I haven't written here at all recently, the main reason being simply that many other things have arisen and sometimes taken priority in the past few months. I have felt bad about this for many reasons, but mostly because I should have been sharing information and highlighting things happening in one of the only ways I can.
To get to the point: Abdulhadi al-Khawaja began a hunger strike on 8 February, vowing not to end until he was released from detention. Today is his 58th day without food, and things are looking particularly bleak. He has lost approximately 25% of his body weight, and I've seen a picture which quite upset me. He has been moved to hospital and it is feared that he might die over the weekend.
At the start of last week, courts in Bahrain deferred a scheduled review of his detention until 23 April. My personal interpretation of these events is that the Bahraini authorities may deliberately want to delay a hearing until it is too late.
His daughter Zainab, who I have written about previously, was arrested this morning while protesting outside the clinic where he is being treated. She is reportedly still in detention.
I've written about Abdulhadi's case before, here, here and here. We used to work together at Front Line. He is a kind and gentle soul. More importantly for his country, where unrest continues despite a year of violent oppression, Abdulhadi is described as "the godfather" of human rights in Bahrain. His life and detention, his health and hunger, have become symbols of oppression, defiance and hope.
Please click here to sign a petition for his release and here for other simple steps you can take to help.
An editorial piece written by Front Line's Deputy Director, Andrew Anderson, is here.
Today's press release is below.