Activist Arrested; Fears of Ill-Treatment
International PEN is seriously concerned about the arrest of academic and human rights activist Dr. Abdul-Jalil Alsingace, who has been held incommunicado since August 13, 2010. He is believed to be facing charges under national security and counter-terrorism laws, although it is widely believed that the charges are politically motivated and that he is being targeted for his criticism of the Bahraini authorities. His arrest appears to be part of a crackdown on Shia activists in the run-up to the forthcoming parliamentary elections. PEN is alarmed at reports that he has been ill-treated and tortured in detention. Dr. Alsingace is partially paralyzed from polio and requires assistance to walk, and there are mounting concerns for his well-being in detention. PEN urges the Bahraini authorities to abide by their obligations under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Dr. Alsingace and all those currently detained in Bahrain for the peaceful expression of their opinions.
According to PEN’s information, Dr. Alsingace, head of the human rights office of the Haq Movement for Liberty and Democracy, was arrested at the Bahrain International Airport on August 13, 2010. He was returning from London, England where he had been attending a conference at the House of Lords, during which he had 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. According to a statement by a public prosecution official, Dr. Alsingace is among four leading Bahraini Shia activists facing 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." The four men are currently believed to be held on a 60-day detention order, and their whereabouts remain unknown.
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.
In the run-up to the forthcoming parliamentary elections in October, there has been a series of violent protests in Bahrain, led by the country's majority Shia community, who have long complained of discrimination by the Sunni ruling elite. This has led to an unprecedented wave of repression in the country during which many have been targeted for peacefully expressing their views, including political, religious, and human rights activists. Most have been released after a brief detention, but at least 23 have been charged and are currently still detained incommunicado.
Write A Letter
- Expressing serious concern about the incommunicado detention of Dr. Abdul-Jalil Alsingace, and seeking details of the charges against him;
- Expressing mounting concern for his welfare, and calling for a full investigation into reports that he has been tortured and ill-treated in detention;
- Urging the Bahraini authorities to abide by their obligations under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and to immediately and unconditionally release Dr. Alsingace and all others currently detained solely for the peaceful expression of 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 September 30, 2010: ftw [at] pen.org