The health of Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, one of the 14 imprisoned activists in Bahrain, has deteriorated as he passes his 64th day on hunger strike. The authorities refused to release him and the other 13 opposition activists waiting for a hearing before the Court of Cassation on 23 April. Amnesty International and other human rights activists are concerned that Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja might die in detention.
The Court of Cassation was scheduled to review the verdict and sentences imposed last year by a military court on 14 opposition activists on 2 April. However on that day the court decided to postpone the hearing until 23 April and rejected the request from their lawyers to release the 14 on bail. They are all prisoners of conscience held for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and association: they were sentenced in June 2011 after an unfair trial by a military court to up to life in prison.
One of them, Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, a dual Bahraini-Danish national, is continuing the hunger strike he started on 8 February 2012. His health has deteriorated dramatically since he decided on around 29 March to start reducing the doses of glucose and minerals he was taking until he was drinking water only. During the last week he was first transferred to the Ministry of Interior Hospital and then to the Military Hospital, where he remains. The authorities have not allowed visits from his family or lawyers since 5 April, although he was allowed to speak briefly to his wife on the phone on 10 April and a group of medical experts mandated by the authorities visited him some days ago.
The Danish ambassador also announced he visited him on 10 April for 20 minutes and that he was very weak but conscious, he also added his condition was critical. Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja‘s lawyer asked to visit him on several occasions, most recently on 10 April, but has received no answer. Because any decision to release him might have to wait until his next hearing before the Court of Cassation on 23 April, and because he intends to pursue his hunger strike until he is released, Amnesty International fears that he might be at risk of death.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Please write immediately in English or Arabic:
Urge the Bahraini authorities to grant Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja immediate access to his family and lawyer;
Urge them to release all 14 opposition activists immediately and unconditionally, since they are prisoners of conscience, held solely for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly;
Urge them to order an immediate independent investigation into the 14’s allegations of torture, publish the results and bring those responsible to justice.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 11 MAY 2012 TO:
Shaikh Hamad bin ‘Issa Al Khalifa
Office of His Majesty the King
P.O. Box 555
Rifa’a Palace, al-Manama
Fax: 011 973 176 64 587/ 011 973 17664587
Salutation: Your Majesty
Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa
Office of the Prime Minister
P.O. Box 1000, al-Manama
Fax: 011 973 175 33 033
Salutation: Your Highness
Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs
Sheikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khlaifa
Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs,
Shaikh Khalid bin Ali bin Abdullah Al Khalifa
P.O. Box 450, al-Manama
Fax: 011 973 175 36 343
Salutation: Your Excellency
** Please note that faxes are most usually available in the morning (GMT+3) **
Also send copies to: Ambassador Houda Ezra Ebrahim Nonoo, Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain ǀ 3502 International Drive. NW, Washington DC 20008
Tel: 1 202 342 11111 202 342 1111ǀ Fax: 1 202 362 2192 ǀ Email: email@example.com -OR- firstname.lastname@example.org
Please check with AIUSA Urgent Action Office if sending appeals after the above date.
Source: Amnesty International