Bahraini authorities have denied entry to a member of the European Parliament, AFP report on Tuesday. Based on the opposition’s claims, the MEP wanted to enter the Gulf country to “check on the situation of jailed hunger striker Abdulhadi al-Khawaja and other political prisoners.”
When she arrived on Sunday, Ana Gomes "was denied an upon-arrival visa and was directed to secure a proper visa through official channels," Bahrain's official news agency BNA reported.
Bahraini authorities became suspicious after the Portuguese MEP provided information different from the one she had provided before arrival, said a statement released late Monday.
Al-Wefaq society, the main opposition group in Bahrain, condemned the authorities’ decision saying it was an attempt from the Bahraini government "to hide the real situations of the Bahraini prisoners of conscience from being circulated to the political campaigners worldwide."
Twenty-one opposition activists, including hunger striker Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, are to be retried after a Court of Cassation accepted their appeal. The decision announced on Monday was met by criticisms from rights groups.
The group of men was imprisoned over their involvement in the Gulf kingdom's uprising last year. They face charges which include "forming a terrorist group with intent to overturn the system of government."
"The court is [ordering] that the trial take place again and that testimony from prosecution and defence witnesses be heard once more as if it is a new trial," BNA, the country's official news agency, said.
Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who has been on hunger strike for more than 80 days, was condemned to a life sentence over his participation in last year's uprising. The founder of the Bahrain Centre for Human rights protests his detention and has vowed to continue his hunger strike until he is released.