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News ID: 103922
Publish Date : 21 June 2022 - 21:21
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LONDON (Middle East Eye) – The UK government failed to raise the most pressing Bahraini human rights cases with the kingdom’s authorities during high-level meetings earlier this year despite implying it had done so, a freedom of information request has revealed.
Among the cases of imprisoned human rights defenders that Lord Ahmad, the minister responsible for human rights, neglected to press during a 13-14 February visit to Bahrain was that of Abduljalil Singace, an academic who is serving a life sentence over his participation in the 2011 uprising. An independent commission, established by the king of Bahrain, found that he has been tortured while imprisoned.
Singace, 60, has been on hunger strike for nearly a year to protest his treatment in prison, including the confiscation by authorities of a book about linguistics that he had been working on for four years and has no political content.
His family says that prison officials are withholding medications he has been prescribed and treatments he needs, and have also recently cut the milk and sugar in his tea, the only thing he has apart from water, salt and a multivitamin.
“For nearly one year, we have been forced to watch him suffer and deteriorate to this fragile condition. Authorities have ignored his demands and offered no resolution of his basic request to have his own intellectual property passed to us,” his family told Middle East Eye.
The UK government promoted Lord Ahmad’s Bahrain trip, which included meetings with King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Alzayani and heads of human rights oversight bodies, as “his first visit to the state as part of his human rights portfolio”.
In the three months prior, Singace’s situation was raised by MPs and peers at least 12 different times in parliament and in written questions. In response to almost every written question, ministers said that the UK government continued to monitor and discuss Singace’s case and others with the Bahraini government and oversight bodies, but did not offer specific dates when pressed.
With one exception: Minister for Asia and the Middle East Amanda Milling said in late February that UK officials “regularly discuss human rights issues and individual cases” with Bahraini officials and bodies - and that Lord Ahmad’s visit had been a “further opportunity to do so”.
But now a response to a freedom of information request shared with Middle East Eye has revealed that the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has no records that Lord Ahmad raised the case of Singace or that of any other person imprisoned in Bahrain.
The FCDO’s Information Rights Units also said in a 14 June response that it did not have any records that Lord Ahmad raised the specific cases of Hassan Mushaima, Sheikh Ali Salman, Mohammed Ramadhan, Husain Moosa, Naji Fateel, Ali al-Hajee, Duaa Alwadaei or six children who are currently being held in arbitrary detention.

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