Interior ministry official clarifies after lawyer expresses fear for the life of Al Khawaja
Manama The health condition of jailed activist Abdul Hadi Al Khawaja is good, Major Gen Ebrahim Habib Al Gaith, Inspector-General at the Interior Ministry, was quoted as saying on alwasatnews.com.Major Gen Ebrahim said that Al Khawaja has been moved from the clinic of public security to the military hospital which is equipped with advanced equipment.
Earlier, his lawyer said Al Khawaja was feared to have died, after Bahraini authorities turned down repeated requests to contact him.
"Authorities have been refusing since yesterday [Sunday] all requests made by myself and by his family, to visit or contact Al Khawaja," Mohammad Al Jashi said.
"We fear that he might have passed away as there is no excuse for them to prevent us from visiting or contacting him," he said, adding that no information was available on Al Khawaja's health.
Al Jashi said the last time he contacted Al Khawaja was on Saturday, a day after he was moved from the interior ministry hospital into a military hospital in Manama.
Al Khawaja, who was sentenced with other opposition activists to life in jail over an alleged plot to topple the government during a month-long protest a year ago, began a hunger strike on the night of February 8-9.
Bahrain's largest opposition formation Al Wefaq reiterated its calls for his release yesterday in a statement accusing authorities of "completely ignoring his deteriorating health which has reached a dangerous stage".
Bahrain's national airline Gulf Air said its page on a social network website was hacked yesterday. The page was back a few hours later.
Denmark has asked Bahrain to send Al Khawaja, who is also a Danish citizen, to the Scandinavian country. Bahrain's official news agency BNA reported on Sunday that Manama had turned down the request.
But Danish papers quoted the head of the foreign ministry's consular service, Ole Engberg Mikkelsen, as saying that "a [formal] reply will come through diplomatic channels and not via a news agency or Twitter".