Last updated: 26 April, 2012

Ban Ki-moon raises fears over Bahrain hunger striker

UN leader Ban Ki-moon has raised concerns over a Bahraini opposition activist who is on hunger strike in prison amid fears about his deteriorating health.

Ban is worried about clashes between security forces and demonstrators in Bahrain and the case of Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who started refusing food on February 8, his office said in a statement released late Tuesday.

“The secretary-general once again urges the Bahraini authorities to resolve Mr Khawaja’s case based on due process and humanitarian considerations without any further delay,” the statement said.

Ban called on Bahrain’s authorities “to fully respect the fundamental human rights of the Bahraini people, including due process concerning all detainees.”

Khawaja, of the Shiite majority that says it is being marginalized by Bahrain’s Sunni rulers, is one of several democracy activists sentenced to life jail after being convicted of conspiring to overthrow the monarchy.

“The secretary-general remains concerned about the situation in Bahrain, particularly with regard to the continuing clashes between security forces and protesters which have resulted in more casualties,” Ban’s office said.

“He reiterates his appeal to all sides for utmost restraint and an immediate end to the violence.”