Bahrainâ€™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 â€œtake place again and that testimony from prosecution and defense witnesses be heard once more as if it is a new trial.â€
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 husbandâ€™s case was â€œridiculous.â€
â€œThey (Bahraini authorities) are playing for time, and should have transferred his case to a civilian court at the first hearing not the third.â€
On Sunday, Mousawi was allowed to visit her husband for the first time in two weeks. She said Khawaja â€œwas drugged and force-fedâ€ at the military hospital on April 23.
â€œAfter 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.â€
However, a spokesperson for the Bahrain Defense Forces Hospital rejected the issue, claiming the jailed activist â€œhas not been force-fed or treated against his will.â€