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Bahraini Hunger-Striker Feared Dead

Activists, daughter demand release of hunger striker and all political prisoners in Bahrain

Common Dreams staff

A Bahraini Shiite demonstrates during a funeral on the outskirts of Manama in 2010. (AFP Photo/Joseph Eid)

As a Bahraini hunger striker reached two months on strike, sources are suggesting he may have died this weekend. Authorities are not allowing lawyers and family to contact him for the first extended period since he has been detained, raising concerns that he may be dead.

The hunger striker, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who was arrested for protesting in the Bahraini uprising one year ago, began his strike in early February. Since then, activists have been calling for his and other political prisoners' release, staging mass protests and clashing with police forces.

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Bahraini hunger striker's daughter speaks out (Al-Jazeera):

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Jailed Bahrain hunger-striker feared dead: lawyer (Agence France-Presse):

Jailed activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja was feared to have died, his lawyer said on Monday, after Bahraini authorities turned down repeated requests to contact him.

"Authorities have been refusing since yesterday (Sunday) all requests, made by myself and by his family, to visit or contact al-Khawaja," Mohammed al-Jeshi told AFP.

"We fear that he might have passed away as there is no excuse for them to prevent us from visiting or contacting him," he said, adding that no information was available on Khawaja's health.

Jeshi said the last time he contacted Khawaja was on Saturday, a day after he was moved from the interior ministry hospital into a military hospital in Manama.

Khawaja, a Shiite who was condemned with other opposition activists to life in jail over an alleged plot to topple the Sunni monarchy during a month-long protest a year ago, began a hunger strike on the night of February 8-9. [...]

Demonstrations in solidarity with Khawaja have multiplied across the tiny kingdom where youth groups organise almost daily evening protests in Shiite villages. [...]

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