|code: 311009||Date: 2012/04/25 - 16:12||source: Reuters|
Bahrain to hold hunger striker’s daughter al-Khawaja for week
(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - Zainab al-Khawaja was arrested Saturday after she sat on the highway running past Bahrain’s financial district during days of Shiite protests held to embarrass the kingdom’s rulers at a time when the race drew international media attention.
Activists are pressing for democratic reforms in a country dominated by the ruling Al-Khalifa family, a discrimination dynasty that rules over a majority Shiite Bahraini population.
“They decided yesterday to hold her for seven days for holding up traffic and insulting a public official. She refused to talk in the investigations or to sign papers,” said lawyerMohammad al-Jishi.
Khawaja, a vocal critic who often leads protest marches, was held for several days in February and December, when a YouTube video at the time showed women officers dragging her away by force; but charges were never pressed.
“This time they are being tougher with her,” Jishi said, adding she denied insulting the women officers.
International rights groups have called for the release of her father Abdulhadi al-Khawaja and 13 other protest leaders in jail for their role in the pro-democracy uprising that erupted in February 2011.
An appeals court Monday delayed the men’s case to April 30, prompting Amnesty International to accuse the authorities of playing with Khawaja’s life. The government says he is in good health in a military hospital.
Bahrain, a U.S. ally that hosts Washington’s Fifth Fleet, has been in turmoil since the protests began. Though martial law and Saudi troops were brought in to crush them after one month, the strife has continued with regular mass marches by opposition parties and violent clashes with riot police.
Foreign governments, rights groups and media watchdogs have criticized Bahrain for its handling of the protests and the slow pace of reforms.
Following a public relations debacle over the Grand Prix, the government said Monday it had appointed a new minister of state for information affairs.