A United Nations knowledgeable has referred to as on Bahrain to launch a distinguished human rights defender from jail earlier than his sixtieth birthday subsequent week.
Mary Lawlor, UN particular rapporteur on the state of affairs of human rights defenders, pleaded for the discharge of Abdulhadi al-Khawaja in a video message posted on Twitter on Friday.
Khawaja, who was beforehand president of the Bahrain Heart for Human Rights, has been in jail for 10 years, serving a life sentence for “organizing and managing a terrorist group”, amongst different fees .
“He’s serving a life sentence for peacefully defending the rights of others,” Lawlor mentioned.
“He was discovered to be unfair and the main points of his torture have been corroborated by an unbiased fee of inquiry.”
Lawlor mentioned she had recognized Khawaja “for a few years” and “had witnessed his dedicated work for human rights within the Center East”.
The UN knowledgeable additionally famous that Khawaja’s case has been taken up by the European Union, the United Nations and different worldwide organizations.
“I urge the Bahraini authorities to lastly launch Abdulhadi in time for his sixtieth birthday on April 5. Her household has been fragmented and dislocated and has suffered enormously over the previous ten years; it could be an honorable and compassionate act to permit them to come back collectively, ”concludes Lawlor.
Khawaja was one of the first high-profile arrests after pro-democracy protests started in 2011 that sparked widespread authorities repression in Bahrain.
Tens of hundreds of individuals then took to the streets of the nation, calling for democratic reforms, an finish to discrimination in opposition to the bulk Shia Muslim inhabitants and, in the end, an finish to the 245-year reign of the Khalifa monarchy. .
Bahrain: ten years later, the pro-democracy motion has been crushed
Earlier this 12 months, Khawaja’s daughter Maryam advised Center East Eye that her household’s entry to him had been sporadic.
“You may by no means count on what is going on to occur; you might need a name this week, however subsequent week there is no name. So nothing is ever set in stone,” she mentioned in an interview in February.
Maryam herself has turn into one of the vital distinguished voices within the Bahraini democratic motion internationally. It was a profile that pressured her to stay in exile as a consequence of a phrasing she obtained in absentia for allegedly assaulting a police officer.
“What we’re seeing as we speak is what you would possibly name a stalemate, but it surely goes past as a result of it is a state of affairs that may’t proceed like this. There’s absolute management over every thing in the case of public area, entry to freedoms and so forth, “she mentioned on the time.
A February report by the London-based marketing campaign group Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) on the tenth anniversary of the rebellion indicated that, since 2011, a minimum of 51 individuals have been sentenced to demise in Bahrain.
Mass trials have turn into “commonplace” within the nation, in keeping with the report, with 167 individuals convicted in a single day in February 2019. A whole bunch of activists have seen their citizenship stripped by the dominion, with round 300 presently denaturalized.