Al-Khawaja wins retrial

An appeals court in Bahrain has ruled that jailed opposition activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja will have a retrial

Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, the Danish-Bahraini human rights activist who has been on a hunger strike since February, was sentenced to life in prison last June by a military court for plotting against the Bahraini state. An appeals court today has ruled that he will be retried in civil court.

Over the weekend, al-Khawaja’s wife, Khadija al-Mousawi, accused the authorities of force-feeding and using other life-saving measures on her husband against his will.

Al-Khawaja was moved from prison to a military hospital for treatment three weeks ago. His wife saw him for the first time in two weeks on Sunday. She told Reuters that he had been drugged and force-fed.

“I went to see my husband today and he told me that he was drugged last Monday,” she said. “After he woke up he found two IV [intravenous] injections in his arms and a feeding-tube down his nose. It was done against his will.”

A spokesperson for the Bahrain Defence Forces Hospital denied the claims

“Al-Khawaja has been taking limited nutrition supplements voluntarily,” said a spokesperson. "When his blood sugar dropped significantly [Sunday], his doctors asked for and received his consent to insert a naso-gastric tube for nutrition. At no time was he drugged or restrained.”

Earlier this month, the Bahraini authorities rejected a request by Denmark to take custody of al-Khawaja. Politiken newspaper reported today that it has been seven days since Danish authorities have been granted access to see al-Khawaja. Ole Engberg Mikkelsen, a Foreign Ministry official, told Politiken that Denmark is continuing to pressure the Bahraini authorities into granting access to visit al-Khawaja.

One of al-Khawaja's daughters, Zainab al-Khawaja, is also currently jailed in Bahrain. She reported to her family that she had been physically abused by the Bahraini authorities while in custody.





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