|code: 312465||Date: 2012/05/01 - 23:42||source: BBC|
“Thin” but “Alert” Khawaja Determined to Stay on Hunger Strike
(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - Becoming the first media outlet to meet the hunger striker, the BBC said it was allowed to speak with Khawaja for five minutes with his consent inside his room at the Bahrain Defense Force (BDF) hospital.
“On Tuesday, BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner and producer Mark Georgiou were allowed to see him for five minutes with his consent”, BBC said.
“He was dressed in overalls and sitting on the edge of his bed, unrestrained”.
“Khawaja said he would continue his hunger strike”, which began on 8 February.
The activist told Gardner and Georgiou that he had been a human rights activist for 30 years by peaceful means.
“Hospital staff told our correspondent that Mr Khawaja was getting "VIP treatment" and that they had been frustrated at reports from his supporters that he was being mistreated”, BBC added.
The hunger striker described his medical treatment as good "except for the force-feeding".
“He said he had been walking for three days and appeared thin but alert”, BBC said.
Khawaja has been for 84 days on a hunger strike in protest at the life sentence he received from a military court in June for allegedly plotting against the state.
On Monday, Bahrain's highest court ordered a retrial for Khawaja and 20 other prominent activists and opposition figures tried alongside him, seven of them in absentia.
Despite the court decision, Khawaja has not been released on bail and has remained under guard at the BDF hospital in Manama.
‘REGIME BUYING TIME’
But his wife, Khadija al-mousawi said the ruling was meaningless, and that the authorities were simply trying to buy time in the face of international pressure.
Moussawi on Monday told the BBC that he had been "very weak" when she visited him in hospital on Sunday.
"He had been restrained and force-fed through a tube for five days, but agreed to be fed by IV [intravenous drip]", she added.
She also said the Court of Cassation's ruling, which threw out his conviction by the military tribunal and ordered a retrial at a civilian court, was "ridiculous".
"They are playing for time, and should have transferred his case to a civilian court at the first hearing not the third", Moussawi said.