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"I tried to do my best" Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja
Even though I knew Abdulhadi, our friend and former colleague was tortured, it was truly awful to read about the barbaric treatment he got. The Bahrain Independent Committee (BICI) forensic team included details of his treatment in the report launched yesterday.
Yes we knew he had been beaten so badly that he had to have a 4 hour operation on his face.He had four broken bones.
But what we didn't know, was that in hospital, he had been blindfolded and shackled to the bed for about seven days . When he asked the hospital staff to loosen the cuffs, they refused.The doctor told him that he needed three weeks of care but he was taken to Al Qurain Prison a week later. We didn't know he spent two months in solitary confinement in a small cell measuring approximately 2.5m x 2m.
Eight days after his surgery,the beatings started again. Masked guards cursed him and hit him in his head and hands, causing swelling. . He was also beaten on the soles of his feet (falaka) and on his toes. He was sexually abused and threatened with execution. They also made sexual threats against his wife and daughter.
The BICI report confirms the systematic torture of human rights defenders.And as I read the clinical description of the cruelty , all I could think of was Abdulhadi's gentle manner, his kind eyes and his devotion to his job .
I cannot understand the why the authorities could be so cruel to someone who had undergone surgery and who clearly was completely isolated and under their control. When Abdulhadi left us to participate in the movement for democracy and justice in Bahrain he wrote "Front Line gave me an important opportunity to play a role in protecting HRDs specially in the MENA region, I tried to do my best." Abdulhadi helped protect many HRDS across the region and it is very sad that we were unable to protect him.
PHOTO ABOVE WAS TAKEN DURING MEETING WITH HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS IN BAGHDAD