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16-04-2012 - AP

Danish PM urges release of jailed activist in Bahrain

Denmark's prime minister urged Bahrain to release a jailed activist with dual citizenship on Tuesday, saying he's in a "very critical" condition after a two-month hunger strike.

But Bahrain denies that his health is failing.

Abdul Hadi Al Khawaja, 52, and seven other opposition leaders were sentenced to life imprisonment for anti-state crimes last year in a special security court that was established after Bahrain imposed emergency law in March last year to quell political unrest.

Al Khawaja is a former Middle East and North Africa director of the Ireland-based Frontline Defenders Rights organisation.

He has been refusing food since February 8.

Clashes

Bahrain's opposition supporters have been staging daily rallies calling for Al Khawaja's release, frequently clashing with security forces.

Meanwhile, reports of sectarian clashes emerged Wednesday as witnesses said a mob armed with knives and sticks attacked residents in a Shiite village following a bomb attack on Monday which injured seven policeman.

Al Wefaq, the largest Shiite opposition group, said the attackers were in civilian clothes and "beat up" villagers.

A statement by the group accused security forces of failing to stop the attacks.

But Bahrain's interior ministry said police "prevented" a group of unknown assailants from entering Al Nuweidrat village, a Shiite community on the outskirts of the capital Manama.

 

Other sources on GCC civil society and human rights