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Middle East
Bahrain mulls Denmark plan for hunger striker
Abdulhadi al-Khawaja may be transferred to custody of country where he also has citizenship as protest enters 59th day.
Last Modified: 07 Apr 2012 18:29
An image taken by his lawyer Mohamed al-Jishi on Saturday shows Khawaja in a hospital bed

The government in Bahrain says the nation's top judges are reviewing a request by Denmark to gain custody of a jailed activist, who is also a Danish citizen, who has spent nearly two months on hunger strike.

The official Bahrain News Agency said the Supreme Judicial Council is studying the appeal to transfer Abdulhadi al-Khawaja to Denmark.

The report gave no possible timetable for a decision, but Bahrain is facing increasing pressure over the case.

Saturday marked the 59th day of Khawaja’s hunger strike to protest against his detention.

Khawaja and seven other opposition leaders were sentenced to life in prison last year for anti-state crimes. Opposition activists argue they are political prisoners held for their involvement in last year’s protest movement.

A popular pro-democracy uprising began nearly 14 months ago against the monarchy's near monopoly on power.

Khawaja's daughter, Zainab, was released on Saturday after being arrested earlier in the week during a protest in suppoer of her father.

Hours after her release, Zainab tweeted that: "My father just called, he can hardly speak, and he can hardly breath(e)."

‘Freedom or martyrdom’

On Friday, security forces fired tear gas and water cannons at thousands of protesters marching in support of Khawaja whose hunger strike has become a powerful rallying point for the tiny nation's Shia-led uprising against the Sunni monarchy.

"Freedom or martyrdom," cried marchers who carried portraits of Khawaja, whose declining health has brought appeals for international intervention from groups such as UK-based rights group Amnesty International.

Khawaja was moved to a military hospital on Friday where he was given intravenous fluids after his health deteriorated sharply, his lawyer said.

On Wednesday, the Information Affairs Authority said Khawaja had been moved to a clinic after losing 10kg.

Speaking to Al Jazeera on Saturday, Mohamed al-Jishi, Khawaja's lawyer, said his client's health was further deteriorating despite the hospital intravenous drip.

Jishi said the drip is only a saline/glucose solution.

"The doctors said this won't be enough to keep him alive. He is in a critical phase and he still needs to take food," he said.

Source:
Al Jazeera and Agencies
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