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Amnesty slams Bahrain's 'cruel' treatment of jailed opposition activist

Bahrain has jailed hundreds of opposition activists. [Getty]

Date of publication: 11 September, 2019

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Bahraini authorities have refused to provide medical treatment to a severely ill jailed opposition activist.

Human rights group Amnesty International has denounced Bahrain for its refusal to provide medical treatment in prison to a severely ill opposition activist.

Abdel-Jalil al-Singace was among 13 opposition activists detained in 2011 on unfounded charges of setting up "terror groups" to topple the royal regime.

The academic was an active member of the Al-Haq movement, an unauthorised Shia political group, and had been sentenced to life imprisonment.

Al-Singace suffers from post-polio syndrome, sickle cell disease and a musculoskeletal condition, and was diagnosed last month with serious heart problems.

Bahraini authorities had initially arranged for him to see a heart specialist but "changed their mind" after he refused to wear a prison uniform or put on shackles.

"The denial of medical treatment to a seriously ill prisoner is shockingly cruel and puts his life in danger. It can also violate the prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment," said Heba Morayef, Amnesty International's Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

"The authorities must immediately grant Abdel-Jalil al-Singace access to the medical care he so desperately needs and ensure that the necessary medication is available to him."

Amnesty International describes al-Singace as a "prisoner of conscience" convicted solely for "peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly" and have called for his immediate release.

Bahrain, a key US ally, has been gripped by bouts of unrest since 2011, when authorities cracked down on Shia-led protests demanding political reform.

Since then, hundreds of protesters have been jailed, with Bahrain claiming Iran trained and backed demonstrators in order to topple the Manama government - an accusation Tehran denies.

All opposition groups have been banned and disbanded.

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