Wife of Bahrain hunger-striker Abdulhaldi al-Khawaja accuses hospital of force-feeding


Bahraini Shiite Muslims holding up banners in an April 17 demonstration calling for cancellation of the upcoming Bahrain F1 Grand Prix.



The wife of jailed Bahraini activist and hunger striker Abdulhaldi al-Khawaja has accused the authorities of force-feeding and using other life-saving measures on her husband against his will.

Al-Khawaja, Bahrain’s most prominent human rights activist, is one of more than a dozen men jailed on charges of leading an uprising in the island nation last year, and has refused food since February 8.

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He was moved from prison to a military hospital for treatment three weeks ago. His wife, Khadija al-Mousawi, was granted her first visit to her husband in two weeks on Sunday, and told Reuters he had been drugged and force-fed:

“I went to see my husband today and he told me that he was drugged last Monday,” she said. “After he woke up he found two IV [intravenous] injections in his arms and a feeding-tube down his nose. It was done against his will.”

A spokesperson for the Bahrain Defence Forces Hospital denied the claims, according to the Agence France Presse:

“In response to claims made by Abdulhaldi al-Khawaja’s family members today, we want to be clear that the patient has not been force-fed or treated against his will,” the spokesperson said.

Al-Khawaja has been taking “limited nutrition supplements voluntarily, but when his blood sugar dropped significantly today, his doctors asked for and received his consent to insert a naso-gastric tube for nutrition. At no time was he drugged or restrained,” the spokesperson added.

Al-Khawaja and seven other opposition figures received life sentences in prison last year as part of a crackdown on mass Shiite protests by the minority Sunni regime. An appeal hearing on the sentences is to be held on Monday.

Earlier this month, the Bahraini authorities rejected a request by Denmark to take custody of al-Khawaja, who also holds Danish citizenship, according to the Associated Press

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