Abdulhadi al-Khawaja is a Bahraini human rights defender who was arrested in April 2011, beaten and tortured during the crackdown against those calling for reform.
He was sentenced to life imprisonment after a grossly unfair trial. Despite the recommendation in the Report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) that all those who had been tried by military courts should have their cases reviewed by ordinary courts, this has not yet occurred.
Over the course of his detention, he was tortured and sexually abused and required a four-hour surgery in a military hospital to treat severe injuries to his head caused by repeated beatings. His critical condition has been documented and verified by forensic experts and international observers.
Abdulhadi launched his fourth hunger strike in eight months on 8 February 2012 and has declared that he will pursue this 'strike to freedom or death.'
It is crucial at this juncture to secure the release of the most renowned human rights advocate in the country, known in every household and an integral part of Bahrain's pro-democracy movement.
The US and UK with close alliances with the Bahraini Royal Family and the Saudi Kingdom, must vocalise the illegality of Abdulhadi's life sentence, exert pressure to secure his release and call for implementation of reforms as promised time and again by King Hamad of Bahrain.
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