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UN Special Rapporteur Reiterates Her Calls to Release Al-Khawaja on His Arrest Anniversary

2023-04-08 - 11:55 p

Bahrain Mirror: The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders Mary Lawlor has reiterated her calls to release prisoner of conscience Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja.

Lawlor addressed Al-Khawaja in a video ahead of his arrest anniversary saying: "Dear Abdulhadi, almost 13 years ago we got news of your brutal arrest. I never really believed that you will be in prison 13 years later, given the evidence of your torture and unfair trial all simply for peacefully expressing your views."

She said "I believe long term imprisonment is one of the cruelest punishments human rights defenders can face as their spirits often weaken with time and they are often forgotten about."

Lawlor addressed Al-Khawaja saying "I know your wife and children have suffered greatly and your family exiled to different parts of the world," adding "Your resilience is remarkable Abdulhadi."

She demanded the Bahraini government to show some compassion after all this time, make right this awful injustice and free Al-Khawaja.

Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja is considered one of the symbols of the February 14 uprising in Bahrain, and was nicknamed the dean of human rights defenders in the Gulf. He was arrested by the Bahraini authorities over taking part in organizing protests that began in Bahrain during 2011 to demand political reforms and end sectarian discrimination. He was sentenced to life in jail and was subjected, during the years of his arrest, to physical and psychological torture.

Arabic Version