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.

  • Mercy pleas for Indonesia death row inmates as families arrive
    Mercy pleas for Indonesia death row inmates as families arrive

    Families of foreign drug convicts set to be hauled before the firing squad in Indonesia issued desperate mercy pleas on Saturday, as France warned of "diplomatic consequences" if one of its nationals is executed. Consular officials and relatives were arriving at a town near Nusakambangan, the high-security prison island where Indonesian executions are carried out, and where all of the death row convicts are now congregated. The foreigners -- two from Australia, one each from Brazil, France …

  • United States seeks access to Philippine bases as part of Asia pivot
    United States seeks access to Philippine bases as part of Asia pivot

    The United States has asked for access to Philippine military bases in eight locations to rotate troops, aircraft, and ships as Washington shifts its forces to Asia and as China expands its military presence in the South China Sea. U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, in a speech in Arizona, has outlined Washington's next phase in its Asia "pivot", deploying its most sophisticated destroyers, bombers and fighters to the region. The Asia "pivot" has already seen U.S. Marines rotating through the …

  • China's island-building to loom large at SE Asia summit
    China's island-building to loom large at SE Asia summit

    China's creation of new island footholds in contested seas will hover over a Southeast Asian summit that has become an annual test of the region's nerve in standing up to its massive neighbour. The South China Sea hot potato drops this year into Malaysia's lap as the rotating chair of the 10 member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and host of Monday's meeting. ASEAN states Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei claim parts of the strategic South China Sea, but Beijing …

  • Philippines, China trade accusations over sea threats

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippines accused China of aggressive maneuvers against its reconnaissance plane and fishermen in disputed seas where Beijing has stepped up construction of artificial islands, but China reiterated its claim on the strategic waterways. …

  • Indonesia orders execution of Mary Jane, 9 others
    Indonesia orders execution of Mary Jane, 9 others

    Indonesia has ordered preparations for the execution of 10 drug convicts, including Filipina Mary Jane Veloso, as the Philippine government filed yesterday a second appeal for judicial review of the case to save the maid from death by firing squad. The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) of Indonesia released an official letter dated April 23, instructing prosecutors to prepare for the execution of 10 convicts, the Jakarta Post reported yesterday. The execution would be conducted after the …

  • Business groups back K to 12 program
    Business groups back K to 12 program

    The government’s K to 12 program adding two more years to basic education received support from various business groups yesterday. However, they urged relevant government agencies to deal with issues regarding the implementation of Republic Act 10533, the Enhanced Basic Education Act or K-12 Law. In a statement, business groups led by the Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) said RA 10533 is a milestone piece of legislation that intends to bring the Philippines up to par with the rest of …

  • Happiest nations: Phl ranks 90th
    Happiest nations: Phl ranks 90th

    Switzerland is the happiest country in the world, while the Philippines placed 90th, according to a global ranking of happiness unveiled in New York on Thursday. Switzerland was followed closely by Iceland, Denmark, Norway and Canada. The 2015 World Happiness Report is the third annual report seeking to quantify happiness as a means of influencing government policy. The United Nations published the first study in 2012. …

  • Asean leaders want binding sea code with China
    Asean leaders want binding sea code with China

    Southeast Asian leaders will seek to speed up plans for a binding code of conduct with China governing behavior in the disputed South China Sea at a summit next week, Malaysia’s foreign minister said Friday. Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said a massive flow of Muslim Rohingya refugees from Myanmar to neighboring countries will also be discussed at the two-day summit of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which starts Monday. Anifah said leaders are expected to raise concerns …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options