[The following press release was issued by Front Line Defenders on Thursday, 26 April 2012, as Abdulhadi al-Khawaja’s status and whereabouts remain unverified. Today marks the 79th day of his hunger strike.]
PRESS RELEASE—for immediate release
On the 78th Day of Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja’s hunger strike in Bahrain, Front Line Defenders calls upon the Bahraini Minister of Interior, Lieutenant-General Sheikh Rashid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, to provide a ‘proof of life’ to confirm that Abdulhadi is still alive.
Furthermore Front Line Defenders calls on the Minister to allow family visits, restore daily phone calls and update his family on his medical condition.
Since 1pm Monday no verification of his status has been possible. Abdulhadi’s wife has not received her normal daily phone call. Abdulhadi`s lawyer has been denied access or any information on his whereabouts.
Mary Lawlor, Executive Director of Front Line Defenders noted, “In response to expressed concerns about his status, the only response from the Bahraini Ministry of Interior was a tweet saying he was in good health. After 78 days on hunger strike that is a remarkable statement considering conflicting evidence about his condition to date. The denial of information to Abdulhadi`s family and lawyer is cruel and unjustifiable”.
Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja announced that he was refusing water or IV fluids on 21 April prompting grave fears that his medical situation would rapidly deteriorate. Front Line Defenders holds Lieutenant-General Sheikh Rashid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa personally responsible for the treatment of Abdulhadi in detention.
Front Line Defenders reiterates its call to the Bahraini government to release Abdulhadi to Denmark, on humanitarian grounds to receive medical treatment.
Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja was Protection Coordinator for the Middle East with Front Line Defenders for three years until February 2011 when he resigned to focus on the human rights situation in Bahrain.
The organization has repeatedly expressed its concern at the repeated failure of the Bahrain courts to make a ruling on whether he will be granted the right to a re-hearing. See previous statement by Front Line Defenders on this issue.
For further information please contact: Jim Loughran - Head of Media Front Line Defenders Tel + 353 1 212 37 50 Mobile +353 (0)87 9377586