Bahrain: Rights activist Maryam Alkhawaja risks arrest


A leading Bahraini human rights activist has returned to Bahrain to see her jailed father.

Maryam al-Khawaja, the daughter of Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, flew into the capital Manama on Friday night.
She risks arrest under the country's strict laws governing criticism of the king on social media sites.
Her father was convicted last year in military court of plotting to overthrow the government and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Ms al-Khawaja, who has a Danish passport, has campaigned tirelessly outside the country on behalf of her father and against the government of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah.
The gulf island kingdom has been wracked by more nearly two years of anti-government protests that have left more than 60 people dead.
International human rights organisations have protested vigorously over Abdulhadi al-Khawaja's conviction and that of 19 others who were sentenced to varying terms up to life imprisonment.
They were convicted of the attempt to forcefully overthrow the government, violations of the constitution and legal code, and ties to foreign terrorist organisations.
But lawyers acting for the convicted men told the BBC that confessions were obtained under torture, a charge that was confirmed in November 2011 by an independent tribunal appointed by the king.
On arrival at the airport, Ms al-Khawaja was given a two-week visa. She left with members of her family.
She has said she wants to visit her father who last year staged a 110-day hunger strike in protest at his detention.
However a Bahraini human rights activist who asked not to be named told the BBC he was fearful that she would find herself serving a lengthy jail term.
"She could be charged over her tweets against the king and serve five years under a new law that was passed in December," he said.
Ms al-Khawaja's sister Zainab, who lives in Bahrain, has been detained repeatedly by authorities in the last year and has another court appearance later in the month for participating in illegal demonstrations.