Updated: Mar 13, 2022
(updated April 5, 2021)
Abdul Jalil Al-Singace, a prominent human rights activist in Bahrain, was first arrested on March 17, 2011 during the Arab Spring revolution, and charged with plotting to "topple the government.” He was sentenced to life in Jau Prison on June 22, 2011.
Since 2011, Al-Singace has been in Jau Prison—Bahrain’s largest prison, where the lack of adequate sanitation led to a scabies outbreak in December 2011—on a life sentence for allegedly “plotting to overthrow the government” during the Arab Spring protests. He has been subjected to torture and various other forms of mistreatment. Bahraini officials have consistently ignored Al-Singace’s requests for medical attention despite his long-term poliomyelitis, which has left him paralyzed since childhood. He suffers from polio, and his deteriorating medical condition in prison—from ill-treatment, torture, and his own hunger strike—has raised alarm among his supporters. On March 12, 2017, prison authorities reportedly denied him permission to attend a medical appointment because he refused to wear his uniform and handcuffs to the appointment. Soon after this, he suffered severe dehydration and was rushed to a military hospital.
Al-Singace, head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Bahrain, was arrested while demonstrating peacefully during the Arab Spring revolution in 2011. He was sentenced to life in Jau Prison by the military National Safety Court for allegedly plotting to “topple the government” by “training and financing a terrorist organization.”
Al-Singace, who suffers from polio, has been repeatedly subject to torture and beating in prison. To protest his mistreatment and that of others, Al-Singace began hunger strikes from March 21, 2015, following a riot in the prison. According to his family, he has been denied proper medical attention since that time.
Al-Singace is a prominent human rights activist and was the spokesperson and director of the Human Rights Bureau of the Haq Movement for Civil Liberties and Democracy, an opposition political group in Bahrain. On August 13, 2010, Al-Singace was detained by Bahraini authorities as he returned from a trip to the United Kingdom, where he criticized the human rights situation in his country. His detention included a 15-day period in an undisclosed location without access to legal counsel or family.
By order of the King of Bahrain, Al-Singace was briefly released on February 23, 2011 until he was imprisoned again, without charge, on March 17, 2011. On June 22, 2011, he was sentenced to life in jail.
Al-Singace was a 2007 Draper Hills Fellow at Stanford University's Center on Democracy in Development and the Rule of Law. He has long campaigned for political reform and an end to torture, writing on these and other subjects on his blog, Al-Faseela (The Date Sapling).