(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - Khawaja is serving a life sentence after he was accused by Bahrain of plotting to topple the Manama regime.Family members and his lawyer have accused authorities of blocking visits and telephone calls.There is an interview with Saeed Shehabi, from the Bahrain Freedom Movement, to share his opinion on this issue. The following is a rough transcription of the interview.Q: First of all, proof of life for Mr. Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, has your organization or any other human rights activists that you know of been able to get that proof that Mr. Khawaja is alive and well?Shehabi: He should be alive in accordance to the regime statements but it is a crime to prevent his family from visiting him. It is a crime to let him die for no reason especially after the Bassiouni recommendations that just said and recommended that he should be freed together with more than 20 others who were unlawfully sentenced for peacefully expressing their views.So I think Abdulhadi Khawaja’s fate is in the balance and we are fearful, everybody [fears] for his life including the international bodies you mentioned in your report. So the thing is that he must be released immediately without delay otherwise the Al Khalifa gang will have to pay dearly if his life is in danger or is endangered or if he loses his life.Q: Well that has been the question why the Bahraini regime is refusing to do that? I mean they are saying that he has been sentenced to life in prison for organizing protests and trying to topple the regime and they said that they are not going to release him. But why do you think they are not doing that despite all the pressure and despite the cost that this may have for them?Shehabi: I believe that the Al Khalifa gang is aware that their days are numbered. They should not be in government because they are not capable of reforming themselves. Their allies have failed to force them to do any reform.They know that the demonstrations are continuing on daily basis and this is why they are using carpet bombing or carpet gassing, carpet gassing of demonstrators at every corner of the country because he is volatile. Abdulhadi Khawaja is a central figure because he is aware, he is determined alongside his brothers who are also with him in jail.Imagine that a big regime sentencing and jailing the daughter of a prisoned man who is on his bed just because she wanted to see her father.So I think the regime is fighting a war of legitimacy because it is an illegitimate regime and also at the same time trying to fight international pressure from all sides on the regime because it has violated all basic principles of freedom and liberty and also it did not heed the cause of those international causes to free him.Abdulhadi Khawaja must be out of jail immediately otherwise the head of the regime will be responsible personally for letting him die.Q: Mr. Shehabi just quickly before we leave you, you say increasing international pressure we know amnesty has been calling for his release, we know Ban Ki-moon the UN chief has said that excessive force should not be used on protesters, but a lot of observers are saying the fact that the Bahraini regime can continue with these violations is that there is not enough pressure and action on the ground from international bodies even from its allies like Saudi Arabia and the US. So what is you view about that?Shehabi: I think there is a widespread belief among Bahrainis that it is the United States which is preventing the regime from releasing al-Khawaja. It is the US which is not taking any action and it is sheltering the regime from international bodies such as the international criminal court.It is the United States that is giving the support to the regime for not freeing Mr. Khawaja because even the statement that it released two, three days ago, it did not call for release of Abdulhadi Khawaja. It only called for humanitarian treatment unlike what the Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International or Navi Pillay or Catherine Ashton or Ban Ki-moon, have all called for his release except Washington.Washington does not want democracy in the [Persian] Gulf, does not want democracy in Bahrain. It simply wants to prop up these dictatorial regimes and unfortunately it is now once again siding and standing on the wrong side of history as it has always been. /129
Bahraini human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja is not in good condition after he went on a hunger strike in jail nearly three months ago, reports say.