September 22, 2020
King Shaikh Hamad bin ‘Issa Al Khalifa
Office of His Majesty the King
P.O. Box 555
Rifa’a Palace, al-Manama, Bahrain
Fax: +973 1766 4587
The Committee of Concerned Scientists is an independent organization of scientists, physicians, engineers and scholars devoted to the protection and advancement of human rights and scientific freedom for colleagues all over the world.
We write out of concern for Khalil al-Halwachi, a Bahraini electrical engineer and academic instructor who has been in the custody of your government since his arrest in early September 2014. Professor Al-Halwachi studied engineering in the 1970s in London at the Imperial College, and lived in Sweden for 14 years until his return to Bahrain in 2001.
We wrote to you most recently about Khalil al-Halwachi on March 17, 2017, at which time his case had finally been heard after more than twenty postponements. On March 23, 2017, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for “possession of a weapon”. The evidence for this charge is extremely unclear, and it appears that Professor Al-Halwachi has been convicted primarily because of his peaceful activism. He has been held in Jau Prison since the March 2017 verdict, and on May 6, 2019, his conviction and sentence were upheld.
We are deeply concerned not only about this unjust imprisonment, but about Khalil al-Halwachi’s deteriorating health. He was allegedly tortured during his interrogation following his 2014 arrest. In September 2016 he suffered a stroke, which has resulted in numerous blood clots, and in Jau Prison he has reportedly been subjected to unsanitary, crowded conditions, as well as solitary confinement.
It appears to us that Professor Al-Halwachi has been sentenced to prison, and is now enduring ongoing ill-treatment there, simply for exercising his rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association. These are fundamental human rights that your government, which ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in 2006, is obligated to uphold.
We write to urge you to see to it that Khalil al-Halwachi is released immediately and unconditionally, that he receives all the medical attention that he needs, and that he be protected from further violations of his rights.
We appreciate your immediate attention to this important matter and look forward to your reply.
Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich, Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists
General Shaikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa
Ministry of Interior
P.O. Box 13, al-Manama, Bahrain
Fax: +973 1723 2661
Shaikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa
Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs
P. O. Box 450, al-Manama, Bahrain
Fax: +973 1753 1284
Senior Advisor to the President
Of the United States
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
H.E. Ambassador Shaikh Abdullah bin Rashid Al Khalifa
Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain
3502 International Drive, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Fax: 1 202 362 2192