Bahrain activist Khawaja to end 110-day hunger strike

Opposition activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, facing a life sentence on charges of seeking to overthrow Bahrain's Sunni rulers, announced Monday ending a 110-day hunger strike, as another rights campaigner is released on bail.

Shiite Khawaja "will end his hunger strike this (Monday) evening," his lawyer Mohammed al-Jishi said.

Earlier Jishi announced that prominent activist Nabeel Rajab was granted bail although he continues to face three separate trials on charges including writing tweets deemed insulting to the Bahraini government.

In a statement posted by the lawyer on his Twitter page, Khawaja told his family he was ending his strike on Monday evening "despite failure to achieve the direct demand which is to be set free."

But he would stop his fast "following the success of his supporters... in shedding light on the issue of detainees in Bahrain prisons... and taking in consideration the forced feeding imposed on him by authorities since April 23."

Khawaja said he has "agreed to undergo a medical programme to return to a normal diet."

Khawaja, who was arrested in April last year following a government crackdown on Shiite-dominated protests, began his hunger strike on February 8.

The former head of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), who has dual Bahraini and Danish nationalities, was convicted last June by a military tribunal, along with 20 other activists, of plotting to overthrow the government.

Khawaja was among seven activists jailed for life, while 14 others were sentenced to between two and 15 years in prison.

He is being retried in a civil court along with 12 others. A new hearing is slated for Tuesday.

Last week he made his first court appearance since he began his hunger strike, arriving in a wheelchair, and announced that he was force-fed in prison.

Rajab, also a Shiite and the current head of BCHR, was released on a bail of 300 dinars ($796) although he continues to face a travel ban, his lawyer said.

Rajab was granted bail in the trial of posting tweets deemed insulting to security forces, over which he was arrested on May 5 upon arrival from a trip abroad.

But the prosecutor ordered him to stay behind bars for questioning in the case of taking part in a rally and calling for illegal demonstrations.

On Monday, the defence asked the court to "combine the three cases together in one trial," Jishi said.

Rajab flashed the V for victory sign as he emerged from a police station in Manama, where relatives and supporters had gathered to celebrate his release.

"I was arrested because of my rights activities," he said, vowing to continue to "defend the oppressed."

Rajab had been leading anti-government protests following a brutal crackdown on Shiite-led demonstrations against the Sunni Al-Khalifa dynasty in March 2011.

The avid tweeter is accused of insulting the security forces in tweets that he admitted came from his account on the microblogging website.

On May 16, Rajab told the court the charge against him was "vindictive" as more than 50 lawyers turned up to defend him.

Human Rights Watch earlier this month urged Bahraini authorities to drop charges against Rajab, saying they were an attempt to "silence one of the Bahraini government's most prominent critics."

Bahrain came under strong criticism from international rights organisations over last year's mid-March crackdown on demonstrations that were inspired by the Arab Spring uprisings.

An international panel commissioned by King Hamad to probe the government's clampdown found out that excessive force and torture were used against protesters and detainees.

King Hamad promised reforms, including throughout the government's security bodies, while a number of policemen have been put on trial over torture.

Amnesty International estimates that 60 people have been killed since protests broke out on February 14 last year.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Philippines to fly over disputed South China Sea: Aquino
    Philippines to fly over disputed South China Sea: Aquino

    Philippine military and commercial aircraft will keep flying over disputed areas in the South China Sea despite Chinese warnings over the airspace, President Benigno Aquino said on Monday. "We will still fly the routes that we fly based on the international law from the various conventions we entered into," Aquino told reporters when asked whether the Philippines accepted China's position. The Chinese military last week ordered a US Navy P-8 Poseidon surveillance plane away from airspace …

  • ‘Kentex owners still in Phl’
    ‘Kentex owners still in Phl’

    The daughter of one of the Kentex Manufacturing Corp. owners has assured the government that the businessmen are still in the Philippines, contrary to some reports that they have fled the country. Barbara Ang, daughter of Kentex shareholder Veato Ang, said her father and his business partners have no plans of leaving the country despite the razing of the Valenzuela slipper factory, which killed 72 workers on May 13. Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian also stood by his promise to punish any local …

  • Gasoline prices up, diesel down
    Gasoline prices up, diesel down

    Oil companies announced yesterday a price hike of 50 centavos per liter for gasoline and a rollback of 50 centavos per liter for diesel effective at 6 a.m. today. Independent oil firms were among the first to announce the price adjustment. In an advisory, PTT Philippines, the local subsidiary of Thailand’s biggest oil firm said it cut diesel prices by 50 centavos per liter and increased gasoline prices by 50 centavos per liter. …

  • Lawmakers to review building code provisions
    Lawmakers to review building code provisions

    Lawmakers are set to review provisions of the National Building Code and Republic Act 10121, or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act, to strengthen contingencies and policies to prepare the country for possible major earthquakes. The move came following proposals from Reps. Winston Castelo of Quezon City and Lito Atienza of the Buhay party-list to review the two laws and other regulations during a hearing of the House committee on Metro Manila development on the …

  • Noy: Phl may attain first world status with continued reforms
    Noy: Phl may attain first world status with continued reforms

    The Philippines’ attaining first world status may soon be imminent if significant reforms initiated by the current administration would be consistently pursued, President Aquino suggested yesterday. “Kung madidiligan ang ating mga pinunla, at makaka-graduate ang mga pinag-aaral natin upang makapasok sa maaayos na trabaho, baka po tuluyan nang nasa first world status tayo sa panahong iyon (If we water the seeds sown and those we sent to school will find better jobs, then time will come that …

  • Phl won’t recognize China air restrictions
    Phl won’t recognize China air restrictions

    The Philippines will not recognize restrictions on air and sea travel set by China in the West Philippine Sea, President Aquino said yesterday. “We will still fly the routes that we fly based on international law and the various conventions, agreements that have been entered into through various decades,” Aquino told reporters in an ambush interview after inspecting the Marikina Elementary School in preparation for the opening of classes in June. “Maybe we should not think about getting …

  • Rainy season likely in 2nd week of June
    Rainy season likely in 2nd week of June

    Filipinos may have to wait until the second or third week of June for rain, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said yesterday. Rene Paciente, chief of PAGASA’s marine meteorological services section, said they expect the rainy season to start in the second or third week of June. The criteria for declaring the onset of the rainy season include the prevalence of the southwest monsoon and the 25-millimeter rainfall recorded in at least five …

  • UN urged to probe torture cases under Noy’s term
    UN urged to probe torture cases under Noy’s term

    The United Nations has been asked to look into   110 cases of torture and numerous cases of illegal arrests during the Aquino administration. Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary-general, yesterday said the matter could be looked into when the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) visits from May 25 to June 3 to monitor the  implementation of the Optional protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OpCAT), which the Philippines ratified in 2012. “We enjoin the UN SPT to …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options