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A message to dozens of academics exposing human rights violations in Bahrain

A letter signed by dozens of academics exposed human rights violations in Bahrain, including the harassment and mistreatment of academic prisoners of conscience Abdul Jalil Al-Singace.

In a letter they sent to the ruler of Bahrain, Hamad bin Salman Al Khalifa, and his Crown Prince, his son Salman, 101 international academics demanded an end to the inhuman and degrading treatment that academic Al-Singace is subjected to.

They also demanded the return of a book written by Al-Singace in the notorious Jaw prison. He devoted four years of research and was recently confiscated by the prison authorities.

The academics’ message considered that the confiscation of Al-Singace’s research was a “cruel and unfair punishment,” noting that “a prisoner of conscience should not put his life on the line to secure his basic rights and the return of his intellectual property, about his hunger strike several weeks ago.”

They emphasized that Al-Singace’s book is a study of Bahraini dialects devoid of political content, but “it was not returned despite repeated promises by the Bahraini prison authorities.”

Al-Singace, a 59-year-old academic and blogger, is currently imprisoned in the Bahraini regime’s Jau prison after a military court sentenced him to life imprisonment for his leading role in Bahrain’s 2011 pro-democracy uprising during the Arab Spring.

In addition to being a prominent opposition figure, he is a former lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Bahrain and holds a PhD in impact mechanics from the University of Manchester.

Nearly 60 University of Manchester employees have signed the letter in solidarity with Al-Singace.

Who is Abdul Jalil Al-Singace?

Al-Singace suffers from several chronic illnesses, including post-polio syndrome and a musculoskeletal condition that requires the use of crutches or a wheelchair, making his hunger strike particularly harmful to his health.

Since he started refusing food, Al-Singace has reportedly lost at least 10 kilograms and been taken to an outside hospital for observation.

During his time in prison, he repeatedly complained of medical negligence by the prison authorities, a common punishment for political prisoners in Bahrain.

Al-Singace has been on a hunger strike since the eighth of last month to protest his ill-treatment in prison.

Visiting scholar Dr Brian Dooley at Britain’s UCL University said: “There is no excuse for this reprisal to deprive Al-Singace of appropriate medical care, or to withdraw his academic research in an attempt to humiliate him.”

Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, director of the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, commented, “This outpouring of solidarity is a testament to the respect Dr Al-Singace enjoys in the academic community.”

He added, “Bahrain must end this persecution, return Dr Al-Singace’s research, and order his immediate and unconditional release.”

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