Nearly 160 organizations call for release of Bahraini activist Maryam al-Khawaja

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Al-Akhbar Management

Published Thursday, September 18, 2014

Nearly 160 civil society groups from more than 60 countries have urged Bahrain's King Hamad to order the unconditional release of human rights activist Maryam al-Khawaja, Reporters Without Borders announced Thursday.

Khawaja, a director of the Beirut-based Gulf Center for Human Rights, also has Danish nationality and is a daughter of jailed opposition activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja.

She was arrested after arriving at Manama airport on August 30 and will stand trial from October 1 for allegedly assaulting a police officer, a charge denied by fellow activists.

"We, the undersigned 155 civil society organizations based in over 60 countries write to you united in our condemnation of the politically motivated arrest of human rights defender and co-director of the Gulf Center for Human Rights, Maryam al-Khawaja," said the letter sent to the king, which was also received by AFP.

"We urge that Maryam is immediately and unconditionally released," it added.

Khawaja "is being persecuted for exercising her legitimate rights to freedom of expression and association in the defense of fundamental freedoms including her cooperation with international institutions and her important role in documenting human rights violations in Bahrain," it said.

"We stand in solidarity with Maryam and all other human rights defenders wrongly imprisoned by your government for their work and beliefs," it added.

Tiny but strategic Bahrain, home base of the US Fifth Fleet, remains deeply divided three years after the protests erupted in February 2011.

Bahraini security forces crushed the protests in mid-March 2011, arresting hundreds, but smaller demonstrations frequently take place in villages, triggering clashes with police.

Abdulhadi al-Khawaja was jailed for life following the 2011 protests.

His daughter has been active abroad in criticizing the Bahraini authorities since the crackdown.

She has been a familiar figure in Washington, regularly meeting members of Congress and administration officials.

In 2011, she testified as a witness at a congressional hearing on Bahrain.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)


women deserve respect!!!!

stop this middle age of manking always using God just to let such little men feel god

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