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Back Activities Alerts Alert Update: Bahrain – Haq Movement representative Dr Abdul Jalil Al-Singace and others face trial on 23 February 2009

Alert Update: Bahrain – Haq Movement representative Dr Abdul Jalil Al-Singace and others face trial on 23 February 2009

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After his arrest and release, Dr Abdul Jalil Al-Singace, is banned now from travel, implicated in a 'terrorism plot', and faces trial on 23 February 2009.

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Islamic Human Rights Commission
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13 February 2009

Alert Update: Bahrain – Haq Movement representative Dr Abdul Jalil Al-Singace and others face trial on 23 February 2009

Contents
1. Summary
2. Background
3. Action required
4. Sample letters


1. Summary

On 26 January 2009, Dr Abdul Jalil Al-Singace, spokesperson for Haq (Haq movement of Civil Liberties and Democracy), and two other prominent opposition activists were arrested and later charged with terrorism-related offences. Mr Al-Singace was subsequently released on 27 January 2009, but has had a travel ban imposed upon him since then. He and several other Bahrainis, implicated in a 'terrorism plot', are to face trial on 23 February 2009.

IHRC has close links with Dr Al-Singace and Haq movement and is involved in their campaigns tackling injustice in Bahrain. IHRC urges campaigners to write to the authorities mentioned in this alert and appeal for the release of Haq representatives.


2. Background

Mr Abduljalil Al-Singace, spokesperson for Haq (Haq movement of Civil Liberties and Democracy), who was arrested on 26 January 2009 with two other prominent activists on terrorism-related charges was released on 27 January 2009 on bail. Mr Hassan Mushaima, aged 61 and Secretary General of Haq, and Sheikh Mohammad Habib Al-Muqdad, a prominent religious figure closely allied to the organisation, continue to be detained in solitary confinement.

They were charged under Bahraini anti-terrorism law with “taking part in establishing an illegal association which opposes Bahrain's constitution and which uses terrorism as a means to achieve its goals", states Amnesty International's (AI) report (AI Index: MDE 11/001/2009). If found guilty, the detainees could face up to life imprisonment. The AI report further states that the detainees were also charged under the Penal Code with "calling and propagating for the overthrow of the regime and the political system by force" and "propagating for hatred of the regime”, which carry a punishment of five and three years respectively.

Mr Al-Singace is restricted from travelling and is still being hindered from expressing his views freely, as recently his website (http://alsingace.katib.org), where he posts news, articles etc. was blocked by the Bahrain Ministry of Culture and Information due to 'publication of prohibited content'. Regarding the charges against him, he stated, “…bogus allegations of being involved in "terror" acts…being member of HAQ…considering my articles to be provocative and inciting hatred against the regime…”

Al-Singace, Mushaima and Al-Muqdad are due to face trial on 23 February 2009 with 32 other Bahrainis implicated in a 'terrorism plot'. Reports state that on 15 December 2008, the Bahraini authorities carried out a series of arrests of several youth, claiming to have foiled a 'terror plot.' The youth were reportedly detained incommunicado and were allegedly tortured. On 28 December 2008, recordings of the supposed 'confessions' of these young people were aired on national television in Bahrain. They allegedly admitted to their involvement in a 'terror plot' and were said to be planning to carry out terrorist attacks in Bahrain. Mushaima, Al-Singace and Al-Muqdad were alleged to be the 'instigators of the plot'.

These three detained activists have categorically denied any links to terrorism. Further, the supposed confessions of the youth are believed to have been extracted under force.

In view of the ever-increasing reports about Bahraini authorities torturing political detainees, IHRC fears that Mushaima, Al-Muqdad and others will face physical abuse at the hands of the police as well.

These serious developments in Bahrain have plunged the country further into political turmoil, as widespread clashes are reported between supporters and police forces following the arrests. Over the past few years public discontentment with the regime has rapidly increased as Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, ruler of Bahrain since 1971, continues to insist on his autocratic policies in the country.

IHRC has close links with Dr Al-Singace and the Haq movement and is actively working with them to tackle human rights violations in Bahrain. IHRC urges all campaigners to write to the following authorities and appeal for the immediate release of these political detainees in Bahrain.


3. Action required

a) Write to the minister of foreign affairs in your country, urging him/her to raise this issue with his/her Bahraini counterpart.

