Bahraini Human Rights Activist Maryam Al Khawaja Is Released From Prison While She Awaits Trial

Maryam Al Khawaja with her lawyer Mohammed Al Jishi after her release from prison in Bahrain last night. Source: @Mohamed_Aljishi

Maryam Al Khawaja with her lawyer Mohammed Al Jishi after her release from prison in Bahrain last night. Source: @Mohamed_AlJishi

Following international pressure, Bahrain released human rights activist Maryam Al Khawaja last night. The co-director of the Gulf Center For Human Rights was denied entry to her country and arrested at the airport on August 30, 2014.

According to the organisation, the Bahraini activist, who also holds Danish nationality, was planning to visit her father, prominent human rights activist Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, who is in prison and on his 27th day of a hunger strike. Her father was jailed during the harsh government crackdown that followed pro-democracy protests, which swept Bahrain starting on February 14, 2011. He is sentenced to life imprisonment. This is his second hunger strike. His first lasted for 110 days and ended after he was force-fed by authorities.

Maryam Al Khawaja was arrested at the airport and accused of attacking a policeman. Activists accuse the authorities of framing them for alleged crimes, to intimidate and silence them. Despite her release, the authorities will continue to press charges and Maryam, who has been slapped a travel ban, is expected to appear in court on October 1.

She explains her situation to her 101K followers:

Immediately after her release, Al Khawaja took to Twitter to thank those who worked for her release, promising to continue her work in defending human rights:

Like Maryam and her father, thousands of people have been arrested since anti-regime protests started in Bahrain on February 14, 2011. Al Khawaja drew attention to their plight:

She also reminded her followers of the thousands of other activists across the Arab world jailed for taking a position against oppression in their countries since the start of the so-called Arab Spring:

Egyptian activist and blogger Alaa Abd El Fattah was just released from prison on bail; activists Yara Sallam, Abd El Fattah's sister Sanaa Seif, Mahienour Al Masry are all detained in Egypt; and human rights defender Razan Zeitounah is jailed in Syria.

Activists around the world shared news of Al Khawaja's release.

Jonathan Moremi tweeted what seemed to be a message to the Bahrain government:

Moroccan Samia Errazzouki was happy:

And CNN's Mohammed Jamjoom was apprehensive of what awaits Al Khawaja:


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