Deported Bahraini human rights activist on Egypt

Maryam al-Khawaja

From al-Ahram daily in Egypt:

Deported Bahraini activist decries ‘intimidation’ by Cairo airport authorities

In open letter to President Morsi, prominent Bahraini activist Miriam Al-Khawaja – denied entry into Egypt Sunday – accuses Cairo airport officials of blatant ‘intimidation’

Tuesday 28 Aug 2012

Bahraini activist Miriam Al-Khawaja, who was denied entry into Egypt and deported from Cairo International Airport on Sunday, has accused airport security officers of “intimidating” her prior to her deportation the same day.

“My Egyptian attorney insisted on knowing why I was considered a ‘threat’ to Egypt’s national security, and how they [they authorities] could deny me entry after stamping my passport,” Al-Khawaja said in an open letter to Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.

“We were told that, if I refused to leave voluntarily, I would be forcibly deported to Bahrain,” the activist added. “To intimidate me further, I was also informed that the Bahraini government had issued an arrest warrant for me.”

Al-Khawaja is a prominent Bahraini human rights activist and head of the foreign relations office of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR). The BCHR was originally founded by her father, Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, who is currently serving a life sentence in Bahrain for so-called crimes against the state.

She was deported from Cairo International Airport on Sunday within hours of her arrival to Egypt. Airport security sources had told Egyptian state news agency MENA that Al-Khawaja’s name had been put on the airport’s entrance-ban list by Egyptian security authorities.

Al-Khawaja had come close to being deported during a previous visit to Egypt in April, but Cairo airport security had ended up allowing her entry into the country at the last minute.

“Not long ago, Mr. President, you were personally on the receiving end of these arbitrary and unjust practices as a dissident,” Al-Khawaja’s letter read. “I respectfully ask you today, sir, as a fellow Arab: How can such blatant disregard for the law and basic human dignities continue under your watch?”

She added: “As the acting president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, I write to inform you that I am gravely concerned, as a human rights defender, by the unjust and hostile treatment I was subjected to in the Cairo airport.”

Following last year’s Tahrir Square uprising, a number of activists and journalists were banned from entering Egypt for undisclosed security reasons, a practice that had been routinely employed by the authoritarian regime of ousted president Hosni Mubarak.

President Morsi – who hails from Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood – was sworn in as the country’s first freely-elected head of state on 30 June after winning Egypt’s first post-Mubarak presidential election.

During the Mubarak era, Morsi was detained by security forces on more than one occasion due to his association with the Brotherhood, which had been formally outlawed since the 1950s. Membership in the group was finally decriminalised in the wake of Mubarak’s ouster.

Bahrain’s local twittersphere is experiencing the sudden disappearance of two of the most prominent anonymous pro-government Twitter accounts that were extremely active during the unrest of last year: here.

BAHRAIN GOVT HIRES 18 WESTERN COMPANIES TO IMPROVE IMAGE AFTER UNREST. New Project to Track Govt Spin Campaign Shows Over $32M Spent on PR: here.

Bahrain Live: Meeting with US 5th Fleet Commander, Prime Minister says US presence a “vital force”: here.

8 thoughts on “Deported Bahraini human rights activist on Egypt

  1. IMF demands cuts in Egypt

    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) wants to impose harsh austerity conditions on Egypt in return for new loan.

    After a summit in Cairo with IMF chief Christine Lagarde, President Mursi in Egypt announced that the IMF was set to lend around £3 billion.

    But the demands for Egypt to cut its budget deficit and cut back on public sector spending including fuel and food subsidies are harsh. They will hit millions of the poorest Egyptians.


  2. ‘In response to those who have contributed in support of the Bahrain government, I made no particular comment on the matter, except for the imbalance and selectivity of Western concern. I can only go on what I’ve read. But I’d like Jessica Willard (who says :’ Doctors were not arrested for treating patients and Saudi Arabia did not invade — or even have a role in dealing with protests. They secured strategic vital interests like those related to the oil industry.) to comment on the following:

    First ( from the Daily Telegraph, 15th June) :’ BAHRAIN faced renewed international scrutiny yesterday after its court of appeal upheld the convictions of nine Shia doctors and nurses arrested during last year’s thwarted pro–democracy uprising. And the Independent of the same date (sourced to AP) :’ An appeals court has sentenced nine medical staff accused of aiding last February’s anti-government uprising to jail terms, while setting free another nine. The court upheld 15-year sentences against two doctors who fled Bahrain. The other sentences ranged from five years to one month.

    The verdicts come nearly eight months after the 20 defendants were jailed for between five and 15 years by a now-disbanded security tribunal, set up by the Sunni monarchy as part of crackdowns against Shia-led protests. A retrial in a civilian court was later ordered.

    Many of the medics were working at the Salmaniya hospital in Manama when security forces violently suppressed the protests ‘

    A judge ruled that the nine, detained in a police raid on a hospital used to treat protesters wounded by the security forces, were guilty of plotting to overthrow the kingdom’s Sunni royal family. Although their sentences were reduced, and nine of their colleagues were acquitted, the decision led to outrage from international human rights groups who have always viewed the case as politically motivated.’

    And from ‘The Times’ of the same date, bylined ‘Hugh Tomlinson : ‘A court in Bahrain has sentenced nine doctors to up to five years in jail for supporting anti-government protests last year (Hugh Tomlinson writes). Nine other medics, including six women, were acquitted. The doctors were arrested in March last year and accused of using blood bags to exaggerate wounds, stashing weapons in a hospital and using ambulances to run guns.’

