Bahraini female democracy activist Maryam arrested at her arrival

Bahraini female democracy activist Maryam arrested at her arrival
Mon Sep 1, 2014 17:51:15

Prominent Bahraini human rights defender Maryam Al-Khawaja has been detained after her arrival at the Persian Gulf Kingdom's airport.

She was travelling to the Bahrain to visit her jailed father, pro-democracy activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who is on hunger strike in protest against his alleged unlawful detention for his role in protest against the al-Khalifa regime.

Maryam Al-Khawaja holds dual Bahraini and Danish citizenship, and is co-director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) which has offices in Copenhagen and Beirut. Her mother said that she was refused entry in the country after presenting her Danish passport and a Bahraini identification card.

Khawaja's lawyer said that the activist was "stripped of her nationality" and prosecutors plan to present charges against her. Fellow activists who are in charge of her popular Twitter account tweeted:

Following her interrogation, Maryam was transferred to Isa Town Women's prison where she will be detained for seven days pending investigation.

Before losing connection with her family, she told the Bahrain Centre of Human Rights, of which she is co-director that she plans to launch a "hunger strike until I am allowed in Bahrain to see my father".

Another Bahraini activist, Nabeel Rajab, who was recently freed after spending two years in prison for taking part in "illegal gatherings" in the Persian Gulf country, told IBTimes UK that Maryam was likely charged after resisting forceful arrest by the police.

"Assaulting police is a common charge in Bahrain when they have nothing against you," he said. "They wanted to take her by force and she refused".

"We're worried about her because of the deterioration of human rights in Bahrain. Her father's conditions are really bad after he started the hunger strike amid the silence of the international community," he said. "Everybody is normalising relations with Bahrain at a time when they keep arresting human rights defenders."

Khawaja was previously prevented from boarding to a British flight to Bahrain because of a ban issued by the government of the Persian Gulf kingdom.


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