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Rights groups appeal to Danish government to help secure Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja's release

Five international, local, and regional human rights groups met with the Danish Foreign Minister on 4 September to raise concerns over the health of Bahraini-Danish dual citizen Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, who is currently imprisoned for life in Bahrain and has recently gone on hunger strike to protest his unjust imprisonment. Read their press release below.

We were received on short notice today [4 September 2014] by the Danish Foreign Minister, Mr. Martin Lidegaard, to whom we conveyed our serious concerns about the rapidly deteriorating health situation of prominent human rights defender, Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, who holds dual nationalities for Bahrain and Denmark. Reports received today confirmed that his life is in immediate danger.

Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, a leading human rights activist in the Middle East, began a hunger strike on Monday, 25 August, in protest of the life-sentence that he received on charges related to his peaceful exercise of freedom of expression. The torture that he was subjected to after his arrest in 2011 was well-documented in the BICI report, and his detention has been deemed arbitrary by the United Nations.

We shared with the Minister the latest information, received this morning, about recent developments on Abdulhadi's medical condition, and conveyed a personal message from his wife Khadija.

We urged the Danish government to have their allies follow through on their commitment made in June 2014 at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, where they called for the release of political prisoners in Bahrain, including Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja. We stressed the need for the Danish government to work harder on gathering the necessary international support from EU and certain other countries with particular close relations to Bahrain in order to secure his release.

The minister shared our concerns and expressed his strong personal commitment to doing everything possible to secure Al-Khawaja's immediate release on humanitarian grounds.


Amnesty International
Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR)
Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR)
Human Rights Watch (HRW)
International Media Support (IMS)
Pen International

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