|code: 334191||Date: 2012/08/04 - 09:42||source: bchr|
Bahrain: Arrest and Ill-treatment of Human Rights Defender Zainab Al-Khawaja
After the arrest last night, Zainab was verbally assaulted by a police officer, who right before making sectarian and gender related insults, was very kind due to a camera being present. Al-Khawaja left the room in protest, demanded to know his name and refused to cooperate until given so she can file a complaint.
The head of the police station asked Zainab if she would go voluntarily or he will “do what’s necessary”. Al-Khawaja asked if he was threatening her. Female police asked the head of the police station what they should do in case she refuses to give a blood sample, he reportedly responded “stick the needle in her neck”.
Alkhawaja was then handcuffed, dragged on the ground and down the stairs, after which she was placed inside a police vehicle. She was then moved to the Fort Prison Hospital where a blood sample was taken, and then moved to Isa Town Detention Center. Until arriving at the final destination Zainab was kept in handcuffs despite her serious leg injury.
When Zainab called her family today she reportedly sounded exhausted and severe of pain.
This is one of many times in which Zainab Al-Khawaja has been arrested for merely practicing her right to protest, refer to
The BCHR and GCHR call on the Government of Bahrain to:
1. Immediately release Zainab Al-Khawaja and drop all charges against her, as it is believed that these measures have been taken against her solely due to her legitimate and peaceful work in the defense of human rights, and the exercise of freedom to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression in accordance to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
2. Immediately and unconditionally release all prisoners of conscience and activists including leading human rights defender Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja and GCHR/BCHR Director Nabeel Rajab.
3. Drop all charges against human rights defenders held on 'politically motivated' charges.
4. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Bahrain are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals, and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.