News in English

DAY 56: Danger of coma for al-Khawaja

After 56 days on hunger strike, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja’s condition is deemed serious.

News in English

Things are not looking good for Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, the Danish-Bahraini human rights activist who is on the 56th day of a hunger strike in a Bahraini prison, with doctors fearing he may slip into a coma.

As his condition worsens, Denmark’s foreign Minister Villy Søvndal is continuing his efforts to have dual nationality al-Khawaja released and brought to Denmark.

“I have met a lot of goodwill and we are looking at an international diplomatic effort of a calibre that has not previously been seen in a Danish consular case,” Søvndal tells Ritzau.

“Because of the nature and stage of the case I cannot say who is supporting us in the case, but they are actors who speak with some weight in the region,” he adds.

Søvndal has repeatedly been in contact with Bahrain’s foreign minister, most recently in connection with the meeting of the Friends of Syria in Istanbul last weekend. Several NGOs, including Amnesty International and Front Line Defenders have taken up al-Khawaja’s cause.

A representative of Front Line Defenders visited Bahrain from April 1-3 to see al-Khawaja, but was not allowed to do so.

“I was able to speak briefly with him on the phone and ask him to take some food,” said Executive Director of Front Line Defenders Mary Lawlor, “but he insisted that he would continue with his hunger strike until freedom or death. Unfortunately, I know just how determined he is.”

Lawlor says that al-Khawaja has lost some 25 per cent of his bodyweight and has been moved to the Ministry of the Interior clinic for monitoring due to the deterioration of his condition.

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Edited by Julian Isherwood



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