2018: Ali Mushaima Launches 46-Day Hunger Strike outside Bahrain Embassy in London
2019-01-05 - 4:34 am
Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Ali Mushaima, son of prominent opposition leader Hasan Mushaima, launched a hunger strike for 46 days and slept on the ground in front of the Bahraini Embassy in London.
Mushaima seemed serious and determined not to return to his home and not end his hunger strike unless the Bahraini authorities responded to his demands, mainly providing treatment to his father who suffers from cancer.
Ali, who resides in London, said that his father is dying slowly due to his prevention from medicine and treatment, noting that he is in his 70s. In an article published in The Guardian, Ali considered that the Bahraini authorities are killing his father, stating that he started a hunger strike to save him. Ali said that he has no other choice.
Since his strike, demands and inquiries were sent to Bahraini Embassy in London about Mushaima's health condition. The incident received wide reactions, on the political and media levels, until the issue required serious interference from the Bahraini government.
News agencies rushed to cover the event that started on the onset of August. The Bahraini embassy in London was forced to issue several statements acknowledging that Hasan Mushaima had refused to attend his medical appointments with specialists in hospitals outside prison, because he refused to wear the prison uniform.
At the beginning of the sit-in, Hasan Mushaima told his son in a phone call that the prison treatment had worsened, and he stated in another call that his prevention of treatment is an act of slow murder lacking the fingerprints of the murderer. Hasan Mushaima accused, in a recorded telephone call between him and his son, senior officials in the regime of standing behind the decision to tighten the grip on him and his fellow inmates.
The Bahraini embassy in London was outraged at the Ali Mushaima sit-in, trying to stir up GONGOs against him. One time, it poured water on him and then started painting fence of the embassy building, in order to force Ali Mushaima to leave the scene and hinder his protest, which began to witness solidarity from passers-by.
The Ombudsman also visited Hasan Mushaima in prison to investigate his grievances, while admitting that he had been denied full treatment, it justified all that he was subjected to. It also ended its report with promises, and strongly defended the safety and integrity of prison procedures.
The strike of Ali Mushaima received very substantial support. Several known activists from around the world visited Mushaima in his protest site to stand in solidarity with him. Meanwhile, some slept beside him on the ground. Detainees in Bahrain's prisons also announced their willingness to carry out a hunger strike in solidarity with Hasan Mushaima, while activist Zainab Al-Khawaja joined Ali Mushaima in front of the embassy in a silent hunger strike.
International writers sent an open letter to the King of Bahrain asking him to return Hasan Mushaima's books back to him, all of which were confiscated without justification.
Ali Mushaima sent a letter to the British Queen to intervene in order to save his father, but later received a reply from Buckingham Palace saying that the Queen does not interfere in the affairs of another sovereign State.
British MPs expressed strong positions on the issue and considered Mushaima's denial of treatment an inhumane act. The issue was discussed at a House of Lords session, in the presence of British Secretary of State for Middle East Affairs Alistair Burt, who confirmed that his government had reached "unequivocal assurances that in his case [Hasan Mushaima] and other cases, there has been and will still be insurance for proper medical care in prison."
After 30 days of hunger strike, Ali Mushaima was taken to the hospital after his health deteriorated seriously, but he returned to the site of the embassy to complete his sit-in.
Bahraini authorities responded gradually and under pressure to the demands of Mushaima, handed him his medicines, then transferred him, without forcing him to wear the prison uniform, to the hospital for his cancer tests. Later, the Bahrain Embassy in London issued a statement confirming the government's promises to continue to provide medical care to Mushaima.
While Hasan Mushaima's family was able to visit him on October 11 for the first time in 20 months, including his daughter-in-law and his granddaughter, his son said in a statement in December that he was still waiting for the results of the cancer screening his father underwent in August.
On September 15, Ali Mushaima announced the end of his hunger strike after medical advice and promises that his father would have the right to treatment.
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