BAHRAIN – NEWS: WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO ALKHAWAJA?
FAMILY, LAWYER AND DIPLOMATS DENIED ACCESS TO ALKHAWAJA – IS HE STILL ALIVE?:
TIMELINE – 26th APRIL 2012 10.15 GMT:
Today, Thursday, would be the 78th day of Abdulhadi AlKhawaja’s “Freedom or Death” hunger strike – if he is still alive. 75 days is normally the limit for surviving without sustenance and AlKhawaja told his family he would even stop drinking water last Sunday.
The Al-Khalifa Government currently has a news blackout on information around AlKhawaja and his family, his lawyer and the Danish Ambassador have all been prevented this week from speaking with him or making visits.
AlKhawaja’s wife says that she phoned the Bahrain Defence Force medical ward where he was being held on Wednesday after he failed to make his regular Tuesday call to her. A nurse is reported to have told her that his room and bed were empty.
Until a few days ago the Ministry of Interior was saying that he is still “in good health” but activists have reported a large increase in police checkpoints around Bahrain in the last 24 hours, which may indicate that some announcement to the contrary is imminent.
There also seems to have been an escalation in night time police raids on houses in the Shia villages and random arrests to “neutralise” those most likely to demonstrate. The village of Duraz was particularly targeted after an explosion there on Tuesday night injured 4 policemen following a fire inside a shop.
Ban Ki Moon, the UN General Secretary, the US State Department and the EU have all once again this week called on the Bahraini Government to use “every available option” to find resolution over the AlKhawaja case. It may be too late or he is in a coma.
Zainab AlKhawaja, his daughter, who was arrested last weekend for staging a protest sit-in in the middle of the road in the Financial Harbour district, has been remanded in custody for another 7 days.
Her sister, Maryam AlKhawaja, who acts as international spokeswoman for the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, yesterday addressed the EU Parliament in clear, forthright terms about the poor state of human rights, not just in Bahrain, but throughout the Gulf.
You can hear hear her articulate testimony in this video report, HERE:
In response to requests to the Ministry of Interior for information about AlKhawaja by the media, the Ministry merely says that people should “watch its Twitter feed”. There was no relevant information from that source yesterday.
In the meantime, we can only wait and hope that somehow AlKhawaja is still alive.
EDITOR: For the Ministry of Interior to deny his family information and access is beyond cruel – but then little surprises me from this lying and despicable regime.