Foreign Minister Villy Søvndal says he is disappointed at today’s decision by
Bahrain’s Court of Cassation to uphold a life sentence meted out to the
Danish-Bahraini activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, but says the battle to win
his release will continue.
Al-Khawaja was one of 12 activists sentenced by the Bahraini military court in
2011. His life sentence was subsequently confirmed by a civilian court of
appeal last September. Monday’s ruling from the Court of Cassation, which is
the highest appellate court, is the final appeal. Al-Khawaja’s sentence can
only now be overturned by royal pardon.
“The sentences in Bahrain, including for the Danish citizen Abdulhadi
al-Khawaja, are very disappointing. It concerns a Danish citizen who has
been sentenced for speaking out as part of his struggle for human rights and
who has been a victim of torture.,” Foreign Minister Søvndal says.
“I am disappointed, but our efforts will continue,” he adds, saying that the
European Union and United Nations will be discussing “what further
possibilities there are that can lead to the release of al-Khawaja and the
other human rights and democracy fighters in Bahrain. In this context we
will maintain that Bahrain must respect fundamental human rights, including
the freedom of speech and assembly,” Søvndal says.
Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who has dual Danish-Bahraini nationality, is a member of
the Shia Muslim majority in Bahrain and has criticised the country’s regime
under King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah.
FACEBOOK – Follow
Politiken’s News in English