Bahrain: Release human rights defender Dr Abduljalil Al-Singace

Bahrain: Release human rights defender Dr Abduljalil Al-Singace - Protection

Photo: Mohamed CJ/ Wikimedia Commons

Twenty-eight freedom of expression and human rights organisations, including ARTICLE 19, have called on the King and Crown Prince of Bahrain to release human rights defender Dr Abduljalil Al-Singace, who has been unlawfully detained since 2011, and who marked 1,000 days on a liquids-only hunger strike on 3 April, 2024.

There have been credible reports that Al-Singace has been subjected to torture while incarcerated. 


The letter follows. 


Read the letter in PDF


King of Bahrain, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa
Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa,

Your Majesties,

We, the undersigned, call your immediate attention to the deteriorating health of award-winning academic, blogger, and human rights defender Dr Abduljalil Al-Singace, who marks 1,000 days on a liquids-only hunger strike on 3 April, 2024. We urge you to take action to immediately release Al-Singace, who is wrongfully detained, and ensure that he receives the healthcare he urgently needs. 

Al-Singace began his hunger strike on 8 July, 2021 in response to prison authorities’ confiscation of his manuscript on Bahraini dialects of Arabic that he spent four years researching and writing. During his hunger strike, he has been sustaining himself only on multivitamin liquid supplements, tea with milk and sugar, water, and salts.

Al-Singace, who has a disability, has been wrongfully detained since his arrest in 2011 solely for exercising his human rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. He has reportedly been subject to torture during his time in detention. 

Since July 2021, according to UN experts, ‘Mr Al-Singace has been held in a state of isolation likely amounting to solitary confinement’ in his room at Kanoo Medical Centre, where he has said that he has been prohibited from going outside, having exposure to direct sunlight, and receiving the adequate physiotherapy required for his disability. According to his family, he has also been deprived of necessary examinations and medical information, including results from MRI scans of his shoulder and head from October 2021. He has been denied treatment for several medical issues, including inflamed joints, impaired vision, enlarged prostate, and tremors.

Authorities continue to deny him items that doctors have requested, including footwear to prevent slipping in the bathroom and a hot water bottle to relieve pain in his joints. Authorities have also limited his access to information by banning English and Arabic newspapers and restricting accessible TV channels. On 21 January, 2024, Al-Singace’s family told the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy that they were subjected to harsh measures during visitations, which Al-Singace believes constituted a deliberate attempt to pressure him into declining visits altogether. 

On 17 April, 2023, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Gerard Quinn, said: ’As a human rights defender with a disability in detention, Al-Singace faces additional risks. He should be given frequent medical check-ups, afforded reasonable accommodation for his disability, with assistive technologies and other specialised care and considerations. But the Bahraini authorities have not always allowed him this.’ 

We echo the ‘concern at the continuation of the violations perpetrated against Al-Singace’ raised by a group of three UN special rapporteurs in September 2023, who also noted their previous communications regarding Al-Singace’s case, sent on 30 December, 2021 and 15 November, 2021. 

We follow up on our 11 July, 2023 call for your intervention and urge you to release Al-Singace immediately and unconditionally. In the meantime, we urge you to ensure that he is held in conditions that meet international standards, receives his medication without delay, has access to adequate healthcare in compliance with medical ethics, and that his arbitrarily confiscated research is immediately transferred to his family members. 


  1. Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD)
  2. ALQST for Human Rights
  3. Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHBR)
  4. ARTICLE 19
  5. Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR)
  6. BRISMES (British Society Middle East Studies) Campaigns
  7. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
  8. Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)
  9. Democracy for Arab World Now (DAWN)
  10. English PEN
  11. Fair Square
  12. Femena
  13. FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights), within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders
  14. Freedom House
  15. Front Line Defenders
  16. Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR)
  17. Human Rights First
  18. Human Rights Watch (HRW)
  19. Index on Censorship
  20. International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
  21. MENA Rights Group
  22. Middle East Democracy Center (MEDC)
  23. PEN America
  24. PEN International
  25. Rafto Foundation for Human Rights
  26. Redress
  27. Scholars at Risk
  28. World organisation against torture (OMCT), within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders