PRESS RELEASE: Bahrain – Haq representative Dr Abdul Jalil Al-Singace on hunger strike with others in protest of arrest of political activists


Islamic Human Rights Commission

20 February 2009

PRESS RELEASE: Bahrain – Haq representative Dr Abdul Jalil Al-Singace on hunger strike with others in protest of arrest of political activists

IHRC is deeply concerned about the welfare of Dr Abdul Jalil Al-Singace and several other activists who began a hunger strike on 13 February 2009 in protest of the detention of two prominent opposition leaders and several youth in Bahrain.

Dr Al-Singace is the spokesperson for opposition movement Haq (Haq movement of Civil Liberties and Democracy). He was arrested on 26 January 2009 with two other leading figures, Mr Hassna Mushaima, the Secretary General of Haq Movement, Sheikh Mohammad Habib Al-Muqdad, a prominent religious figure closely allied to the movement. They were charged under terrorism related offences for ‘instigating’ a ‘terrorist attack’ on Bahrain. Several youth, who were also captured and detained in December 2008 in relation to these allegations, have been allegedly tortured in detention. 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. All detained activists are due to be tried in court on 23 February 2009.

Dr Al-Singace, who was released on bail on 27 January 2009, is currently under a travel ban and has had his website shut down by the Bahrain Ministry of Culture and Information due to ‘publication of prohibited content’. Dr Al-Singace and other Haq members are very vocal in their criticism of the autocratic policies of the Bahraini regime, which IHRC believes is the reason for the current crackdown of Haq members.

Other activists participating in the hunger strike are Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja (human rights activists and former president of Bahrain Centre for Human Rights), Abdulwahab Husain (dissident and former political prisoner) and some religious scholars namely Abduljalil Al-Muqdad, Saeed Al-Noori, Abdulhadi Al-Mukhouder and Fadel Al-Sitri.

The strikers demand the release of all detainees, including Mushaima and Al-Muqdad, dropping of all alleged charges and opening of a dialogue to explore solutions for all pending issues of concerns.

IHRC calls on the Bahraini government to immediately release the representatives of Haq and to ensure fait trials for the detained youth. If they are found not guilty, they should be immediately released. Further, IHRC calls for the investigation of allegations of torture of the detained youth and urges the authorities to treat the detainees humanely and meet the valid demands of those on hunger strike.

With regards to the hunger strike and arrest of political activists in Bahrain, IHRC Chair Massoud Shadjareh stated,

“This recent continuation of oppression of civil societies and NGOs, involved in legitimate dissent in Bahrain, is of extreme concern to us. In the recent UPR session in the UN, Bahrain committed to review government policies and call upon the government to deal with the political situation in the country in the best interest of the Bahrainis. We call upon the Bahraini government and the king to fulfil their responsibilities and commitments and to uphold human rights values in Bahrain.”

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The Islamic Human Rights Commission is an NGO in special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

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