Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, Bahrain activist on hunger strike, is hospitalized


Bahraini women hold posters of Ali Mushaima who was killed last year during the deadly crackdown on street protests, during a rally calling for political reforms in the Shiite village of Jidhafs, West Manama, on March 23, 2012. Thousands of Bahrainis took to the streets of Shiite villages around the capital to demand reforms, with some calling for the ouster of the Sunni-ruled regime.



Bahrain's foremost rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja has been moved from prison to a military hospital for treatment after 58 days on hunger strike in protest of his life sentence, said BBC

Al-Khawaja's lawyer, Mohamed al-Jishi, told Al Jazeera today that the intravenous drip being provided to his client "won't be enough to keep him alive" because it is just a saline/glucose solution.

He said the activist -- who has lost 22 pounds since February 8 -- is in "critical" condition.

Thousands of people called for his release on Friday, said BBC, demonstrations that saw security forces using teagas and water cannons to disperse crowds.

The island kingdom has been in turmoil for the past year due to mainly Shiite-led protests that broke out agains the ruling Sunni authorities in solidarity with anti-government uprisings taking place throughout the Arab world. 

Al-Khawaja was arrested last April and given a lifetime sentence on charges of treason. Amnesty International considers the 52-year-old activist, who was working as the regional coordinator for the non-governmental organization Frontline, a prisoner of conscience and has called for his release

Al-Khawaja's activist daughter Zainab was arrested Thursday after staging a protest on behalf of her father outside the interior ministry, according to Al Jazeera. Officials said she “attacked a public employee” after being told to exit the area, according to The New York Times.

Officials in Denmark have offered Al-Khawaja, who is also a Danish citizen, medical treatment there. 

Meanwhile, fresh protests were also seen Thursday against the holding of the Bahrain Formula One race

The competition is set to begin April 20 under the banner “Unified: One Nation in Celebration," a motto The New York Times described as an attempt to project "an image of calm" promptly "shattered" by Friday's unrest.