RAN 46/10: BAHRAIN

RAN 46/10

BAHRAIN: Activist Abdul-Jalil Alsingace Released

The Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of PEN International welcomes the release on 23 February 2011 of academic and human rights activist Dr. Abdul-Jalil Alsingace after nearly seven months in detention. It is not known whether Alsingace has been released on bail or general amnesty.

According to PEN’s information, Dr. Alsingace is among 23 activists to have been released in recent days by the order of the King of Bahrain after anti-government protests which have been taking place in Bahrain since mid-February. Protestors had called for the release of all political prisoners in Bahrain, as well as other political reforms. Before his release, Alsingace had been asked to sign a document promising not to criticise the government but he declined to do so. The legal status of Dr Alsingace is still unknown.

Protests led by Bahrain’s majority Shia community against the government’s polices have been underway since mid- February 2011. The Bahraini security forces have reportedly responded with excessive force, using tear gas and live bullets to disperse demonstrators. Six civilians have reportedly been killed and many more wounded. The Bahraini government is now said to be seeking dialogue with the opposition.

BACKGROUND

Dr. Alsingace, head of the human rights office of the Haq Movement for Liberty and Democracy, was arrested at Bahrain International Airport on his return from London on 13 August 2010, where he had been attending a conference at the House of Lords during which he had criticised Bahrain’s human rights practices. He was initially accused of ‘inciting violence and terrorist acts’, before being formally charged under national security and counter-terrorism legislation. Dr Alsingace is among four leading Bahraini Shia activists to have been facing charges including ‘the planning and instigation of violence, conducting a wide-ranging propaganda campaign against the Kingdom and seeking to overthrow the regime by force’.

Dr Alsingace teaches engineering at the University of Bahrain and authors his own blog (http://alsingace.blogspot.com/). He was previously detained in 2009 and held for several months on charges of plotting to overthrow the government before being given a royal pardon.

READ MORE:

http://www.ifex.org/bahrain/2011/02/25/freed_political_prisoners/
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-11190726
http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2010/09/07/bahrain-halt-threats-against-right...
http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2010/09/01/bahrain-pursue-torture-allegations

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