Posts Tagged ‘Maryam Alkhawaja’

Further on Bahrain where the Judiciary is helping the State to repress Human Rights Defenders

July 8, 2015

Further to my post today on Nabeel Rajab [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2015/07/08/bahrain-freenabeel-campaign-more-urgent-than-ever-in-view-of-resumption-usa-security-assistance/], I draw attention to the recent report by the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (FIDH/OMCT) “Bahrain: Publication of an International Mission Report: Imprisonment, torture and statelessness: The darkening reality of human rights defenders in Bahrain”.

Report OBS Bahrain_English
44 pages / 870 KB

Human rights defenders in Bahrain are operating in a shrinking space, says the Observatory in a report published on 25 June 2015. The report documents the judicial harassment of 11 human rights defenders including lawyers, teachers, doctors or bloggers. All have suffered or been threatened with imprisonment, torture or statelessness as a consequence of their activities in defense of human rights. Read the rest of this entry »

Why Maryam Al-Khawaja boycotted the Bahraini court on 1 December

December 1, 2014

The leading human rights defender Maryam Al-Khawaja explains her reasons for boycotting the court hearing in Bahrain that on Monday 1 December saw her sentenced to one year in prison. This impressive statement was originally posted on the website of the Gulf Center for Human Rights on 30 November 2014. For more posts on Maryam Al-Khawaja see: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/tag/maryam-al-khawaja/

Maryam-e1409582320645

As a human rights defender, I, Maryam Al-Khawaja, Director of Advocacy at the Gulf Center for Human Rights, have decided to boycott my court hearing on the 1 December 2014. During this hearing I am due to be sentenced on trumped up charges of assaulting two policewomen at the Bahrain International Airport. (Update: Al-Khawaja was sentenced to one year imprisonment on 1 December)

The decision to boycott the court was reached based on several grounds:

  • The lack of independence and due process in the Bahrain judiciary system:

It has become evidently clear that it is not possible to have a fair and independent trial in Bahraini courts as they stand. The judicial system in Bahrain is highly flawed, and is overrun with egregious human rights violations which usually start during the arrest, and continue throughout what is supposed to be a legal process. I was personally subjected to numerous human rights violations since the moment of arriving in Bahrain and until I was able to leave the country as can be read in my testimony here.

There are medical reports about the injuries I sustained during the assault I was subjected to, for which I continue to need physiotherapy. My case was sped up, and quickly turned for sentencing with complete disregard to legal procedures.

  • The lack of independency and neutrality of the judge himself:

The presiding judge, Mohammed Ali Alkhalifa, in the case brought against me is a member of the ruling family, and has been himself, as well as members of his family, identified previously during my advocacy campaigns as implicated in human rights violations. This makes his presiding over the case a clear case of conflict of interest given the personal grievances he may have against me. This judge in particular, it is important to note, has been involved in the sentencing of numerous human rights defenders including Nabeel Rajab and Naji Fateel in unfair trials.

  • The cooperation of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) with the Ministry of Interior:

During my imprisonment I met with the SIU, headed by Nawaf Hamza, to submit a complaint against the three policewomen and the first lieutenant who assaulted me at the airport. The prosecutor, Mohammed Al-Hazaa, rewrote my statement in his own words, attempting to implicate me in violations, and refused to correct what he had misquoted. This resulted in my refusal to sign the papers and filing of a complaint against the prosecutor. One day before the sentencing, namely on the 30th of November 2014, and due to almost daily follow up by my lawyer, the public prosecution notified him that the complaint case had been revoked. Despite my complaint about the assault since the beginning of my arrest, it was only one day before the sentencing that my lawyer was finally able to get a statement from the public prosecution that my complaint case had been revoked, at a time when the trumped up assault charges against myself were speedily processed and turned for sentencing.

  • The violation of my rights by the public prosecution:

During the interrogation I was subjected to, I was refused access to my lawyer by the prosecutor dealing with my case. During my imprisonment my lawyer was not given any visits, nor was the Danish embassy. The way that the public prosecution deals with politically motivated cases is it uses all aspects of the government to provide impunity for the perpetrators of violations.

Based on the reasons stated above, I find any and all cooperation with the court or attendance of the hearings by myself as a problematic legitimisation of an unfair and biased court. Therefore I have decided to boycott the hearings, and have asked my lawyer to do the same.

It is important to note here, if I, as a human rights defender, whose case receives international media and diplomatic attention is handled in this way; it is gravely concerning how cases not receiving attention are handled by the authorities in Bahrain.

Maryam Al-Khawaja
Director of Advocacy
Gulf Center for Human Rights
30th November 2014

Maryam Al-Khawaja: Why I am boycotting my date with Bahraini justice – Index on Censorship | Index on Censorship.

Arab human rights court in Bahrain? – a take by the Voice of Russia.

September 6, 2013

бахрейн протест бахрейн столкновения

( Photo: EPA)

The piece below, taken from the Voice of Russia of 6 September 2013, is interesting for a number of reasons:

1. it addresses the almost comical issue of basing the Arab Court of Human Rights in Bahrain

2. it quotes at length the (understandably) sarcastic comments by Brian Dooley of Human Rights First in the Huffington Post

3. it is lovely example of a different but biased geopolitical perspective: Read the rest of this entry »

Bahrain HRD Maryam al-Khawaja banned by British Airways from flight

August 10, 2013

Maryam al-Khawaja

Maryam al-Khawaja  (c) IBT
The International Business Times of 9 August reports that Maryam al-Khawaja, acting president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) has been prevented from boarding a British Airways flight from Copenhagen to Bahrain because of a ban issued by the government Bahrain. Why did the UK airline agreed to the ban without giving any motive for the blocking order or any advance notice?. “I had the flight this morning from Copenhagen and everything was fine. I did the online check-in yesterday,” she told IBTimes UK. “I was blocked at the boarding and told to check with the counter because there was a problem. The lady called the office in London who told her that there was a denied boarding message as a decision from Bahrain government”. Al-Khawaja holds dual Bahraini-Danish citizenship but has not renewed her Bahraini passport .  Her father Abdulhadi and sister Zainab are in jail for their role in pro-democracy protests.