Document - Bahreïn. Une militante emprisonnée condamnée à une nouvelle peine de prison


Further information on UA: 232/12 Index: MDE 11/020/2013 Bahrain Date: 20 June 2013



Bahraini activist Zainab Al-Khawaja was sentenced to a further three months’ imprisonment on 22 May. She is a prisoner of conscience.

A lower criminal court in the capital, Manama, sentenced Zainab Al-Khawaja and fellow activist Ma'suma Sayyid Sharaf on 22 May to, respectively, three months' imprisonment and bail payment of 100 Bahraini Dinars (approx. US$265); and six months’ imprisonment and bail payment of BD200. Both had been convicted of "illegal gathering", "inciting hatred against the regime" and a further charge related to their alleged assault on police officers during arrest in December 2011. Zainab Al-Khawaja is in a detention centre for women in ‘Issa Town, and being denied visits by her family and lawyer for refusing to wear prison uniform. Ma'suma Sayyid Sharaf is free at present.

Zainab Al-Khawaja is now serving several short prison terms in at least four cases and is not due to be released before mid-December 2013. This and other sentences issued against her by lower criminal courts are final because she refused to lodge appeals before higher courts out of her conviction that Bahrain’s judiciary is controlled by the government. She has also refused to pay bail payments. She has been boycotting court hearings and refusing to appear before the Public Prosecution. Her lawyer has advized the Court of Cassation of these facts, hoping that it would review the verdicts. The court has not responded. She was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment on 28 February 2013 by the Appeal Court in Manama, for “insulting an officer” in a military hospital, overturning the verdict of a lower criminal court which had acquitted her on 2 May 2012: the Public Prosecution had appealed. On 27 February, the Appeal Court upheld a two-month prison sentence for "destroying government property", as she had torn up a picture of Bahrain’s king while detained in May 2012. The Appeal Court also upheld a one-month sentence, issued on 10 December 2012 by a lower criminal court, for "entering a restricted area" (al-Farooq Junction, formerly Pearl Roundabout). Zainab Al-Khawaja had already served eight days of this sentence before being released pending appeal. Zainab Al-Khawaja is still facing other trials.

Please write immediately in Arabic, English or your own language:

Expressing grave concern that Zainab Al-Khawaja has been imprisoned solely for peacefully exercising her rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, and urging the Bahraini authorities to release her immediately and unconditionally;

Urging them to allow her immediate access to her lawyer and family.



Shaikh Hamad bin ‘Issa Al Khalifa

Office of His Majesty the King

P.O. Box 555

Rifa’a Palace, al-Manama, Bahrain

Fax: +973 1766 4587 (keep trying)

Salutation: Your Majesty

Minister of Interior

Shaikh Rashid bin ‘Abdullah Al Khalifa

Ministry of Interior

P.O. Box 13, al-Manama, Bahrain

Fax: +973 1723 2661

Twitter: @moi_Bahrain

Salutation: Your Excellency

And copies to:

Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs

Shaikh Khalid bin Ali bin Abdullah Al Khalifa�Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs �P. O. Box 450, al-Manama, Bahrain �Fax: +973 1753 1284


Twitter: @Khaled_Bin_Ali�Salutation: Your Excellency�

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below:

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date. This is the seventh update of UA 232/12. Further information:


Jailed Activist gets further prison sentence

ADditional Information

Zainab Al-Khawaja is the daughter of activist ‘Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, a prisoner of conscience. She was first arrested in December 2011, together with another activist, Mas’uma Sayyid Sharaf, and released a few days later. They were charged with "illegal gathering" and "inciting hatred against the regime" after police broke up a peaceful protest at a roundabout outside Manama using teargas and sound bombs. When the police arrested her she was the only person remaining at the roundabout and was sitting on the ground. Video footage of her arrest shows two women police officers handcuffing her and dragging her to a police car a few metres away, banging her head repeatedly on the ground. After her release Zainab Al-Khawaja told Amnesty International that once she reached the police station, in the outskirts of Manama, she was punched in the head and kicked; Mas’uma Sayyid Sharaf was reportedly kicked and spat on.

Zainab Al-Khawaja was last arrested on 27 February 2013. That day the Appeal Court had upheld a one-month prison sentence, issued on 10 December 2012 by the Lower Criminal Court, for "entering a restricted area" (see above - the Pearl Roundabout). Zainab Al-Khawaja had already served eight days of this sentence before being released pending appeal. The following day she was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment by the Appeal Court in Manama, for “insulting an officer”, though she had been acquitted of the charges on 2 May 2012. Zainab Al-Khawaja has been arrested and released several times since December 2011.

Among the recommendations accepted by Bahrain in the Universal Periodic Review of 2012 are those calling on the government to abandon restrictions on human rights defenders. Since then, however, human rights defenders and other activists in Bahrain have continued to be harassed, arrested and even imprisoned for their human rights activities.

Two years after the uprising in Bahrain, and beneath the fanfare of subsequent reform, prisoners of conscience, including some arrested during the protests, remain behind bars and the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly continue to be suppressed. In recent months, not only have prisoners of conscience not been released, but more people have been jailed simply for daring to express their views, whether via Twitter or on peaceful marches. Bahraini courts have appeared more concerned with toeing the government’s line than offering effective remedy to all Bahrainis and upholding the rule of law.

The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) appointed by Royal Order on 29 June 2011 was charged with investigating and reporting on human rights violations committed in connection with the 2011 protests. At the launch of the BICI report in November 2011, the government publicly committed itself to implementing the recommendations set out in the report. The report recounted the government’s response to the mass protests and documented wide-ranging human rights abuses. Among its key recommendations, the report called on the government to bring to account those responsible for human rights violations, including torture and excessive use of force, and carry out independent investigations into allegations of torture.

However, many of the government’s pledges remain unfulfilled. The establishment of BICI and its report was considered to be a groundbreaking initiative, but more than a year on, the promise of meaningful reform has been betrayed by the government’s unwillingness to implement key recommendations around accountability; this includes its failure to carry out independent, effective and transparent investigations into allegations of torture and other ill-treatment and excessive use of force, and to prosecute all those who gave the orders to commit human rights abuses. For further information see Bahrain: Reform shelved, repression unleashed,

Name: Zainab Al-Khawaja, Ma'suma Sayyid Sharaf

Gender m/f: both female

Further information on UA: 232/12 Index: MDE 11/020/2013 Issue Date: 20 June 2013