Bahrain urged to release human rights defender

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Credit: OHCHR

The government of Bahrain has been urged to release a prominent human rights defender who has been detained on charges of assaulting a police officer.

The appeal has come from a group of United Nations independent human rights experts.

Maryam Al-Khawaja, who has been in detention since 30 August, is the co-director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights.

She is also the daughter of the former president and co-founder of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, Abdulhadi Abdulla Hubail al-Khawaja, who has been in detention since 2011.

Spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani says the UN human rights office is concerned about the ongoing violations of human rights and the targeting of human rights activists in Bahrain.

"The UN Working Group of Arbitrary Detention has found that the detention of Mr. al-Khawaja and other political prisoners is arbitrary and has called for their immediate release. Ms al-Khawaja herself who resides in Denmark had travelled to Bahrain to visit her father in prison, his health apparently not doing very well, when she was detained at Bahrain airport upon landing, apparently because her Bahraini passport had expired. She was however travelling on her Danish passport."

Ravina Shamdasani said Ms al-Khawaja's Danish passport was confiscated and she was taken to a women's prison.

Stephanie Coutrix, United Nations

Duration: 1’18″

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