Abduljalil (AJ) Al-Singace has been detained as a political prisoner in Bahrain for more than four years now. His health in detention is now gravely deteriorating. We are hoping this appeal for his release will capture the attention of authorities in the U.S. and in Bahrain, and that it will result in his release at least on humanitarian grounds. We have gathered a number of signatures from CDDRL faculty and Draper Hills Summer Fellowship Program fellows and alumni. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would be willing to add your name to the letter, and if so what affiliation and/or title (if any) you would like us to use to identify you.
We, the undersigned faculty and 2015 fellows of the Draper Hills Summer Fellows Program at Stanford University, write to express our profound concern over the continued imprisonment and detention condition of Dr. Abduljalil Al-Singace, a prominent Bahraini academic and blogger, and urge you to do all in your power to ensure his speedy release and access to the highest standard of care that he requires. Dr. Al-Singace is a 2007 Draper Hills Fellow at Stanford University’s Center on Democracy Development, and the Rule of Law; and an outspoken advocate of democracy, development and rule of law in Bahrain for the past 15 years. Amnesty International and the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention have made appeals for his release.
The police in Bahrain arrested Al-Singace for his participation in peaceful protests in 2011. During his initial detention, security officials subjected Al-Singace to torture and ill-treatment, including forced standing, verbal and sexual assault, beatings, and prolonged solitary confinement. He was tried by a military court in June 2011 and sentenced to life in prison for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government with no due process. The undersigned CDDRL faculty who regularly engaged Al-Singace for three weeks in 2007 do not find these allegations in the least consistent with the character of the man we came to know and greatly respect during his fellowship here.
Al-Singace’s health has rapidly deteriorated since he was imprisoned, and he is kept from receiving crucial medical supplies. He suffers from post-polio syndrome, heart, eye, and sinus problems, and requires urgent nasal and ear surgery. Prison authorities have denied Al-Singace the specialist medical treatment that he urgently needs. He is currently being detained at the Al-Qalaa Hospital and is not permitted to go outdoors. He is also being denied access to books, television, radio, and pen and paper for writing.
On 21 March 2015, Al-Singace began a hunger strike in protest of the ill treatment of inmates and the poor, unsanitary conditions at Jau Prison. He has now completed 132 days of hunger strike. His situation is extremely urgent.
We call for the immediate and unconditional release of Dr. Abduljalil Al-Singace in addition to all human rights defenders and activists in Bahrain who are detained in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Bahrain is a state party. We urge that Dr. Al-Singace receive full and immediate access to specialized medical attention as a matter of urgency. We remind Bahrain of its obligations to comply with the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.
In May 2015, a group of 44 members of congress sent a letter to President Obama calling for Al-Singace’s release along with 12 other political prisoners.
Al-Singace is only one of many who have been jailed for expressing their beliefs. His continued strength and activism remains an inspiration to those still fighting within Bahrain and around the world for freedom and democracy.
2015 Draper Hills Summer Fellows:
May Al-Taher, Policy Researcher, Jordan
Oludutun Babayemi, Connected Development, Nigeria
Terith Chy, Human Rights Defender, Cambodia
Thinley Choden, Social Entrepreneur, Thinphu, Bhutan
Bruno Defelippe, Social Entrepreneur, Paraguay
Laura Gil, Political Advisor and Columnist, Columbia
Giorgi Gogia, Human Rights Defender, Georgia
Sergei Golubok, Lawyer, Island Law Offices, Russia
Roukaya Kasenally, Democracy Scholar, Mauritious
Myat Ko, Yangon School of Political Science, Burma Aim
Kornchanok Raksaseri, Journalist, Thailand
Aleś Łahviniec, Vice-Chair, The Movement for Freedom, Belarus
Heba Morayef, Human Rights Defender, Egypt
Okechukwu Nwanguma, National Coordinator, Network on Police Reform in Nigeria
Irene Ovonji-Odida, Lawyer and Human Rights Defender, Uganda
Karina Sarmiento, Regional Director, Asylum Access, Equador
Maksym Savanevsky, pro-democracy activist, UCMC
Ala'a Shehabi, Co-founder, Bahrain Watch, Bahrain
Sumeja Tulic, Human Rights Defender, Bosnia
Teddy Warria, Social entrepreneur, Africa 2.0, Kenya
CDDRL Scholars and Staff:
Wellington Shih, Visiting Scholar at Stanford University, Taiwan
Vincent Maphai, Academic, Stanford University, South Africa
Sarina Beges, Associate Director, CDDRL
Draper Hills Summer Fellows Alumni:
Kingsley Bangwell (Nigeria '07), Team Leader, Youngstars Foundation
Givi Chanukvadze (Georgia '11), Economic Policy Research Center
Rabih El Chaer (Lebanon '07), President, Sakker El Dekkene
Maina Kiai (Kenya '07), Co-Director, InformAction Kenya; UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association
Jay Nishaant (Nepal '07), Executive President, Nepal Democracy Foundation (NDF)
Mohammed Nosseir (Egypt '08), Egyptian Liberal Politian and Writer
Aasiya Riaz (Pakistan '07), Joint Director, PILDAT
Zvisinei Sandi (Zimbabwe '07), PhD Student, George Washington University
AJ's Wikipedia page:
AJ's article in the New York Times in 2009
Drapers Hill 2007 fellows cohort with AJ's profile:
Larry Diamond's piece in the Atlantic about AJ and Bahrain