Bahraini activist on day 15 of hunger strike outside London Embassy

By agency reporter
August 15, 2018

Bahraini activist Ali Mushaima is on the 15th day  of a hunger strike outside the Bahrain embassy in Knightsbridge, London in protest at the treatment of his father in Jau Prison, Bahrain. Since he began his hunger strike on 1 August 2018, Ali has lost eight kilos.

At 1.50 am on 12 August, an unidentified liquid was thrown by an unknown member of the Bahrain embassy from the Ambassador’s balcony onto Ali, who was sleeping on the pavement below. Awoken by the incident, Ali immediately feared that it was an acid attack.

The Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) has written to the UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt to urge him to meet with the Bahraini Ambassador to the UK following the incident.

Ali's father, Hassan Mushaima, was arbitrarily arrested and tortured before being unlawfully convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment by a Military court as part of the crackdown in Bahrain. 

Recently he has been deprived of vital medical care, family visitation and access to books. His treatment has been condemned by Amnesty International. He suffers from erratic blood pressure, diabetes, gout, and a urinary tract infection, as well as being a former lymphoma cancer patient.

Despite the repression in Bahrain, the UK government has continued to arm and support the regime. Since the uprising began in February 2011, the UK has licensed over £80 million worth of arms to the regime.  

Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, Director of BIRD, said: “If there was any justice in Bahrain, Ali would never have had to go on hunger strike. The UK government must listen to him and take his complaints seriously. The Bahraini regime should not be able to get away with the abuses of its citizens, either back home or on British soil.”

Ali Mushaima said: “My father must be freed. But for now all I want is for him to be treated with humanity. Instead, the Bahraini have authorities resorted to assaulting and intimidating me while I protested peacefully. If they are willing to do this on the streets of London – in front of eye witnesses – imagine what they are capable of doing behind locked doors in Bahraini prisons.”

Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade said: "The way that Ali's father has been treated is appalling. If Jeremy Hunt and his colleagues want to help the people of Bahrain then they must stop the arms sales and end their support for the dictatorship."

Through its technical assistance programme, the UK government has been funding various institutions in Bahrain that are  complicit in the denial of adequate medical treatment. The National Institute for Human Rights (NIHR) in Bahrain in particular has issued a statement in support of the actions committed by the Bahraini government, thereby dismissing the violations raised by Hassan’s family. The NIHR has failed to visit and interview Hassan to hear his account.

Last week, the co-leaders of the Green Party, Caroline Lucas MP and Jonathan Bartley, wrote to the UK government Middle East and North africa Minister Alistair Burt to demand intervention, but they are yet to receive a response.

* Campaign Against Arms Trade https://www.caat.org.uk

[Ekk/6]

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