A handful of protesters gathered on Friday afternoon outside Bahrain's Interior ministry in Manama to demand the release of Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, rights activist who has been on hunger strike for 79 days.
Protesters, mostly women were seen holding pictures of the prominent activist. According to several Bahraini activists 3 female protesters were arrested by the police outside the interior ministry and taken to the police station.
Ahead of the protest police forces had surrounded the area, activists say.
The Gulf Daily News, a pro-regime daily, published a report on Friday saying that the hunger striker was in "high spirits." The report suggested the prominent dissident had been force-fed. It said al-Khawaja "has been drinking a nutritional supplement for the past two days and has been receiving fluids intravenously throughout his protest," before continuing saying that he has been taking the nutritional drink Ensure - Ensure drinks is a range of drinks formulated to help individuals gain weight- and that he has never stopped "receiving intravenous fluids."
Concern about Khawaja's conditions has been growing this week. Al-Khawaja's wife expressed serious concerns on Thursday after she was denied the right to call or visit the prominent Shi'ite dissident.
The day before the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) also expressed "deep concern" regarding the disappearance of the prominent activist following a report from the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) saying that Khawaja’s family was told his room was empty after they asked to talk to him.
Khawaja’s family told the BYSHR that their “last telephone conversation with him was Monday (April 23) and he was not able to talk because of tiredness and fatigue. Since Tuesday the Ministry of Interior and the Military hospital both have reportedly refused to give his wife any information regarding Al-Khawaja's health. His lawyer has also reportedly been denied visits.
Photo courtesy of @IHussainBH @SM_ALAWI