Five weeks into his hunger strike, family members of the well known Bahraini
activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja warned that he is now so weak that he can barely stand.
Al-Khawaja started the hunger strike on February 8 to protest his own detention and that of several other activists arrested last April.
"On Sunday his situation was very bad. My mother said she could barely hear him on the phone," said Mariam al-Khawaja, one of his daughters. "He reached a situation where he could not stand up, even to perform his prayers."
Al-Khawaja, who suffers from diabetes, has lost more than 14kg since he began his fast. He has started to refuse medical examinations - his last one was almost a week ago - and is now threatening to refuse water as well.
The activist and six others were given life sentences by a military court in what Bahraini and international human rights groups have called an unfair trial.
The men held a brief hunger strike last month to demand their release, but al-Khawaja, who is believed to have been tortured in the first weeks of his detention, started his own hunger strike on February 9.
His family says the abuse continued after his arrest. Al-Khawaja was admitted to a military hospital last year with a cracked jaw and skull, among other injuries, and reportedly underwent several surgeries.
"He can't go on like this; he refuses absolutely to go back to eating. He says 'I take my freedom or die'," the lawyer Mohammed al-Jishi said, adding that "the activist had stopped drinking water for several days last week."
Amnesty International has described some of the detainees as "prisoners of conscience convicted simply for attending protests."
"We have very, very serious concerns about his case, and the cases of the other people," said Said Boumedouha, a researcher at Amnesty who has worked extensively on Bahrain.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by moqawama.org