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Bahrain Activist Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja Ends Hunger Strike;
Bahrain Coordinating Committee Calls for Release
[Washington, DC] May 28, 2012 — The DC-based Bahrain Coordinating Committee applauds the sustained courage of Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, the imprisoned human rights activist on trial for leading protests in Bahrain, who ended his 110-day hunger strike today, and calls for his unconditional release and the dismissal of all charges.
In a letter to his family, the activist stated the hunger strike served one of its purposes: to shed light on the ongoing human rights violations in Bahrain. Although he did not attain his freedom, the second objective of his hunger strike, he felt prison officials had made it clear to him that they would force feed him again if his health deteriorated.
Khawaja commenced his hunger strike on February 8, 2012 to protest conditions of his detention, including abuse and torture while in custody. The activist was force-fed on with a naso-enteric tube in late April. The World Medical Association states that force-feeding is a form of inhumane and degrading treatment.
Khawaja, the co-founder of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, has been imprisoned for more than a year. He was arrested in April 2011 and sentenced to life in prison by the National Security Court in a martial law proceeding. The sentence was condemned by international human rights groups and several nations, and is being re-tried in the civil courts, along with the cases of twenty-one other activists.
About the Bahrain Coordinating Committee
The Bahrain Coordinating Committee is a Washington, DC-based grassroots movement that works to obtain U.S. support for democracy and human rights reforms in Bahrain. For more information, please visit http://www.BahrainCoordinatingCommittee.org
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The United States continues to be deeply concerned about the situation in Bahrain, and we urge all parties to reject violence in all its forms. We condemn the violence directed against police and government institutions, including recent incidents that have resulted in serious injuries to police officers. We also call on the police to exercise maximum restraint, and condemn the use of excessive force and indiscriminate use of tear gas against protestors, which has resulted in civilian casualties.
We continue to underscore, both to the government and citizens of Bahrain, the importance of working together to address the underlying causes of mistrust and to promote reconciliation. In this respect, we note our continued concern for the well-being of jailed activist Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja and call on the Government of Bahrain to consider urgently all available options to resolve his case. More broadly, we urge the government to redouble its ongoing efforts to implement the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, and renew our call for the government, opposition parties, and all segments of Bahraini society to engage in a genuine dialogue leading to meaningful reforms that address the legitimate aspirations of all Bahrainis.