In 2011, Al-Khawaja participated in the protests that marked the arrival of the Arab Spring in Bahrain. Shortly after, he was brutally detained and sentenced to life in prison by a military court. In prison, he has suffered severe torture and mistreatment. He has carried out various hunger strikes, in protest for his situation and the abusive conditions of the Jaw prison.
The attempt to silence Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja reflects a systematic pattern of repression against any dissenting expression or protest. As Human Rights Watch denounces, any independent media operation in the country has been banned by the authorities, they have also dissolved all opposition groups and detention and conviction of activists and journalists continues.
The recent death of the Prime Minister, Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, who has ruled with an iron fist for the last five decades, generates few expectations of change.