Bahraini Shiite demonstrators hold posters of jailed activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja during a protest
Bahraini Shiite demonstrators hold posters of jailed activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja during a protest calling for his release in the village of Jidhafs on April 6. A nearly three-month long hunger strike has turned Khawaja, awaiting a final court ruling on Monday along with 14 other jailed activists, into a symbol of Bahrain's uprising that began last year. © - AFP/File
Bahraini Shiite demonstrators hold posters of jailed activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja during a protest
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AFP
Last updated: April 29, 2012

Bahrain hunger striker emerges as uprising idol

Bahrain's military hospital said on Sunday that hunger striker Abdulhadi al-Khawaja has not been "force-fed" as claimed by members of his family.

"In response to claims made by Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja's family members today, we want to be clear that the patient has not been force-fed or treated against his will," a spokesperson for the Bahrain Defence Forces Hospital said.

Khawaja has been taking "limited nutrition supplements voluntarily, but when his blood sugar dropped significantly today, his doctors asked for and received his consent to insert a naso-gastric tube for nutrition."

"At no time was he drugged or restrained," the spokesperson said in a statement, reacting to allegations that Khawaja was being forcibly fed.

Khawaja has been on hunger strike since February 8 and is awaiting a final court ruling on Monday along with other jailed activists who were convicted in June last year of plotting to overthrow the Gulf kingdom's rulers.

Khawaja, arrested last April shortly after the Sunni regime crushed a month-long Shiite-led uprising, will continue his hunger strike -- the fourth since his arrest -- until he is "released or dead," sources close to him say.

Bahraini authorities have repeatedly said that Khawaja is in good health.

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