Bahrain: 24 Hours to Save a Life
Controversy and condemnation has engulfed the tiny Kingdom of Bahrain today
as Bernie Ecclestone's Grand Prix took a rather unwelcoming hit. The controversial
race has been the subject of worldwide criticism as news channels all over the
world turned their eyes to cover the abuses behind the surface. UK Parliamentarians
and Labour leader Ed Milliband have urged David Cameron to send out a message
calling for the cancellation of the controversial race.
The race has been destined for failure from the start as it remains a mystery
as to why the Formula One governing board, the FIA, approved it in the first place.
Bahrain has been a location of ever increasing violence as protesters have found
their movements for democratic change barbarically suppressed by government
forces. An independent report last year found that many were subjected to
systematic torture including the use of electric shocks and sexual abuse.
Behind all of this worldwide controversy lies the life of the prominent human rights
defender Abdulhadi Al Khawaja who enters his 72nd day of hunger strike. A man
behind the shadows of the Formula One controversy who has been a subject of concern
as his life deteriorates by the minute. Over 300 signatures have been added to a letter
sent to the King of Bahrain urging the immediate release of this hunger stricken activist.
His life is under grave danger as a worrying update has been brought to our attention by
his daughter Zainab Al Khawaja. She writes:
"Urgent, my father has called now. He asked us to try and get him an urgent visit by his
lawyer to write his will. He said, if they wont allow the lawyer to see him, he has three
things that he would like everyone to know. First, he is completely convinced in what he
is doing and that he has chosen the path that he would choose again if time goes back;
Second, he asks that nobody attempts to go on a similar strike to death and; Finally, he
said 'if I die in the next 24 hours, I ask the people to continue on the path of peaceful
resistance. I dont want anybody to be hurt in my name'. My father has stopped drinking
even water since yesterday. As he finished saying his will to us, the line was cut. He did
not say goodbye..."
Abdulhadi Al Khawaja has been a symbol of perseverance to the nationals in Bahrain and
his death will be a great loss to the world. HumanRights TV urges the immediate release
of this activist as his life has been tested to its limits. He must be released for immediate
health care and given a fair and impartial trial, one which he has never received.
For a complete story on the case of Abdulhadi Al Khawaja please read our previous article
A Striking Father: From Gandhi to Khawaja