MANAMA, Bahrain - More than 100 jailed Bahraini activists - including doctors who treated injured protesters during months of antigovernment protests and crackdowns in the Persian Gulf kingdom - are on a hunger strike, an international panel said yesterday.
The Bahrain Commission of Inquiry said in a statement that 84 opposition supporters continue to refuse to eat. Seventeen others have been hospitalized from the protest.
Hundreds of activists have been imprisoned since February, when Shi’ite-led demonstrations for greater rights began in Sunni-ruled Bahrain, where the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet is based. More than 30 people have been killed.
The five-member panel had been set up in June to investigate the unrest. Its statement yesterday said an international expert on hunger strikes will join the panel to visit the striking detainees and evaluate their condition.
“Medical advice will be provided, and the expert will discuss the challenges of hunger strike,’’ the statement said about the strike started nine days ago.
Among the jailed activists on hunger strike are doctors who are on trial in a special security court on charges of participating in efforts to overthrow Bahrain’s 200-year-old monarchy.
Eleven of the health professionals were back before the special tribunal yesterday. After the hearing, the defendants were released from custody, although they remain charged with antistate crimes.