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Bahrain

Appeals Court Upholds 9-Month Jail Term against Zainab Al-Khawaja over Entering Jaw Prison without Permission

Bahrain’s Second High Criminal Appeals Court, presided over by judge Ibrahim Al-Zayed with the membership of judges Wajih Al-Shaer and Ayman Mahran and Yousef Bouhardan as secretariat, upheld, in absentia, a verdict sentencing human rights activist Zainab Al-Khawaja to 9 months in prison over insulting police officers and entering the reform and rehabilitation center without permission.

The Public Prosecution stated Al-Khawaja on August 28, 2014 publicly accused a sergeant and deputy sergeant of an incident that exposes them to punishment and scorn in addition to verbally and physically insulting them while they were performing their duties. The prosecution also claimed that she entered a restricted place. The Court of First Instance sentenced her to 6 months in prison over the first and second charges and 3 months over the third charge. The court specified 50 BD as bail for halting the execution of all charges.

Zainab Al-Khawaja entered the prison’s building to see her father Abdulhadi Al-Khajawa, the detained prominent human rights defender, while he was on hunger strike and after he stopped contacting his family, which raised concerns among the family. The authorities; however, told Zainab that she does not have permission to enter the area, which led to a quarrel between Al-Khawaja and the police. The police brought forth a case against her in which they accused her of entering a restricted area and insulting two police officers.

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