News ID: 109547
Publish Date : 29 November 2022 - 20:57

MANAMA (Middle East Eye) – A Bahraini court has upheld two charges against one of the kingdom’s most prominent human rights defenders who is already serving a life sentence and has been protesting conditions in prison, his family and rights groups have reported.
Abdul-Hadi al-Khawaja, a Danish-Bahraini national who was imprisoned in 2011 after leading peaceful protests, was convicted on Monday of insulting a prison guard and breaking a plastic chair, and fined the equivalent of £353.
Khawaja’s family say he was denied his right to legal representation in the cases that are linked to protests the 61-year-old had made after he was repeatedly denied his right to call his daughters from Jau Prison.
“The court has breached its own order where our father, to this date, has been denied the right to grant his lawyer power of attorney,” Maryam al-Khawaja, one of his four daughters, said.
Without a lawyer, she said, her father has been denied “his right to challenge the bogus charges leveled against him, including the most basic right of having access to information on what the charges contain”.
Earlier this month, a series of fresh charges were leveled against Khawaja, who has been imprisoned for 12 years and was subjected to torture and medical neglect early in his detention that has left him with chronic pain.
Rights groups say they believe the charges are an attempt to intimidate Khawaja and other prisoners who speak up from jail.
Among the new charges brought against him was insulting the Zionist regime after he chanted against Bahrain’s normalization deal, but it was not clear to his family or rights groups on Tuesday whether that charge remained among those brought against him.
Khawaja is a veteran human rights defender. He co-founded the Persian Gulf Center for Human Rights and the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, for which he also served as president.

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