Bahrain rights activists on hunger strike

[JURIST] Two Bahraini human rights activists have intensified their hunger strike and are refusing fluids, according to a report [press release] released Monday by the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) [advocacy website]. According to the report Zainab al-Khawaja [HP profile] and her father, prominent human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja [Freedom Now profile] began refusing fluids in response to being denied visits from their families. Earlier this month, the Bahrain court of appeals overturned the acquittal [JURIST report] of Zainab al-Khawaja, who has been accused of insulting a government employee, and sentenced her to three months of imprisonment. She began her hunger strike on March 18. Abdulhadi al-Khawaja was sentenced to life in prison [JURIST report] for his role anti-government protests by a military tribunal in June 2011. The Bahraini government has denied the report [Reuters report].

Bahrain has faced international scrutiny regarding its treatment of political prisoners. Earlier this month a court in Bahrain acquitted [JURIST report] human rights activist Sayed Yousif Al-Muhafda [official Twitter] on charges of spreading false news to harm the country's security on Twitter [media website]. Last month the Bahrain Higher Criminal Court acquitted two police officers [JURIST report] in the shooting death of a Shiite protester during the nation's pro-democracy protests in Manama that began in February 2011. The court concluded the two police officers fired shots at Fadhel Matruk but did not intend to kill him. They had been sentenced to seven yearsm[JURIST report] earlier for the same charges. Bahrain authorities banned all protests [JURIST report] effective October 2012. In December Bahrain's High Criminal Court of Appeals commuted death sentences [JURIST report] for two protesters, instead sentencing them to life imprisonment.

 

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