World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Bahrain: Outspoken activist fears re-arrest

A Bahraini activist recently released from prison has told Amnesty International she fears she may be rearrested when she attends court this week to face further spurious charges.

Zainab Al Khawaja was released on 16 February but is due to appear in court again on 19 February in two separate cases.

“The Bahraini authorities must not place Zainab Al Khawaja behind bars yet again. Her release this week was long overdue,” said Said Boumedoua, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

“She has long been a thorn in the side of the Bahraini government, who have repeatedly found excuses to ensure she remains locked up in order to silence her.”

In the first case, Zainab Al Khawaja is accused of destroying government property after she ripped up a picture of the Bahraini King while she was detained in a women’s detention centre in ‘Issa Town on 4 and 6 May 2012. In the second, she is accused of insulting a police officer after she defended a prisoner that she claims was humiliated in front of her in June 2013.

“The authorities must take urgent steps to clear Zainab Al Khawaja’s name once and for all. Her convictions must be overturned and all outstanding charges dropped as a matter of urgency,” said Said Boumedouha.

Zainab Al Khawaja spent nearly a year in jail serving several short sentences for an array of different charges before being released on 16 February. These included destroying government property, insulting a policewoman, illegal gathering and rioting, and inciting hatred against the regime, among others.

She told Amnesty International that during her incarceration additional restrictions were placed on her when she went on hunger strike in March 2013. The prison authorities responded by denying her family visits or phone calls to her lawyer. The restrictions ended when she finished the strike.

Amnesty International had designated her a prisoner of conscience held solely for peacefully exercising her rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly and repeatedly called for her unconditional release.

Zainab Al Khawaja and her family are among many activists who have been targeted by the Bahraini authorities’ crackdown on freedom of expression and assembly in an effort to stamp out all dissent since the 2011 uprising.

“Activists must be allowed to freely express their opinions without fear of intimidation, harassment or arrest. All Bahraini prisoners of conscience must be released immediately and unconditionally and the right to freedom of expression and assembly respected,” said Said Boumedouha.

On 14 February, thousands of protesters took to the streets to mark the third anniversary of mass anti-government demonstrations in Manama. At least 26 were reportedly arrested and several were wounded as clashes broke out. A Bahraini policeman was also killed in a bomb explosion in the northern village of Dair on the same day.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UNHCR: More Than 300 Die In Boat Tragedies On Mediterranean

The past few days have been the deadliest this year for people making irregular crossings on the Mediterranean from North Africa to Europe More>>

UN: Egyptian Crossing Used To Bring Food Aid To Gaza
United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) successfully crossed from Egypt into the Gaza Strip today, carrying enough food to feed around 150,000 people for five days More>>

ALSO:

Extended Cease Fire: Gaza Celebrates!!!!

Images and video from Gaza.Scoop - Julie Webb Pullman in Gaza. Gazans took to the streets tonight to celebrate their victory in achieving the end of hostilities and the lifting of the illegal seven-year siege. Whatever tomorrow may bring, tonight was a time to rejoice! More>>

ALSO:


Iraq: Killing Of Dozens Of Sunni Worshippers In Eastern Iraq

22 August 2014 – Condemning in the strongest terms the reported attack on a mosque in eastern Iraq, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on all Iraqi authorities to ensure that the attack is properly investigated and its perpetrators held to account. More>>

ALSO:

  • UN Watch - UN Urgent Session on Iraq, Demands "Concrete Outcomes"
  • UNICEF: Honours Life, Tireless Work Of Richard Attenborough

    Film producer and director Sir Richard Attenborough was introduced as the new Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) on 28 October 1987. UN Photo/Milton Grant More>>

    UN: Flight Restrictions Hamper Ability To Battle Ebola

    UNICEF and partners visit a crowded market in Conakry, Guinea, to explain to vendors how they can protect themselves and their families from Ebola. Photo: UNICEF Guinea More>>

    Get More From Scoop

     
     
     
     
     
    World
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news