    They denied the charges and said they confessed under torture. Opposition groups claim that the doctors were persecuted for treating protesters’. She might also give us her thoughts on the Amnesty International statement dated 15th June 2011, and to be found here

    I might also invite her comment on this report from ‘the Times’ of 15th March 2011: ‘Saudi Arabian troops and armoured vehicles crossed into Bahrain yesterday amid fears that the Royal Family was preparing for a final assault to crush anti-government protests that have crippled the island kingdom.
    Saudi officials said 1,000 troops had crossed the causeway separating the countries on Sunday night, increasing sectarian tensions in Bahrain.

    ‘Witnesses on the King Fahd causeway reported that a further 200 vehicles crossed yesterday afternoon to expand the “Peninsula Shield Force” raised by the regional Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to support the Bahraini Government after a month of violent unrest. The UAE also pledged to send forces.

    Opposition groups denounced the move as an act of war. In a letter to the UN Security Council and Ban Ki Moon, the UN Secretary-General, the parties called for immediate intervention by the West. “We consider the arrival of any soldier or military vehicle into Bahraini territory … an overt occupation of the Kingdom of Bahrain and a conspiracy against the unarmed people of Bahrain,” the opposition statement said.

    In what way am I therefore ‘inaccurate’ in referring, as I did to ‘what looked to some people rather like an invasion by neighbouring Saudi Arabia, whose forces arrived in British-built vehicles’. Or in saying’ A particularly unpleasant aspect of the repression has been the punishment of doctors for simply treating those wounded in street clashes.’ ? By the way, what does she mean when she says ‘I realize you have no love for the Arab world’. Does she? Do I? How does she know? ‘

    I can find no trace of any response to this challenge from Ms Willard. Can I therefore assume that she concedes that her criticism of me was mistaken?


  3. Bahrain: Alkhalifa humiliated into unconditional submission to Iran

    Bahrain Freedom Movement – 31/08/2012 – 3:59 p | Hits: 39

    One of most outrageous and humiliating initiatives by the Alkhalifa ruling clan is its decision to unilaterally send its ambassador to Tehran.

    The unexplained decision came after almost twenty months of propaganda bombardment of Iran for allegedly instigating the protests in Bahrain. Three phases have now emerged of Alkhalifa approach to the Islamic Republic. The first lasted one month after the start of the 14th February Revolution. Alkhalifa officials went out of their way to absolve Iran of any role. The second phase lasted 19 months starting the day the Saudis invaded Bahrain. To justify this Saudi aggression the propaganda machine of both Riyadh and Manama started their campaign against Iran although no one, apart from US, UK believed them. Now the third phase has started. The dictator returned his emissary in a humiliating way. Iran reacted by refusing to send its ambassador to Manama. Foreign Minister, Ali Salehi repeated the assertion that the ambassador would not return “until the regime’s aggression against the people has ended”. What a humiliation to a bankrupt illegitimate regime.

    Nevertheless, the repression has increased in recent days. The leaders of the Revolution have been ill-treated to the extent that one of them has been transferred to hospital after his condition deteriorated as a result of torture. Mohammad Hassan Jawad, 65, is the eldest prisoner and is being targeted for possible elimination to stop him giving evidence against Nasser, the son of the dictator. Nasser has been accused of personally torturing many prisoners. At least three have testified against him, including Mr Jawad. Fears are growing that the three may be eliminated to stop them giving evidence against this torturer. Mr Jawad is reported to be seriously ill, vomiting blood and in great pain. He has been taken to the military hospital. Some people saw him there and described his condition as poor. His family is being denied access to him. The other leaders as well as Nabeel Rajab have been subjected to abuse, torture and other forms of ill-treatment. They are being persecuted for refusing to attend Alkhalifa court in recent weeks. The dictator is yet to announce his decision on their fate next week. International NGOs and governments have called for their immediate and unconditional release but they are still incarcerated.

    The youngest political prisoner has been sentenced to one more week of incarceration in the torture chambers. Mirza Abdul Shahid, 12, has been subjected to horrible treatment and all calls for his release have been unheeded.

    Two other children are denied medical care for their ailment. Hussain Ali Hassan Al Aradi, 16, has 25 shotgun pellets in his body, only four of which have been removed. He was arrested two months ago, sentenced to 45 days initially, then renewed for a similar period. He is accused of taking part in a peaceful demonstration. Another child is Sayyed Ali Sayyed Mustafa Al Mahafdha, 16, who was arrested two months ago. He suffers from inability to pass water, high temperature and persistent stomach ache. He is held at the notorious Dry Dock prison. He is unable to talk loudly because of pain. His father said that despite repeated pleas he remains behind bars while health continues to deteriorate.

    There have been several demonstrations in support of Bahraini revolution in several countries. In Sydney, Australia, tens of people demonstrated on Tuesday in support of the people of Bahrain and calling for the release of Nabeel Rajab. In Washington yesterday, a group of Americans entered the Bahrain Embassy compound, held their banners depicting Nabeel Rajab and Zainab Alkhawaja and calling for their immediate and unconditional release and shouting anti-regime slogans. After a while the police asked them to leave the compound but allowed them to stand on the pavement protesting against the Alkhalifa hereditary dictatorship.

    Meanwhile in Manama, the show trial of Zainab Al Khawaja was yesterday adjourned until 3rd September as well as that of Fakhriya Ahmad who is accused of sheltering a wanted person. Next week will be a crucial period for the country. The dictator will announce his decision on the fate of the leaders whose show trial had been adjourned until 4th September.

    The people, meanwhile, have been conducting their protests and demonstrations on daily basis; day and night. Women participate in almost every protest anytime of the day. The standard slogan is: People want regime change; Down with Hamad.

    Bahrain Freedom Movement
    31st August 2012


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