Bahrain appeals court orders retrial of 21 jailed activists

Bahrain-appealsBahrain’s Court of Cassation has ordered the retrial of 21 jailed political activists, including Abdulhadi al-Khawaja who has been on hunger strike for more than two months.

The official Bahrain News Agency (BNA) said on Monday that the court is ordering that the trial “take place again and that testimony from prosecution and defense witnesses be heard once more as if it is a new trial.”

However, defense lawyer Mohammed al-Jishi said the judge stated that the activists would not be released.

None of the 21 convicted Bahraini activists appeared in court on Monday.

Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who holds dual Danish and Bahraini nationality, was given a life sentence in a military court in June 2011 over accusations of inciting protests against the Manama regime.

The retrial of the 21 Bahraini men will reportedly take place in a civil court.

International human rights groups have called on Bahraini authorities to release the activists without condition.

Meanwhile, Bahraini protesters held a demonstration against the verdict in front of the courthouse in the capital, Manama, on Monday.

Khadija al-Mousawi, the wife of Khawaja, said after the verdict was issued that the legal process of her husband’s case was “ridiculous.”

“They (Bahraini authorities) are playing for time, and should have transferred his case to a civilian court at the first hearing not the third.”

On Sunday, Mousawi was allowed to visit her husband for the first time in two weeks. She said Khawaja “was drugged and force-fed” at the military hospital on April 23.

“After he woke up he found two IV (intravenous) injections in his arms and a feeding-tube down his nose. It was done against his will.”

However, a spokesperson for the Bahrain Defense Forces Hospital rejected the issue, claiming the jailed activist “has not been force-fed or treated against his will.”


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