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Bahrain: Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja denied justice again as ruling on re-hearing postponed for second time in a month
On the 75th Day of Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja’s hunger strike in Bahrain, the Court of Cassation has postponed ruling on the appeal of Abdulhadi and his 13 co-defendants, for the second time in a month.
23 April 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
On the 75th Day of Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja’s hunger strike in Bahrain, the Court of Cassation has postponed ruling the appeal of Abdulhadi and his 13 co-defendants, for the second time in a month. Despite assurances from the Bahraini Government following the issuing of the Report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) in November that all trials conducted by the National Safety Court would be reviewed, Abdulhadi’s case reveals the Government’s strategy to keep delaying this high-profile case.
Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja was tried by the National Safety Court of Bahrain, established after the suspension of the Constitution in March 2011. Abdulhadi’s trial was observed by Front Line Defenders and other international legal observers, and was found to be patently unfair and failed to live up to international fair trial standards. This determination was later confirmed by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, which was appointed by the King and which found "[I]t is clear that the National Safety Decree, as implemented by the Military Attorney General, overtook the national system of justice. A pattern of due process violations occurred at the pre-trial and trial levels that denied most defendants elementary fair trial procedures."
Following the BICI Report, which was accepted in full by the Bahraini Government, the Bahraini Government gave assurances that all recommendations of the BICI report would be implemented, including the review of unfair trials. At the last hearing, the Court of Cassation refused to allow the BICI report to be entered into evidence as part of the appeal by Abdulhadi’s defence lawyer.
Front Line Defenders Director Mary Lawlor, who attended the brief hearing last month, said “Today’s delay exposes the Government’s determination to drag this issue out. Abdulhadi is in dire condition, imprisoned for his legitimate human rights work. We don’t know how much longer he can survive on this hunger strike, and yet the government continues to evade its own commitments.”
“With the Formula One race complete, the Bahraini Government has no more excuses for delaying justice for Abdulhadi. At the very least, his release to Denmark on humanitarian grounds should be expedited, before it is too late” said Ms Lawlor.ENDS
For further Information please contaxct:
Jim Loughran, Front Line Defenders, Head of communications: Tel +353 1 212 37 50 – MOBILE +353 (0)87 9377586