A HUNGER striker who is risking his own life to save his father, a political prisoner, is being backed by the SNP’s Ian Blackford.

Ali Mushaima is now 27 days into his protest outside the Bahrain Embassy in London to draw attention to the plight of his 70-year-old father, Hassan, who is a political prisoner of the regime in Bahrain and is being denied medical treatment and family visits, human rights campaigners say.

The 35-years-old’s cousin was the first protester to be killed during the Arab Spring of 2011 and he believes his father, arrested during the crackdown, is also facing death unless he is given the treatment he requires.

Now Blackford is calling on Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt to step in and demand Hassan’s release.

The SNP’s Westminster leader said it was “imperative” that Hassan was given adequate access to the medical care he “urgently” needs.

“Hassan Mushaima suffers from a series of chronic medical conditions, and requires over 15 different types of medication to help with his conditions but has faced restricted access to his medicine,” he said.

“I understand that recently the authorities allowed Mushaima to receive his medication following initial international pressure around his case but he is still being preventing from gaining access to an endocrinologist for his diabetes treatment and cancer screenings. This is not acceptable and it is not humane.

“The Bahraini government’s illegal restrictions on healthcare violate international detention standards. The treatment he is suffering has been deemed both arbitrary and punitive by international organisations.”

Speaking to The National yesterday from outside the Bahrain Embassy, Ali said he had lost more than 12kg and was worried about the effects of his hunger strike on his wife and baby daughter but added that he felt this was the only option left to him.

“I want to save my dad’s life,” he said. “If you deny medical treatment to someone who is 70 you are killing him slowly and not being allowed to see his family is a type of torture. It is a basic right for every prisoner to be treated medically and receive family visits. This is not easy – especially now that the weather has changed – but I don’t have any choice.”

He said the UK Government had raised his case but could do more by restricting its aid to the regime.

Over the last six years, Whitehall and Downing Street have provided £5 million worth of assistance to Bahrain in support of its “reform programme”.

In theory this was established to build effective institutions, strengthen the rule of law, and ensure police and justice reform. In reality, according to Amnesty International, it has provided “a fig leaf of legitimacy to a system that continues to punish opponents and quash dissent”.

The UK has also provided military and police training to the Bahraini regime and since the 2011 uprising has licensed over £80m of arms sales to Bahrain.

Hassan Mushaima’s case has been backed by the Campaign Against Arms Trade. “The way that Ali’s father has been treated is appalling,” said campaigner Andrew Smith. “The Bahraini regime has a terrible human rights record. Yet it has been able to rely on the uncritical political and military support of Westminster. It’s time for Theresa May, Jeremy Hunt and their colleagues to end the arms sales and support Ali’s demands.”

A Foreign Office spokesperson said: “The Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the British Embassy in Bahrain have closely followed the case of Hassan Mushaima and have raised his case with the government of Bahrain at a senior level.”