Bahrain hunger strikers raise concerns

Bahraini demonstrators in the village of Jidhafs hold posters of jailed activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja during a protest calling for his release on April 6, 2012.

A Bahraini rights group has expressed grave concern over the life of two prominent rights activists as they continue their week-long hunger strike.

Bahraini Center for Human Rights (BCHR) says Zainab al-Khawaja and her father Abdulhadi al-Khawaja are now on a dry hunger strike to demand visitation rights to their families.

The two are also protesting a new rule that requires political prisoners to wear a uniform designed for criminal convicts. Activists say Zainab is now in danger of organ failure and cardiac arrest.

Zainab and Abdulhadi are now serving prison terms for what Manama calls starting anti-regime protests.

Zainab was arrested by the Saudi-backed forces in a demonstration held in capital Manama on February 27.

Her father has been in prison since 2011. The rights activist, the co-founder and former president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, is among eight Bahraini opposition figures sentenced to life imprisonment for their role in the ongoing revolution.

The Bahraini uprising began in mid-February 2011, when the people, inspired by the popular revolutions that toppled the dictators of Tunisia and Egypt, started holding massive demonstrations.

The Manama regime launched a brutal crackdown on the peaceful protests and called in Saudi-led Arab forces from neighboring states.

Dozens of people have been killed in the crackdown, and the security forces have arrested hundreds, including doctors and nurses accused of treating injured revolutionaries.

Bahrainis say they will continue holding demonstrations until their demand for the establishment of a democratically elected government is met.