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Bahraini Authorities Release HR Activist Zainab Al-Khawaja, Reports

2016-05-31 - 8:48 p

Bahrain Mirror: Bahraini authorities have released human rights campaigner Zainab Al-Khawaja, who has been in prison with her infant son since March, her family told Middle East Eye.

32-year-old Al-Khawaja was serving a three year and one month prison sentence for multiple convictions that include twice tearing up a photo of Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa.

The family said that they were called by authorities after seeing reports on the official Bahrain News Agency that Khawaja had been released, added MEE.

Al-Khawaja was held along with her 17-month-old son Abdulhadi. Authorities had previously refused Khawaja's request to release her son to his father while she was unwell with the flu earlier this month.

 

 

The human rights activist languished in jail until Tuesday despite Bahrain's Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmad Al Khalifa  April 7 pledge she would be released. He was speaking during a news conference with US Secretary of State John Kerry.

More than a month later, on May 9, the foreign ministry said Khawaja would be released on humanitarian grounds because of her children.

Khawaja comes from a family of activists, and her father Abdulhadi al-Khawaja is serving a life sentence for his alleged role in the 2011 uprising that initially called for democratic reform, and later demanded the fall of the monarchy.

 

 

Bahraini authorities claim to have embarked on a reform process over the past five years - aided by close ally Britain - which has seen an overhaul of the security and justice sectors.

However, activists have argued that the situation has worsened, and increasing numbers of Bahrainis are being imprisoned and allegedly tortured.

 


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