Jailed Bahrain hunger-striker feared dead: Lawyer
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Last Updated: Monday, April 09, 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.


First Published: Monday, April 09, 2012, 23:51

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