Abdulhadi Alkhawaja: Dying for Justice
Sunday, April 8, is his 60th hunger striking day.
by Stephen Lendman
Bahrain's Al-Khalifa monarchy is one of the world's most ruthless despotic regimes. It's also a valued US ally.
It's one of many other regional ones, notably Saudi Arabia, the worst of the lot.
In summer 2010, sporadic protests began. Last February, major ones erupted. Daily, Bahrainis brave security force violence, arrests, disappearances, torture, and cold-blooded murder, as well as show trial prosecutions, convictions, and imprisonments.
Human rights activist Abdulhadi Abdulla Alkhawaja was out in front for democratic change. His courage cost him dearly.
On April 9, 2011, around 20 Bahraini police stormed his apartment pre-dawn. Brutally beaten unconscious and arrested, he required surgery to implant metal plates to hold his shattered jaw together. He spent days hospitalized, but remains permanently impaired.
Still weak and recovering, he was imprisoned, isolated, tortured, prosecuted, and imprisoned for life on spurious charges of "organizing and managing a terrorist organization, attempting to overthrow the Government by force, and in liaison with a terrorist organization working for a foreign country."
Other charges were also piled on, including "collecting money for a terrorist organization." During trial, no evidence whatever was presented. Throughout the proceedings, prosecutorial irregularities were flagrant.
Abdulhadi was guilty by accusation. On September 28, 2011, Bahrain's National Safety Court of Appeal upheld his life sentence. Justice was nowhere in sight. Police states afford none. Bahrain's one of the worst.
For years, he's been a courageous human rights activist. From 2008 - 2011, he served as Front Line Defenders' Middle East and North Africa Protection Coordinator. In that capacity, his work involved supporting and protecting regional human rights activists.
He also co-founded the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and served as its first president. He worked as a member of the International Advisory Network of the Business and Human Rights Resource Center, headed by former Irish President Mary Robinson.
Previously, he worked for Amnesty International (AI). In 2005, the Arab Program for Human Rights Activists named him "Activist of the Year."