Top Bahrain activist ends his hunger strike in jail

Top Bahrain activist ends his hunger strike in jail

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Khawaja, who is also a Danish citizen, received a life term for charges including attempting to topple the monarchy. He went on hunger strike on February 9.

“He has stopped his hunger strike,” Khadija Almousawi, Khawaja’s wife, said by telephone from Manama. His lawyer had said earlier that Khawaja, a leading figure in Shia-led unrest that erupted last year, felt he had succeeded in drawing attention to the issue of imprisoned activists.

Lawyer Mohamed al-Jishi also announced that prominent activist Nabeel Rajab was granted bail although he continues to face three separate trials on charges including writing tweets deemed insulting to the Bahraini government.

In a statement posted by the lawyer on his Twitter page, Khawaja told his family he was ending his strike “despite failure to achieve the direct demand which is to be set free”.

But he would stop his fast “following the success of his supporters… in shedding light on the issue of detainees in Bahrain prisons… and taking in consideration the forced feeding imposed on him by authorities since April 23.”

Khawaja said he has “agreed to undergo a medical programme to return to a normal diet.”

The former head of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) was convicted last June by a military tribunal, along with 20 other activists, of plotting to overthrow the government.

Khawaja was among seven activists jailed for life, while 14 others were sentenced to between two and 15 years in prison.

He is being retried in a civil court along with 12 others. A new hearing is slated for today.

Last week he made his first court appearance since he began his hunger strike, arriving in a wheelchair, and announced that he was force-fed in prison.

Rajab, the current head of BCHR, was released on a bail of 300 dinars although he continues to face a travel ban, his lawyer said.

Rajab was granted bail in the trial of posting tweets deemed insulting to security forces, over which he was arrested on May 5 upon arrival from a trip abroad.

But the prosecutor ordered him to stay behind bars for questioning in the case of taking part in a rally and calling for illegal demonstrations.

Yesterday, the defence asked the court to “combine the three cases together in one trial”, Jishi said.

The avid tweeter is accused of insulting the security forces in tweets that he admitted came from his account on the microblogging website.

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