Monday, February 09, 2009

20 Activists and policy makers from 19 countries call for relase of detainees of conscience in Bahrain

February 5, 2009

His Royal Highness

Sheikh Hamad bin Issa AL KHALIFA

King of Bahrain

Fax: +973 176 64 587

The Honorable Sheikh Khaled Bin Ahmad AL KHALIFA

Minister of Foreign Affairs

Fax : +973 172 12 6032

The Honorable Sheikh Khalid bin Ali AL KHALIFA

Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs

Fax: +973 175 31 284

Your Highness:

We are twenty-one activists, policy-makers, faculty members and journalists from nineteen countries around the world.

We are writing You today to express our deep concerns about the safety and wellbeing of our friend and colleague, Dr. Abdul-Jalil Al-Singace. We are extremely worried about the rising campaign of harassment, defamation of character, and intimidation that has been waged against Dr. Al-Singace and others who are working to defend human rights and bring about peaceful political change. Furthermore, we are very concerned that two of his colleagues, Mr Hasan Mushaima and Mr Mohamed Habib Al-Muqdad, are still being detained, and we are deeply troubled by the manner of their arrest and detention.

We all had the chance to personally meet and know Dr. Al-Singace in 2007, during a summer program offered by the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. We all came to have a high regard for his character and commitment to human rights and values.

That is why we respectfully request of your Royal Highness your most serious and urgent consideration of the following steps:

1. Secure the immediate and unconditional release from detention of Mr. Hassan Mushaima and Mr. Mohammed Habib Al-Muqdad.

2. Drop the charges against these two men, as well as against Dr. Al-Singace, and any reprisals related to their legitimate and peaceful activities seeking political reform and protection of human rights.

3. If there is serious evidence of any of these individuals being responsible for acts of violence or terrorism, charge them and try them according to international standards of due process, with international monitoring of the trial, while giving them the freedom to defend themselves.

4. Lift the travel ban against Dr. Abdul-Jalil Al-Singace.

5. Abolish the 2006 Counter Terrorism Law and amend the 1976 Penal Code to bring Bahrain into conformity with international human rights conventions, especially in relation to the practice of basic human rights and freedoms.

6. Cease the use of excessive force, arbitrary detention, and torture of detainees.

7. Cease targeting human rights defenders for harassment and defamation and instead ensure the protection of their own political and civil rights.

Please understand that our plea is apolitical. We are simply individuals concerned about human rights. Considering Bahrain’s commitment and adherence to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we trust Your personal attention to the matter.


David Abesadze Head, Policy Analysis, Min. of Foreign Affairs Georgia

Mohammad N Azizi Chairman, Center for Policy Priorities Afghanistan

Huda Ahmed Freelance journalist, UC Berkeley Iraq/ US

Donya Aziz Member of Pakistan's National Assembly Pakistan

Jay P. Chaudhary Independent Activists and Television Producer Nepal

Laura Cosovanu Counselor, Stanford Univ. Law School Romania/ US

Maina Kiai Former Chair, National Human Rights Commission Kenya

Kingsley Bangwell Team Leader, Youngstars Foundation Nigeria

Maria Eismont New Eurasia Foundation Russia

Rabih El Chaer Independent Activist Lebanon

Safinaz El Tarouty Assistant Lecturer, British Univ. Egypt

Giao N. Hoang Attorney, Center for Legal Research & Services Vietnam

Franck Kamunga ED, Droits Humains Sans Frontières DRC

Hasmik Minasyan Career Foundation Canada

Aasiya Riaz Joint Director, PILDAT Pakistan

Taras Shevchenko Director, Kyiv Media Law Institute Ukraine

Kathryn Stoner Weiss Associate Director, Center on US

Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law

Vera Tkachenko Legal Policy Research Centre Kazakhstan

Roya Toloui Kurdish human rights activist Iran

Aleksei Pak Legal Policy Research Centre Kazakhstan

Olga Miroshnichenko Penal Reform International Kazakhstan