Bahrain hunger-striker al-Khawaja moved to hospital

Abdulhadi al-Khawaja in hospital (3 April 2012) Abdulhadi al-Khawaja's lawyer released this picture of his client in hospital on 3 April

A leading human rights activist in Bahrain has been moved to a hospital clinic and is being fed intravenously after 58 days on hunger strike.

Abdulhadi al-Khawaja is protesting against a life sentence for his role in anti-government protests last year.

Mr Khawaja was convicted by a special security court of trying to overthrow Bahrain's royal family.

Human rights organisations have called for him to be freed. His lawyer says his condition is worsening.

Mohammed al-Jishi told Reuters that Mr Khawaja was moved to the clinic after losing 10 kg (22lb).

"His condition has worsened... his blood pressure is down, and he is getting an IV (intravenous) drip," he said.

His daughter Zainab has also been detained during a protest for her father on Thursday.

Meanwhile security forces fired teargas and water cannon at thousands of protesters who rallied in support of Mr Khawaja on Friday. Many were carrying posters of him as they called for his release.

Other protests have also been held in recent weeks against the Grand Prix which is due to be held in the country later this month.

'Forced confession'

Mr Khawaja was arrested last April following the uprising centred on the Pearl Roundabout in the capital Manama.

The gulf island kingdom was wracked by unrest after activists who had peacefully occupied the roundabout were forcibly driven out in confrontations with police and security forces.

The human rights group Amnesty International says Mr Khawaja's conviction in June was based on a confession made under duress, and no evidence was presented showing he had used or advocated violence during the mass protests.

According to testimony Mr Khawaja gave to the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry - a panel of human rights experts asked to look into the unrest by King Hamad following the international outcry over his handling of the protests - Mr Khawaja suffered prolonged torture while in detention.

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