Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja is a Bahraini human rights defender who was arrested in April 2011, beaten and tortured during the crackdown against those calling for reform. He was sentenced to life imprisonment after a grossly unfair trial.  Abdulhadi was founder and director of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights before taking position of Middle East and North Africa Protection Coordinator for Front Line Defenders.

READ MORE about
ABDULHADI AL-KHAWAJA:


What else would you expect from them?

Because of the beating that night when they came for me, my face is now held together by metal plates and screws.  I’ve been tortured and threatened with rape by the prison guards.
 
In court I wasn’t even allowed to defend myself or to present evidence of the abuse.
   
They’ve tried to silence me but I refuse to be gagged, to let them take away my voice.
 
I’ve had to pay a price – I’m now serving a life sentence.  My family too has paid a price.
    
My dear and beloved family, from behind prison bars, I send to you my love and yearning.  From a free man, to a free family.  These prison walls don’t separate me from you, they bring us closer together.  Our connection and determination is stronger than ever.
   
Zainab and Mariam, my beloved daughters, when I see the courage with which you continue to stand up to this brutal regime I realize my struggle has not been in vain…and our struggle will prevail.
 
It’s true I am in here and you are out there.
 
Our pain is made more bearable when we remember that we chose this difficult path and took an oath to remain true.