Bahraini activist Zainab al-Khwajah sentenced to jail

MANAMA – A Bahraini court has sentenced prominent human rights activist Zainab al-Khawaja to one month in jail for participation in a demonstration against the ruling Al Khalifa regime.

She was found guilty of entering the “prohibited area” Pearl Square, the focal point of anti-regime protests in the capital Manama, on Monday. She also was fined 100 dinars (258 US dollars), AFP reported.

Her lawyers disputed the charges, saying there was “no formal decision declaring that Pearl Square is a forbidden area”. 

Zainab al-Khawaja is the daughter of leading Bahraini opposition activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who is serving a life sentence after being accused of plotting against the Manama regime.

She was freed in October after serving a two-month jail term for tearing up a picture of the Bahraini king Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.

In May, she served a one-month prison sentence on charges of assaulting a police officer.

The revolution began in mid-February 2011, when Bahrainis, inspired by the popular revolutions that toppled the dictators of Tunisia and Egypt, started holding massive demonstrations.

The Bahraini government promptly launched a brutal crackdown on the peaceful protests and called in Saudi-led Arab forces from neighboring states. 

Dozens of people have been killed in the crackdown, and the security forces have arrested hundreds, including doctors and nurses accused of treating injured revolutionaries. 

A report published by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry in November 2011 found that the Al Khalifa regime had used excessive force in the crackdown and accused Manama of torturing political activists, politicians and protesters. 

The protesters say they will continue holding anti-regime demonstrations until their demand for the establishment of a democratically elected government is met.


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