Some of you outside of Bahrain have been asking me what happened of Al-Khawaja's third court session that was scheduled to have taken place on Wednesday Nov 3. The session was posptponed to yesterday (I assume because of Shaikh Zayed's death). As I mentioned after the previous court session, Al-Khawaja had announced that he would not attend any more court sessions and he had instructed his lawyers not do so either, because the trial was "unconstitutional". Well yesterday his lawyers did not show up, but Al-Khawaja was made to go to the court by force. One account that I heard said he was still in his sleeping clothes and that he showed marks of force being used on his face. Since the lawyers were not present the judge adjourned the trial until November 21, when he will issue his verdict.
Things are heating up, and it seems like all of his supporters are just waiting for the self-imposed moratorium on demonstrations to end after Eid, so expect firework to go off. Also, I believe there is an unrelated protest that will take place on Friday marking the Worldwide Al-Quds Day, and by the way things are going, I won't be surprised if calls for the release of Al-Khawaja are heard at this also. Expect to see security goons crawling the island this weekend.
Well, here is the GDN's account of yesterday's trial session:
Activist Abdul Hadi Al Khawaja stripped to the waist in protest at being taken back to court yesterday.
Al Khawaja protested that he had been taken by force to court, after earlier insisting that he would boycott his own trial.
The former executive director of the now dissolved Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) denies charges including inciting hatred against the government and spreading false propaganda designed to destabilise security.
He is also charged with defamation and spreading false information that could damage public interest.
Al Khawaja was arrested after giving a speech at a BCHR seminar on poverty, at the Al Oruba Club, Juffair, in September.
A judge at the Lower Criminal Court yesterday further adjourned the case until November 21, when he said a verdict would be given.
Al Khawaja was brought in the court with his hands cuffed behind his back. He refused to sit properly and lay down on the bench in the court.
Police took off the handcuffs as the judge was about to enter.
"Oh butcher, come out of the room, your offering has arrived," Al Khawaja shouted, while the judge was still in his chamber at the back of the court.
Al Khawaja then stripped off his shirt, telling police he wanted to appear half naked before the judge.
"You are an intellectual, so why are you acting like this ?" the judge asked him. "I did not want to come to the court and the police brought me here by force," Al Khawaja replied. "The police treated me like an animal so I am behaving like an animal."
He asked why he had been brought to court against his will. The judge replied that he ordered police to bring him, because his case was being heard.
"Since I did not want to come you should have carried on with the court hearing in my absence," said Mr Al Khawaja.
"Why don't you calm down," said the judge.
"No, I cannot calm down, the only way I can calm down is if you order the police to take me back to the prison and you carry on with the court hearing," said Al Khawaja.
"You can sentence me to five years in jail, then I'll calm down, I'll accept this thing.
"But I do not accept to be dragged here like an animal against my wishes.
"I don't think I will get a fair trial in this court."
He showed the judge the marks left on his wrists by the handcuffs as he struggled with police earlier as they tried to make him sit properly on the bench. Al Khawaja again claimed that he was being prosecuted under the state security laws of 1976, which he said were unconstitutional.
"I refuse to be tried in court on the basis of articles of the state security act," he said.
Al Khawaja's lawyer Fatima Al Hawaj was there, but he instructed her not to speak for him.
The public prosecutor submitted to the court a video of Al Khawaja's speech at the poverty seminar.