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Bahrain hunger striker al-Khawaja wins retrial

Jailed Bahraini activist and hunger striker Abdulhaldi al-Khawaja is to have his case retried, an appeals court ruled Monday.

Bahrain grand prix protest april 2012Enlarge
Bahraini Shiite Muslims holding up banners in an April 17 demonstration calling for cancellation of the upcoming Bahrain F1 Grand Prix. (-/AFP/Getty Images)

Jailed Bahraini activist and hunger striker Abdulhaldi al-Khawaja is to have his case retried, an appeals court has ruled.

“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 official news agency reported, according to Al Jazeera.

Twenty other activists will also face retrials in a civil court. BNA did not say whether the men would be released. However, a lawyer told Al Jazeera that their retrial was expected within the next couple of weeks.

According to the BBC, a crowd of opposition supporters chanted outside the courthouse after Monday’s verdict was announced.

More from GlobalPost: Bahrain activist on hunger strike, is hospitalized

Al-Khawaja, Bahrain’s most prominent human rights activist, is one of more than a dozen men jailed on charges of leading an uprising against minority Sunni rule in the island nation last year.

He received a life sentence in prison from a military court, and has refused food since February 8. He was moved from prison to a military hospital for treatment three weeks ago.

Earlier this month, the Bahraini authorities rejected a request by Denmark to take custody of al-Khawaja, who also holds Danish citizenship, according to the Associated Press.  

More from GlobalPost: Bahrain police fire tear gas on jailed activists on hunger strike

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/120430/bahrain-hunger-striker-abdulhaldi-al-khawaja-wins-retrial