Jailed Bahrain hunger-striker feared dead: Lawyer

Last Updated: Monday, April 9, 2012 - 23:51

Dubai: Jailed activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja
was feared to have died, his lawyer said on Monday, after Bahraini
authorities turned down repeated requests to contact him.

"Authorities have been refusing since yesterday all
requests, made by myself and by his family, to visit or
contact al-Khawaja," Mohammed al-Jeshi said.

"We fear that he might have passed away as there is no
excuse for them to prevent us from visiting or contacting
him," he said, adding that no information was available on
Khawaja`s health.

Jeshi said the last time he contacted Khawaja was on
Saturday, a day after he was moved from the interior ministry
hospital into a military hospital in Manama.

Khawaja, a Shiite who was condemned with other opposition
activists to life in jail over an alleged plot to topple the
Sunni monarchy during a month-long protest a year ago, began a
hunger strike on the night of February 8-9.

Bahrain`s largest opposition formation Al-Wefaq
reiterated its calls for his release today in a statement
accusing authorities of "completely ignoring his deteriorating
health which has reached a dangerous stage."

Demonstrations in solidarity with Khawaja have multiplied
across the tiny kingdom where youth groups organise almost
daily evening protests in Shiite villages.

Bahrain`s national airline Gulf Air, said its page on a
social network website was hacked early today. The page was
back a few hours later.

Denmark has asked Bahrain to send Khawaja, who is also a
Danish citizen, to the Scandinavian country. Bahrain`s
official news agency BNA reported yesterday that Manama had
turned down the request.

But Danish papers quoted the head of the foreign
ministry`s consular service, Ole Engberg Mikkelsen, as saying
that "a (formal) reply will come through diplomatic channels
and not via a news agency or Twitter."

Mikkelsen said he did not know when Manama would send its
official reply.

PTI



First Published: Monday, April 9, 2012 - 23:51

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