UN concerned over Bahrain violations, urges activist release

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Bahrain
Saturday, 06 September 2014


The United Nations has voiced concerns over "ongoing violations" of freedom of expression in Bahrain, calling on the Al Khalifa regime to free a prominent human rights activist.

"Ongoing violations of the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association, and the targeting of human rights activists in Bahrain remain of serious concern," Ravina Shamdasani, the spokeswoman for the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said in a statement on Friday.

Shamdasani also said the world body was "seriously concerned" over the arrest of Bahraini human rights activist Maryam al-Khawaja.

"We urge the government to take immediate steps to release Ms. Khawaja and all human rights defenders and individuals detained for the peaceful exercise of their rights, and to ensure that all human rights defenders in Bahrain are able to carry out their important work in an effective manner without fear of harassment or prosecution," the spokeswoman said.
Khawaja, who is a resident of Denmark, was detained upon her arrival in the Persian Gulf country on August 30.

The activist, who is the daughter of jailed opposition figure Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, flew to the country to visit her father.

The UN spokeswoman said the agency "has been in touch with the authorities to raise our concerns on this case."

She added that Khawaja was initially arrested "apparently because her Bahraini passport had expired."

In 2011, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja was jailed for life on charges of plotting to overthrow the regime.

On June 10, the OHCHR censured the Manama regime for human rights violations in the country. A total of 46 members of the international body expressed deep concern over the Al Khalifa regime’s crackdown on peaceful protesters.

Since mid-February 2011, thousands of pro-democracy protesters have held numerous demonstrations in the streets of Bahrain, calling for the Al Khalifa royal family to relinquish power.

On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates invaded the country to assist the Bahraini government in its crackdown on peaceful protesters.

According to local sources, scores of people have been killed.

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