DUBAI: Leading female Bahraini activist Zainab al-Khwaja was sentenced to one month in jail for participating in “unlawful” demonstrations, her lawyer told reporters after the court session on Monday.
Al-Khawaja was found guilty of entering the “prohibited area” of Pearl Square, the main location of 2011 protests who have been violently cracked down upon by security forces, since an uprising in the country began on February 12, the lawyer said.
She also was fined 100 dinars.
Her lawyers condemned the charges and the supposed “banning” of protests in the main square, saying there was “no formal decision declaring that Pearl Square is a forbidden area.”
Al-Khawaja, who tweets at @angryarabiya, has faced more than one dozen charges this year alone for “speaking out about human rights violations in Bahrain, where dozens of people have been killed since pro-democracy protests began in February 2011,” ABNA news agency reported.
Activists in Bahrain tell Bikyamasr.com that the scheduling of the verdict comes as no surprise.
“We have long fought against the ongoing violations of the police and this government, so for them to laugh at international human rights is not surprising,” said Waleed, a 22-year-old university student, speaking via telephone.
The young activist and blogger has a massive litany of charges against her.
Al-Khawaja has already been jailed for “illegally” protesting, “insulting the king, and inciting hatred against the regime.”
A “disrupting traffic” charge was made after she staged a one-person protest outside the prison where her father, human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, is serving a life sentence for his role in organizing protests.
She again made international headlines after being targeted and shot in the leg with a tear gas canister by police last June. She was then put in a cast, but police did not stop their assaults on her, arresting her and dragging her down a flight of stairs following a one-person protest in August.
She was then jailed for two months, even though she has a young daughter.
Her case has sparked international attention on the small Gulf kingdom, where an uprising has been violently put down by the minority Sunni regime, much with the help of Gulf neighbors, including Saudi Arabia.
In a November 23, 2011 report published by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) it said that there was a “culture of impunity” for abuses committed by security forces and police during the protests. It is still ongoing, activists continue to report.
Despite being an obvious target, Al-Khawaja won’t stop protesting. “We have a king who has been killing and torturing his own people. We should have the right to protest against that,” she said after the authorities banned all demonstrations in October 2012.