Bahrain's supreme judiciary has released a statement rejecting a request from Denmark to transfer the jailed Shia human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja to Denmark. Al-Khawaja is close to death after staging a two-month hunger strike.
Responding to the request of the Danish Foreign Minister to transfer al-Khawaja, who has dual nationality, Bahrain's supreme judiciary said "The handover of accused and convicted persons to foreign countries takes place under specific conditions ... This does not apply in Abdulhadi al-Khawaja's case." (Aljazeera)
Authorities in Bahrain also rejected the claim that al-Khawaja's hunger strike for "Freedom or Death" has left him close to death. They referred to his conditon as "not critical" and advised he was "taking fluids, mineral supplements, glucose and juice on a daily basis."
However, according to a press release issued by Front Line Defenders al-Khawaga is at high risk of organ failure. Calling for the al-Khalifa regime to exercise mercy FLD also called on "the UN, the EU, the US and UK" to issue public statements supporting mercy.
The group also drew attention to the negative publicity that could ensue in the run up the Formula 1 Grand Prix which is to be held in Bahrain this year. The Gulf nation lost the opportunity to stage the prestigious motor racelast year amidst the violent suppression of pro-democracy protests.
The fate of al-Khawaja is really in the hands of the Bahraini authorities and it could be considered naive to expect U.S. intervention to assist him. According to Press TV the U.S. government blocked his entrance to the states in 2008. Additionally the U.S.has consistently put its interests in maintaining good relations with the al-Khalifa regime, as hosts of the U.S. 5th Fleet, above any concerns over human rights issues in Bahrain.