28th May 2012

Internationally prominent Human Rights, Abdulhadi Alkhawaja, announced today that he is ending his 110 days hunger strike this evening. Alkhawaja informed his family that in spite of not succeeding in achieving the main demand of his hunger strike: “freedom or death”, he was still able to achieve his overall goal of shedding light on the ongoing human rights situation in Bahrain. Throughout his hunger strike, which began on the 9th of February he was able to assist activists both inside and outside Bahrain to bring attention to the continuous human rights violations and the situation of the political detainees, this was the ultimate goal.

Taking into account the policy of the Bahraini Authorities in force-feeding him which was imposed since the 23rd of April, a blatant violation and torture according to international regulations, and in response to countless requests from those in solidarity with him, and his inmates in the detention center, Al-Khawaja announced today that he will put an end to his hunger strike. Alkhawaja will comply with a medical program set for him by doctors to return to a normal diet. He informed his family of his appreciation for their support, and his gratitude to those in solidarity with him inside and outside the country.

In regards to the appeal in which Al-Khawaja appeared before on the 22nd of May, he informed his family that he reiterates his testimony, which was made before the court hearing. His testimony included denying all charges against him, and testifying about the violations he was subjected to including but not limited to: physical assault during arrest, arbitrary arrest, solitary confinement, unjust trial, mental and physical torture since his arrest 13 months ago (on the 9th of April 2011).

These are the violations that have been documented and endorsed by the report issued by the "Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry". Al-Khawaja repeated what was mentioned in the BICI report in his testimony before the court adding that he considers his continued arrest and trial a crime that the judiciary is involved in due to lack of independency, and therefore he refuses to appear before the court and demands his immediate release and the dropping of all malicious charges and the sentence issued by the National Safety Military Court. He also demands that after his release he be provided with the necessary guarantees that would enable him to continue his activities in defending human rights in absolute freedom.

Once again, BCHR reiterates its call to the government of Bahrain to end acts of intimidation, arrest and ill-treatment directed at human rights defenders in Bahrain and to release all detained HRDs, beginning with Abdulhadi AlKhawaja, immediately and without any restriction or conditions. The BCHR also calls on the government to grant full freedom to Abdulhadi Alkhawaja to travel to the country of his choice in order to receive the medical treatment that he is in desperate need of at the present time.