UNITED NATIONS - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged Bahrain to resolve the case of a human rights defender, who is serving a life sentence, as he voiced concern over the ongoing government-opposition clashes in the Persian Gulf State.

Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja was given the sentence by a military court on alleged terrorism-related charges, and he has been on a hunger strike for eleven weeks. “Ban once again urges the Bahraini authorities to resolve Mr. Al-Khawaja’s case based on due process and humanitarian considerations without any further delay,” Ban’s spokesperson said in a statement. Earlier this month, a group of UN experts had called for the immediate release of Al-Khawaja, who was due to receive a final verdict from Bahrain’s Court of Cassation on Tuesday. However, according to media reports, the verdict has been postponed until 30 April. Ban also called on Bahraini authorities to fully respect the fundamental human rights of the Bahraini people, including due process concerning all detainees.

In addition, Ban “remains concerned about the situation in Bahrain, particularly with regard to the continuing clashes between security forces and protesters which have resulted in more casualties,” the statement said.

 “He reiterates his appeal to all sides for utmost restraint and an immediate end to the violence.”

Since February, there have been clashes in Bahrain between security forces and demonstrators, a year after widespread civil protests first emerged in the country. The Secretary-General has consistently called for authorities there to exercise restraint and act in accordance with their international human rights obligations.