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Abdulhadi Al-Khawajah dying to live

Yusur Al-Bahrani

April 6, 2012

Abdulhadi AlKhawajah, detained Bahraini human rights defender, has been on hunger strike for more than 57 days. His starving body sends a clear message to the Bahraini state and its imperialist allies around the world that freedom is a legitimate demand.

On December 2010, Mohamed Bouazizi sparked the Tunisian revolution that ousted Bin Ali. In Bahrain, the uprising inspired by the Tunisian and Egyptian revolution has been ignited since more than a year ago on February 2011, but Al-Khawajah’s hunger strike pushed more people in the streets and mobilized Bahrainis from all walks of life under the slogan “Al-Khawajah in danger.”

Al-Khawajah, the founder of Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, was arrested in April 2011, beaten and brutally tortured during the crackdown against Bahraini pro-reform protesters. He has been sentenced to life in prison after an unfair military trial. Despite the recommendation by the Independent Bahraini Inquiry Commission that ordinary courts should review those cases tried by military courts, this never happened with Al-Khawajah’s case.

According to medics, AL-Khawajah now has an 80% chance of dying and is at risk of organ failure at anytime. His daughter, Maryam Al-Khawajah, said: “My father, on his 57th day of hunger strike as his only way of protesting the daily human rights violations of the Bahraini regime against the people of Bahrain. My father, Abdulhadi Alkhawaja is dying to live. Literally.”

At the same time, Grand Prix is to take place on April 22 in Bahrain. This is a slap in the face to the demands of Bahraini protesters by the government and its international allies. Bahrain, home of the US Fifth Fleet, has been receiving support by arms deals and media blackout from imperialists, and Canada has been complicit.

However, the fight for real democracy continues in Bahrain as activists mobilize for a new turning point in peaceful protests that will “paralyze the regime”. In a recent statement, the Bahraini Youth Leftist Coalition announced: “We urge Bahrainis from all backgrounds and walks of life to join us in this peaceful movement to paralyze the Bahraini regime. This will be a true message for all those who struggle and fight for freedom in all over the world.”

Al-Khawajah must not be the Bouazizi of Bahrain; he needs global solidarity for his release.

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