Friday, March 30, 2012

Bahrain: Release leading rights activist at risk of death from hungerstrike

29 March 2012

"A leading Bahraini human rights defender serving a life sentence for his role in anti-government protests last year must be released immediately, Amnesty International said, amid fears the activist is at risk of death after 50 days on hunger strike.

Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, 52, is a former protection co-ordinator with Frontline, an NGO which supports human rights defenders. He was arrested in April last year for being one of the leaders of anti-government protests. He was tortured in custody and sentenced to life imprisonment in a grossly unfair trial by a military court last June.

Bahrain must ensure that Al-Khawaja is released immediately and unconditionally,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Director.

“The Bahraini authorities have made pledges that they would release people who were imprisoned for exercising their right to freedom of expression, but the continued imprisonment of Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja demonstrates that they are not serious about fulfilling such promises.”

Amnesty International considers Al-Khawaja to be a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression.

He has not used or advocated violence in his participation in the anti-government protests, and no such evidence was shown by the authorities during the trial......"

No comments: