For more than 10 years now, Bahraini human rights advocate Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja has been in jail for his role in the pro-democracy protests that spread across the country following the Arab Spring revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia.
Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja who has reported being tortured throughout his imprisonment has received life sentences in jail along with other Bahraini activists who supported protests.
Following his arrest in April 2011, Al-Khawaja was charged with "propaganda to overthrow or change the political system by force', 'publicly instigating hatred and disrespect against the ruling regime', and 'willfully broadcasting false and malicious news, statements or rumours and spread provocative propaganda related to the internal affairs of the country that could disturb public security and cause damage to the public interest".
Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja was one of the leaders of Bahrain’s 2011 pro-democracy protests, standing on the stage at Pearl Square he called for a democratic country without impunity or corruption, where people have equal rights and fundamental freedoms pic.twitter.com/X8ea8O5lOg— Zaynab Al-Khawaja (@angryarabiya) November 16, 2021
This week, Al-Khawaja's family reported that he has started a new hunger strike to protest being banned from receiving phone calls and visits from his family for the second consecutive year. Zaynab Al-Khawaja, Abdulhadi's daughter, has also warned that his father's health is deteriorating as a result of his hunger strike, hoping that authorities respond to his demands and save his life.
My father Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, has started a hungerstrike today. The prison administration informed him that he is not allowed to make any calls. Having had no visitation rights for the past 2 years, these calls were his only communication with us #Bahrain #FreeBahrainiPrisoners pic.twitter.com/JZF7cBqM27— Zaynab Al-Khawaja (@angryarabiya) November 16, 2021
Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja was the president and the co-founder of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights which was established in 2002. He was arrested by authorities on several occasions prior to 2011 but was often released later.
UPDATE: My fathers sugar level has already dropped to 3.4. They tried to put him on IV, but he has refused. My father is strong, but we are worried about his health. We demand that Bahrain’s regime address this matter immediately. Please retweet— Zaynab Al-Khawaja (@angryarabiya) November 17, 2021
Ever since his arrest in 2011, international organizations have urged Bahraini authorities to release him and to stop persecuting individuals who called for democracy and political freedom in the Gulf kingdom.
Moreover, the Danish government has been facing mounting pressure as it has been demanded to work harder to release Al-Khawaja who holds the country's citizenship.
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