Aug 06, 2023


#FreeAlKhawaja newsletter                   June – July 2023


Dear valued readers,


Welcome to our latest newsletter! This newsletter will cover updates from June and July on:


  1. Update on Al-Khawaja’s health
  2. Update on Al-Khawaja’s access to his lawyer 
  3. Update on family visits 
  4. Summary of the life sentence anniversary campaign   


  • Update on Al-Khawaja’s health 


On June 1, Al-Khawaja met with a cardiologist from Salmaniya Hospital in Jau prison clinic.  The cardiologist, however, did not have access to Al-Khawaja medical files nor the equipment necessary to conduct a proper exam. The cardiologist stated that Al-Khawaja needed an X-ray and specialized medical examination where he would wear an EKG reader for several days to monitor his heart.

Furthermore, Al-Khawaja continues to only be offered transportation while handcuffed and in the inhumane conditions of the Turkish armory. This is despite recommendations from the prison doctors’ at Jau prison and the fact that other prisoners were transported to their medical appointments in regular cars. Since the shift in allowing other prisoners to be moved without handcuffs and in a regular vehicle, Al-Khawaja has insisted that he be treated similarly and allowed to attend his medical appointments – to no avail.


Al-Khawaja’s health is currently stable (noting that much of his existing health issues continue), but concerns persist over his wellbeing. Urgent action is needed to ensure that he receives adequate medical attention and care to prevent further health complications.


  • Please find a timeline of recent medical events regarding Al-Khawaja here.


  • Updates on Al-Khawaja’s access to legal representation: 

Reports in June and July indicated that Al-Khawaja is being denied access to his lawyer as well. Furthermore, he is being prevented from obtaining the false statements issued by the government of Bahrain in response to a recent UN critique (find both documents here).  

  • Updates on Al-khawaja’s access to family visit: 

Al-Khawaja was denied a special visit to his prison cell, when he requested that his wife or his daughter be allowed to come to the prison. 

  • Summary of life sentence anniversary campaign & other social media campaigns. 

On June 22, we marked the 12th anniversary of Abdul-Hadi Al-Khawaja’s life sentence, a significant milestone in his unjust imprisonment. To commemorate this anniversary and shed light on his plight, we have published various designs that depict the hardships Al-Khawaja has endured throughout his incarceration.

We collaborated with CIVICUS to develop the interactive timeline dedicated to Al-Khawaja and his family, showcasing his inspiring struggle for human rights and his advocacy for detainees in Bahrain and worldwide. Our primary focus was on Abdul-Hadi Al-Khawaja’s remarkable journey as a prominent human rights defender in Bahrain and the Gulf region. The timeline covered significant events such as his imprisonment in April 2011 and the subsequent life sentence he received. We also shed light on the immense physical and psychological torture that he has endured, along with instances of medical neglect and intimidation over the past twelve years. We wrote about Al-Khawaja, the thinker, the human rights defender, the husband, father and grandfather. 


On June 26 we published a powerful Op-Ed in Danish newspaper Dagbladet Information. The article, titled “Why is a Danish citizen still unjustly imprisoned after 12 years in torture hell?“, was authored by Maryam Al-Khawaja, the daughter of Abdul-Hadi Al-Khawaja, along with Tim Whyte, Secretary General of ActionAid Denmark, and Vibe Klarup, Secretary General of Amnesty International Denmark. The Op-Ed coincided with the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, amplifying the urgency of addressing the plight of Al-Khawaja and the countless victims of torture worldwide. The Op-Ed not only shed light on the unfathomable suffering endured by Abdul-Hadi Al-Khawaja over the past 12 years but also called for Danish and international action to secure his release. 


In addition to the publication of the Op-Ed, Maryam Al-Khawaja took a courageous step by sharing a heartfelt video testimony detailing the torture her father endured and the profound impact it had on him and their family. In the powerful video, she sheds light on the historical context of international involvement in constructing the torture system in Bahrain, emphasizing the need for accountability and justice. Moreover, Maryam expresses unwavering support and solidarity with all victims and survivors of torture, emphasizing the importance of standing together in the fight against this inhumane practice. 


As well, we published six infographic designs that delve into the harsh realities of Al-Khawaja’s imprisonment and put those violations in the context of systematic human rights violations in Bahrain. (Arbitrary detention, Life Sentence, Torture, Medical Negligance, False Cases, Unfair Trails

We published a comic story about a victim of medical negligence in Bahrain: Mohamed Abdullah Ya’qub. 


In addition to all the aforementioned efforts, we also shared an artistic design that beautifully encapsulates the indomitable spirit of Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, further amplifying his message of freedom, resilience, and unwavering dedication to human rights.