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Tánaiste Expresses Deep Concern at Upholding of Life Sentence on Bahraini Human Rights Defender

Human rights, Press Releases, Middle East and North Africa, 2012

Commenting on a verdict issued earlier today by the Bahraini Supreme Criminal Appeal Court in the case of Abdulhadi Al Khawaja, a prominent human rights defender in Bahrain and former Coordinator for the Frontline Defenders organisation who earlier this year undertook a 110 day hunger strike in protest at his sentencing, the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr. Eamon Gilmore, T.D. has stated:

“I am greatly concerned at this decision to uphold what I view as the unjust verdict of life imprisonment initially passed on Mr. Al Khawaja in June 2011. I have repeatedly stated my belief that Mr. Al Khawaja’s initial trial did not meet international standards.  I have strongly and actively supported international efforts urging the Bahraini Government to exercise clemency and to allow his release on humanitarian grounds, particularly in light of clear findings documented by the Bahraini International Commission of Inquiry as to how Mr. Al Khawaja was seriously ill-treated following his initial detention.”

“I understand that Mr. Al Khawaja and his nineteen fellow co-defendants who also had their initial sentences upheld today have the option of making a further, final appeal to the Bahraini Court of Cassation. In the interests of promoting urgently needed reconciliation within Bahrain, I would again urge the Bahraini Government to expedite any such appeals which should be made and to provide further demonstration of clear commitment to the upholding of full human rights in Bahrain and to the full implementation of the recommendations issued last November by the Bahraini International Commission of Inquiry.”