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Maryam Al-Khawaja: EU Didnít Treat My Father Like Other Prisoners of Conscience Holding his Nationality

2018-08-20 - 9:14 p

Bahrain Mirror: Bahraini activist Maryam Al-Khawaja accused the European Union of practicing discrimination against her father in dealing with prisoners of conscience cases, in particular those who hold European nationalities.

The prominent human rights defender, Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, holds a Danish passport along with his Bahraini one.

Maryam stated that her father fought for the rights of everyone, was the first to establish Migrant Workers Committee, and worked on cases of Bahraini prisoners in Guantanamo.

She added that her father has now spent over 7 years in a Bahrain prison because he practiced his work as a human rights defender and his right to free speech. She indicated that he was severely tortured, disappeared, and sentenced to life.

Maryam stressed that her father is still unable to sit on a regular chair because of the damage to his back due to the torture he endured, amongst other health issues including the major surgery he needed on his jaw which had multiple fractures due to the beating during arrest.

"While Federica Mogherini publicly called for the release of China-EU citizen, my father, after 7 years, has yet to receive the same treatment despite being a prisoner of conscience," she stated.

Maryam indicated that she has only been able to see her father three times, the last time being 4 years ago. "I am no longer able to go back to Bahrain due to my sentence and pending cases," she announced.

"The government of Denmark could do so much more to help get my father out of prison, but it doesn't seem that the political will is there, despite the EU guidelines on the protection of human rights defenders and despite the UN Committee on Arbitrary Detention saying that my father's arrest is arbitrary and calling for his release," Maryam Al-Khawaja said on her Facebook page.

She further stated "If the EU and Denmark aren't willing to go the mile for their own citizen, how can we even expect them to do it for prisoners of conscience who are not citizens?"

Arabic Version