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I am writing to you in regards to the case of Danish-Bahraini citizen Abdulhadi Al Khawaja who has been detained in Bahrain since April 9 2011. Mr. Al Khawaja was arbitrarily arrested in a pre-dawn house raid following the Bahraini regime’s crackdown on opposition in March of last year. He was beaten so brutally during arrest, it resulted to fractures on his face and jaw which required an immediate operation that left him with permanent damage. He was subjected to severe torture shortly afterward and put in solitary confinement for two months. Mr. Al Khawaja was then sentenced to life imprisonment in an unfair military trial along with 13 other opposition leaders, accused with baseless charges of financing and participating in terrorism to overthrow the government, as well as spying for a foreign country.
On February 8 2012, Mr. Al Khawaja started an open hunger strike, declaring “freedom or death”. Since then, he has suffered serious health problems which includes internal bleeding, very low blood sugar levels, and his veins have become too weak for IV. We must note that he was already thin when he started the hunger strike, thus he is at a critical phase due to nutritional stats that state how long a person survives a hunger strike depends on how much fat and muscle tissue he had when he first started. Despite Mr. Al Khawaja’s significantly deteriorating health, the Bahraini regime has claimed that his “health is not in danger”, which prompted Mr. Al Khawaja to stop receiving medical checkups starting from March 10 2012 as a form of protest against their false accusations regarding his health. Refusing medical checkups puts his life at further risk as his blood sugar levels and pressure will not be monitored.
It has come to my attention that the Danish government has shown great interest in Mr. Al Khawaja’s case, therefore I would like to thank you for you efforts towards working for his release and asking for his transfer to Denmark for medical treatment. In the past, I have come to know that you requested a retrial, for Mr. Al Khawaja and 13 other opposition leaders, from Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid Al Khalifa. Although he promised you a retrial by January 2012, no action has been made in this case. Furthermore, I have been following the Danish consulate’s numerous visits to Mr. Al Khawaja in prison and the Danish ambassador in Saudi’s recent meeting with Bahraini FM Khalid Al Khalifa. I appreciate the Danish government’s concern in Mr. Al Khawaja’s case and your constant efforts for his release.
However, I am writing you this letter as a concerned Bahraini citizen with the life of Abdulhadi Al Khawaja, who has entered his seventh week of hunger strike. I urge you to exert more effort for Mr. Al Khawaja’s release as the Bahraini authorities do not seem concerned about his health whatsoever. We need immediate action on your behalf to secure his release as his reaches a critical phase in his hunger strike. We urge you to work at the regional level, presenting his case to the United Nations and European Union to pressure the Bahraini authorities. I would like to point out that Mr. Al Khawaja is not only entitled to protection by the EU for being a Danish citizen, but also for being a Human Rights Defender, in accordance with the EU Guidelines on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders. Thus, we hope that you will work with the EU for Mr. Al Khawaja’s urgent release.
I reiterate my appreciation for the Danish government’s efforts towards working for HRD Abdulhadi Al Khawaja’s release in Bahrain, however again I urge you to exert more pressure on the Bahraini authorities for his immediate and unconditional release. I remind you of your demand that there be action ‘within days not weeks’. I am afraid time is not on our side, therefore we are in need of urgent action for his release as he enters a critical phase in his hunger strike.
Thank you for your time,
[ENTER YOUR NAME]”