Sentences Upheld Against Jailed Human Rights Defenders, Writers, and Bloggers
PEN International protests the continued detention of activists and bloggers including Abdulhadi al-Khawaja and Dr. Abduljalil al-Singace after the High Court of Appeal in Bahrain upheld their life sentences on September 4, 2012. PEN calls for their immediate and unconditional release, along with all those currently detained in Bahrain for the peaceful expression of their opinions, and urge a full and independent investigation into allegations that they were tortured in pre-trial detention. 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 signatory.
On September 4, 2012, the High Court of Appeal in Bahrain confirmed the convictions of 13 human rights defenders, bloggers, and activists serving time in prison and seven tried in absentia. Human rights defender Abdulhadi al-Khawaja and academic, blogger, and human rights activist Dr. Abduljalil al-Singace had been sentenced to life for their peaceful opposition activities by a special security court on June 22, 2011.
According to PEN’s information, leading lawyers who observed the appeal hearing pointed out several legal violations, such as the fact that not all of the defense witnesses were heard; the confessions that were extracted under torture were not dismissed; and the last few hearings were held in secrecy, with a gag order on the press.
On September 28, 2011, the military-run National Safety Court of Appeal had confirmed the convictions of 14 human rights activists and bloggers, including Dr. Abduljalil al-Singace and Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, and upheld their sentences of life imprisonment. The defendants are believed to be targeted for calling for political reform and for their reporting on human rights abuses in the country.
For more information, please see PEN's update on a trial observation mission for the case. For more on Bahrain and a joint action on the case signed by over 100 organizations, including PEN International, please click here.
Write A Letter
- Calling for the immediate release of Dr. Abduljalil al-Singace and Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, as well as all prisoners of conscience in Bahrain;
- Protesting the decision by the High Court of Appeal in Bahrain to uphold the harsh sentences against Dr. Abduljalil al-Singace, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, and other defendants solely for peacefully exercising their right to free expression;
- Demanding a full and independent investigation into allegations that both men have 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 calling for the immediate and unconditional release of all those currently detained in Bahrain solely for the peaceful expression of their opinions, including Dr. Al-Singace and Abdulhadi al-Khawaja.
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
Dr. Salah Ali Abdulrahman
Minister of Human Rights and Social Development
Ministry of Human Rights and Development
Kingdom of Bahrain
Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for Bahrain in your country if possible.
Please send appeals immediately. Contact PEN if sending appeals after October 31, 2012: ftw [at] pen.org