UK campaigners can write to:

Rt. Hon. David Miliband MP
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
London
SW1A 2AH

Email: private.office@fco.gov.uk

b) Write to the Bahraini ambassador in your country.

UK campaigners can write to:

HE Shaikh Khalifa bin Ali Al Khalifa
30 Belgrave Square
London
SW1X 8QB

Fax: +44 020 7201 9183
Email: information@bahrainembassy.co.uk


4. Sample letters
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Sample letters are given below for your convenience. Please note that model letters can be sent directly or adjusted as necessary to include further details. If you receive a reply to the letter you send, we request you to send a copy of the letter you sent and the reply you received to IHRC. This is extremely important as it helps IHRC to monitor the situation with regards to our campaigns and to improve upon the current model letters.

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Sample letter to minister of foreign affairs in your country (UK campaigners can use the address supplied)

[Your name]
[Your address]


[Date]

Rt. Hon. David Miliband MP
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
London
SW1A 2AH

Dear Mr. Miliband,

Re: Bahrain – Concerns over arrest of opposition leaders and allegations of torture of political activists

I am deeply concerned about the detention of two prominent opposition leaders, namely, Mr Hassna Mushaima, Secretary General of Haq (Haq movement of Civil Liberties and Democracy) and Sheikh Mohammad Habib Al Muqdad, a prominent religious figure closely allied to Haq.

Dr Abdul Jalil Al-Singace, spokesperson for Haq, who was also arrested with the above-mentioned leaders, was released on bail on 27 January 2009, but is currently restricted from travelling. He has also had his website shut down by the authorities for publishing 'prohibited content.'

On 27 January 2009, Bahraini authorities charged these political activists under counter-terrorism laws, alleging that they were 'instigators of a terrorist plot' against the country of Bahrain. Several youth who were arrested under similar allegations in December 2008 have been allegedly tortured by the authorities and their supposed confessions, which were aired on national television, have been alleged to be extracted under duress.

The leaders of Haq have categorically denied any involvement in terrorism. In fact they are well-known as respected, law-abiding citizens of Bahrain, diligently promoting human rights in their country and working with international human rights organisations to battle injustice in Bahrain. I believe that they have been targeted because of their non-violent political activities and open criticism of Bahraini regime

I am very concerned about the welfare of these opposition leaders and youth, who are due to appear in court on 23 February 2009.

I urge you to pressurise the Bahraini authorities to immediately release the opposition leaders, grant all political detainees fair trials and ensure they are treated humanely while in detention. Please urge Bahrain to allow citizens their right to freedom of expression and association in the country.

I look forward to your response on this urgent matter.

Yours sincerely,


[Your signature]
[Your name]

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Sample letter to Bahraini ambassador in your country (UK campaigners can use the address supplied)


[Your name]
[Your address]


[Date]

HE Shaikh Khalifa bin Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Khalifa
30 Belgrave Square
London
SW1X 8QB

Your Excellency,

Re: Bahrain – Concerns over arrest of opposition leaders and allegations of torture of political activists

I am deeply concerned about the detention of two prominent opposition leaders, namely, Mr Hassan Mushaima, Secretary General of Haq (Haq movement of Civil Liberties and Democracy) and Sheikh Mohammad Habib Al Muqdad, a prominent religious figure closely allied to Haq. Dr Abdul Jalil Al-Singace, spokesperson for Haq, who was also arrested with the above-mentioned leaders and was released on bail, is currently restricted from travelling. He has also had his website shut down by the authorities for publishing 'prohibited content.'

Bahraini authorities charged these political activists under counter-terrorism laws, alleging that they were 'instigators of a terrorist plot' against the country of Bahrain. Several youth who were arrested under similar allegations in December 2008 have been allegedly tortured by the authorities and their supposed confessions which were aired on national television were allegedly extracted under duress.

The leaders of Haq have categorically denied any involvement in terrorism. In fact they are well-known as respected, law-abiding citizens of Bahrain, diligently promoting human rights in Bahrain.

I am very concerned about the welfare of these opposition leaders and youth.

I urge you to immediately release the opposition leaders, grant all political detainees fair trials and ensure they are treated humanely while in detention. Please allow Bahraini citizens their right to freedom of expression and association.

I look forward to your response on this urgent matter.

Yours sincerely,


[Your signature]
[Your name]


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