concerns for his safety. PEN calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all those currently detained in Bahrain for the peaceful exercise of their opinions, including Dr. Alsingace, and seeks urgent guarantees of their safety. It reminds the Bahraini authorities of their obligations to protect the right to freedom of expression as guaranteed by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Bahrain is a state party, and is alarmed at the apparent use of excessive force to suppress peaceful dissent.
According to PEN’s information, Dr. Alsingace, head of the human rights office of the Haq Movement for Liberty and Democracy, was re-arrested on March 16, 2011, after publicizing the deteriorating human rights situation in the country. He had recently been on trial under national security and counter-terrorism legislation for his peaceful opposition activities.
Dr. Alsingace was previously arrested on August 13, 2010, at Bahrain International Airport on his return from London where he had been attending a conference at the House of Lords and during which he criticized Bahrain’s human rights practices. He was initially accused of "inciting violence and terrorist acts" before being formally charged under national security and counter-terrorism legislation.
Dr. Alsingace was among 23 leading Bahraini Shia activists to face charges including "the planning and instigation of violence," "conducting a wide-ranging propaganda campaign against the Kingdom," and "seeking to overthrow the regime by force." All were freed in February 2011 following widespread calls by anti-government protestors for political reform and the release of political prisoners, but five leading Shia activists, including Dr. Alsingace, have reportedly been re-arrested since the crackdown on March 15, 2011. Nothing is known of their whereabouts or well-being in detention.
Protests led by Bahrain’s majority Shia community against the government’s polices have been underway since mid-February 2011. The Bahraini security forces have reportedly responded with excessive force, using tear gas and live bullets to disperse demonstrators. At least nine civilians have reportedly been killed and many more wounded. The Bahraini government declared a State of Emergency on March 15, 2011, and brought in troops from neighboring Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, to help suppress dissent.
Dr. Alsingace teaches engineering at the University of Bahrain and authors his own blog. He was previously detained in 2009 and held for several months on charges of plotting to overthrow the government before being given a royal pardon.
- PEN Press Release: https://pen.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/5748/prmID/174
Write A Letter
- Expressing serious concern about the re-arrest of Dr Abdul-Jalil Alsingace;
- Urging the Bahraini government to drop any remaining charges that may infringe on his right to freedom of expression;
- Seeking immediate guarantees that he is not tortured or ill-treated while detained;
- Urging the Bahraini authorities to abide by their obligations under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and to stop harassing those who are peacefully expressing their opinions.
Send Your Letter To
His Majesty Sheikh Hamad bin Issa Al-Khalifa
King of Bahrain
Office of His Majesty the King
Kingdom of Bahrain
Fax: +973 176 64 587
Sheikh Khalid bin Ali Al-Khalifa
Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs
Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs
Fax: +973 175 31 284
Please also send appeals to diplomatic representatives of Bahrain in your country if possible.
Please contact PEN if sending appeals after March 31, 2011: ftw [at] pen.org