THE LEVANT – Leading Maryam Al-Khawaja, a Bahraini citizen and the Co-Director of the Gulf Center For Human Rights, was denied entry to her country today [August 30, 2014].
According to the organisation, she was planning to visit her father, prominent human rights activist Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, who is in prison and on his sixth day of a hunger strike. Her father was jailed during the harsh government crackdown which followed pro-democracy protests which swept Bahrain, starting on February 14, 2011. He is sentenced to life imprisonment. This is his second hunger strike. His first lasted for 110 days and ended after he was force-fed by authorities.
After the authorities detained Maryam Al-Khawaja on unknown charges and confiscated her Danish passport (she holds both Danish and Bahraini citizenships), she announced on Twitter that she would go on hunger strike:
Maryam sent this message to the Bahrain Center for Human Rights:
“If this letter has gone public then it means that the Bahraini authorities have not let me into the country. Due to this, I have decided to launch a water-only hunger strike and to refuse to leave the Bahraini airport. I will continue the hunger strike until I am allowed in to Bahrain to see my father.
I want to make it clear that I refuse any and all food or treatment during my hunger strike.
The BCHR has called on the Bahraini authorities to immediately allow Maryam al-Khawaja to access to her family and lawyer and allow her in her country Bahrain.
Following Al Khawaja’s insistence to be given an explanation as to why she has been prevented from entering Bahrain, her country of birth, the authorities have stated that Maryam Al-Khawaja will appear before a judge on August 31st, 2014, making no notice of the charges against her.