Prominent Bahraini activist leaves for Denmark, citing persecution


Bahraini human rights activist Zainab al-Khawaja (photo by AP)
Bahraini human rights activist Zainab al-Khawaja (photo by AP)
Bahraini human rights activist Zainab al-Khawaja, who was released recently from prison, has departed the Persian Gulf country for Denmark, citing fears of an “indefinite” jail term.
Khawaja said in a series of messages posted on Twitter that she left Bahrain with two children to Denmark, where she has citizenship.
Bahraini regime forces raided her apartment in the capital, Manama, on March 14, taking her and her son Abdulhadi into custody.
She was held in detention along with her baby son, and was denied requests to pass her child to her husband. She faced three years in prison on a number of charges, including tearing up pictures of Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.
In late May, however, she was released based on “humanitarian” grounds.
In her Twitter messages, Zainab said the Al Khalifah regime was preparing to file new charges against her, which would have made her detention “indefinite.”
“The regime that thinks exile means moving us away from our land should know, we carry Bahrain in our hearts wherever we go,” she wrote.
She is the daughter of leading human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who is serving a life sentence in connection to his influential role in the 2011 protests against the Al Khalifa regime.
Since February 14, 2011, thousands of anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations on an almost daily basis in Bahrain, calling for the Al Khalifah family to relinquish power.
In March that year, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to the country to assist the Bahraini government in its crackdown on peaceful protests.
Scores of people have been killed and hundreds of others injured or arrested in the ongoing heavy-handed crackdown on the anti-regime activists.
Amnesty International and many other rights groups have repeatedly censured the Bahraini regime for the “rampant” human rights abuses against opposition activists and protesters.