Thursday, March 15, 2012

Bahrain hunger striker weak after 36 days

Abdulhadi al-Khawaja is on the fifth week of a hunger strike to protest ongoing detentions in Bahrain.

Gregg Carlstrom

"Five weeks into his hunger strike, family members say Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, one of the best-known human rights activists in Bahrain, is now so weak that he can barely stand.
He started the hunger strike on February 8 to protest his own detention and that of several other activists arrested last April. Al-Khawaja and six others were given life sentences by a military court in what Bahraini and international human rights groups have called an unfair trial.

Al-Khawaja, who suffers from diabetes, has lost more than 14kg since he began his fast. He has started to refuse medical examinations - his last one was almost a week ago - and is now threatening to refuse water as well....

But the Bahraini government so far has shown little interest in revisiting al-Khawaja's case. His lawyer filed an appeal with the Court of Cassation, Bahrain's highest court, but judges have yet to even set a trial date.

The BICI recommended that a civilian court review all of the convictions handed down after unfair military trials. But most are being reviewed by a committee appointed by the Supreme Judicial Council, a body chaired by the king.

"Abdulhadi thinks there is no legal reason to keep him in jail," al-Jishi said. "He won't stop until they release him, or he will die inside.""

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