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The Journal Gazette

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 3:32 pm

Denmark PM to Bahrain: release jailed activist

The Associated Press

Denmark's prime minister has urged Bahrain to release a jailed activist with dual citizenship, saying he's in "very critical" condition after a two-month hunger strike.

Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt's assessment of Abdulhadi al-Khawaja's health contrasted with Bahrain's statement that he showed no signs of critical medical problems.

Thorning-Schmidt told reporters Tuesday that Denmark is using its international contacts to press for his release.

"What we're hearing now is that al-Khawaja's condition is very critical. And we continue our efforts at all levels," she said.

Al-Khawaja and other opposition leaders were sentenced to life in prison on anti-state crimes last year as Bahrain imposed martial law to quell political unrest.

Denmark's Foreign Ministry said the Danish ambassador to Bahrain visited al-Khawaja at a military hospital in Manama on Tuesday.

"They talked for about 20 minutes," said Ole Egberg Mikkelsen, a Danish Foreign Ministry official, adding the embassy was awaiting approval for another visit Wednesday.