An appeals court in Bahrain decided that the cases against the Danish-Bahraini activist Abdulhadi a-Khawaja and 20 other activists are to be retried, al-Khawaja’s lawyer has confirmed.
Al-Khawaja, who has been on hunger strike for well over two months, was sentenced to life in prison by a military court last year on charges of plotting against the state.
“The Appeals Court has accepted that the case should be retried because al-Khawaja did not get a fair trial,” says Faten Haddad of the lawyer Mohamed al-Jishi’s office.
“The only proof the prosecution had against him was the admission he provided during torture,” she says.
It is not clear when the new case will be heard. Under Bahraini law, the court must provide a date for the hearing within two weeks.
"The court is ordering that the trial take place again and that testimony from prosecution and defence witnesses be heard once more as if it is a new trial," the Bahraini News Agency BNA writes.
Haddad says it is not clear whether the news of a new trial will cause al-Khawaja to stop his hunger strike or whether al-Khawaja and the other activists will be released pending the new trial.
According to the BBC, the new trial will take place in a civil court, rather than a military one.
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