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EU Concerned Over Delayed Trial Of Jailed Bahraini Activist On Hunger-Strike

The European Union on Tuesday expressed concern over a decision by the Bahraini authorities to postpone hearings in the trial of Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, a jailed activist who has been on hunger-strike for more than two months at a prison in the tiny Gulf Kingdom.

A Statement issued by EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton's office on Tuesday said the bloc's top diplomat was "very worried by the postponement of the hearing of Abdulhadi al-Khawaja until April 30."

Notably, Ashton had earlier expressed concerns over Khawaja's deteriorating health and urged the Bahraini authorities to find a "compassionate, pragmatic and humanitarian solution" to his deteriorating health as a matter of "utmost urgency."

The statement said Ashton was "deeply concerned about the deteriorating health of Khawaja, who has been on hunger strike since the beginning of February." It said postponement of his judicial case by one week made "these concerns even more serious."

"The High Representative once again urges the Bahraini authorities to find a rapid, pragmatic humanitarian solution to Khawaja's case, as a matter of absolute urgency," the statement added.

Khawaja was arrested along with 13 other prominent Opposition activists in April 2011 and accused by the authorities of being one of the leaders of last year's anti-government protests aimed at toppling the country's Sunni monarchy.

He was tortured in custody and sentenced to life imprisonment by a military court in a grossly unfair trial in June last. Since February 8, he has been on an open-ended hunger-strike until "freedom or death" to protest his continued unfair imprisonment.

by RTT Staff Writer

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