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An open letter to the British Foreign Secretary to rescue a Bahraini prisoner of conscience

The Association of British Universities and Colleges has sent an open letter to her country’s foreign minister, asking him to intervene urgently to release a prominent prisoner of conscience in Bahrain.

In its letter to Minister Dominic Raab, the union stressed the need to intervene to immediately release Dr Abdul-Jalil Al-Singace, after he entered a 44-day hunger strike in Bahrain’s prisons.

He cautioned that Al-Singace was imprisoned in 2011 by what the union described as an “authoritarian regime” in Bahrain for defending democracy.

Recently, international parliamentarians and activists unanimously agreed that the UK contributes to the continuation of torture and the terrible spread of tyranny in Bahrain as long as it does not stop funding the Manama regime.

This came during an online symposium organized by the European Center for Democracy and Human Rights on the occasion of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, which falls on June 26 of each year.

Lords member Paul Scriven lamented that the UK had put its economic and strategic interests and arms deals before human rights.

He indicated that since 2016, $20 million had been spent in the Gulf Strategic Fund to improve the human rights situation in the Gulf.

Earlier on Monday, the Geneva Journalists’ Support Committee (JSC) called on the authorities of the Bahraini regime to stop suppressing freedom of opinion and expression in the kingdom.

The Committee expressed its full solidarity with the human rights defender, Dr Al-Singace, who continues his hunger strike in the regime’s prisons for the sixth consecutive week.

In a press release, followed by Bahrain Leaks, the Committee denounced the harassment and ill-treatment of the prisoner Al-Singace in Jaw Prison and confiscating his book on Bahraini dialects and culture.

The Committee expressed its deep concern for Al-Singace’s safety. It held the relevant authorities responsible for any deterioration in his physical or psychological health, with the constant harassment that deprived him of sleep.

It demanded his immediate release and the dropping of all legal prosecutions against him, in addition to following up on his health condition and giving it adequate care.

Especially with reports that he lost more than 18 kilograms of weight and the pain he suffers from, and caused the removal of the intravenous drip to secure the necessary food for him since August 18-August 2021.

It also appealed to the concerned authorities to secure his right to communicate with his family members at the same pace as his colleagues (Al-Singace’s family is allowed once every two weeks, while visits to the relatives of other prisoners are allowed four times in the same period), in addition to cutting off his phone contacts with his family continuously.

The Committee said that it refuses to arrest any human rights activist against the background of any publication of him or any material he presented to public opinion through platforms or communication sites.

It stressed the need for the Bahraini authorities to stop such measures and respect the freedom of opinion and expression enshrined in international conventions and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

It also stressed the importance of the concerned bodies securing means of protection for all human rights activists.

The Committee appealed to the relevant international organizations to play the role entrusted to them to ensure the safety of all prisoners.

The Committee specifically singled out prisoners of conscience in Jaw Central Prison, which suffers from severe overcrowding despite the risks of the Corona epidemic.

It relied on the testimonies of detainees and their families about torture, ill-treatment and medical neglect, which recently claimed the lives of some prisoners.

It also urged allowing the visit of the UN envoy and the special rapporteur on torture and prisons, which the United Nations delegated to Bahraini jails.

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