Zaynab Al-Khawaja remembered in a series of Tweets the night her father, prisoner of conscience Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, was arrested 11 years ago.
“On this night, 11 years ago, they took my father, a human rights activist. We had just celebrated his 50th birthday. Now, he is 61, and they are still not done torturing him.. and that’s how much a strong and brave activist scares a cowardly dictator,” Zaynab said.
She recounted some of his arrest details “On this night, 11 years ago, my father called us all in the living room, we knew they were coming, we had all changed and we listened to him speaking calmly. He wanted us to be strong, and patient.”
“I saw my father put a shirt on top of the one he was wearing. I realized an extra layer of clothes was the only protection he had against the torturers coming to get him.”
Zaynab stressed that her father told them “We don’t need them to cause more harm than they already will, no matter what they do, do not intervene. Ok? zainab?” He turned to his sons in law “If they take you, if they want you to say lies about me or disrespect me, do so, protect yourself, don’t hesitate at all.”
“I try to forget the rest of that night, but.. not only is my father still, 11 years later, in a prison cell, but he is physically suffering til this day from the torture and beatings he endured.”
“In a recent call, my father told me because of his broken jaw it is too painful to sleep on his left side, because of the pain in his shoulder he can’t sleep on the right, and recently his back pain is so bad that he can’t sleep lying on his back for too long either,” she stated.
“My father was beaten on his head so much and for so long, his eyesight has deteriorated and he can barely see from his right eye. The last time they let him see a doctor he was told his symptoms could lead to blindness.”