118 NGOs demand Danish gov’t to strengthen efforts to release HR activist Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja

Fatemeh Al-Zahra World Television: 118 international and Bahraini rights groups called for renewing efforts to secure the immediate and unconditional release of a prominent human rights defender and dual Danish-Bahraini citizen. This came in a joint letter to Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen of Denmark.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) explained that the rights defender, Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, 59, is serving a life sentence in Bahrain’s Jaw prison for his peaceful political and human rights activities. Khawaja was arrested on April 9, 2011, for his role in organizing protests seeking political reform during the pro-democracy popular movement that began in February 2011.

“Security forces violently arrested Al-Khawaja and subjected him to additional severe physical, psychological, and sexual torture in detention. Al-Khawaja was sentenced in June 2011, following unfair trials in courts that did not comply with Bahraini criminal law or international fair trial standards,” it added.

Al-Khawaja, an internationally recognized human rights defender, is the co-founder of both the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) and the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), of which he is also the former president. He had worked as the Middle East and North Africa protection coordinator for Front Line Defenders from 2008 until early 2011.

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