A Feb. 8 open letter written from prison by leading Bahraini human rights activist Abdulhadi Al Khawaja recounts the abuse he has endured since his arrest on April 8, 2011.
“I have no regrets that I had to pay a price for my work to promote human rights,” Al Khawaja wrote in his open letter to the Foreign Minister of Denmark, where Al Khawaja lived as a political refugee in exile from Bahrain between 1989 and 2001. “It is serious business to address issues such as corruption, inequality and discrimination in order to promote the interests of members of the ruling family, and documenting arbitrary detention and torture by the brutal National Security Apparatus.”
Human Rights First has closely monitored Al Khawaja’s case as well as similar cases brought before military courts in Bahrain. In his open letter, Al Khawaja thanked international human rights organizations, including Human Rights First, for their efforts to free him and others who have faced trumped up charges.
Al Khawaja notes that he has been “severely beaten, arbitrarily detained, held in solitary confinement and subjected to torture for more than two months” and “brought before a military court on charges faked by the National Security Apparatus.” Al Khawaja is serving a life sentence for his opposition to the Bahraini regime.
As he closed his letter, Al Khawaja called on European Union member states to act in accordance with EU guidelines requiring that they protect human rights defenders around the world. He urged members states to take “whatever possible actions” at the regional level and at the United Nations to address his case and the cases of other detained Bahraini activists.
For more information about Human Rights First’s work on Bahrain, click here.