21 Dec 2011, Last Update 22:00

Bahrain police have released Zainab al-Khawaja and Masooma AlSayed after five days in custody.

They were released on Tuesday night 20 Dec 2011 pending trial.

After her release Zainab tweeted that the last few days had been "tough".

While the two women are now free please take action to make Bahrain drop charges against them and stop their trial, as they are being prosecuted for merely practicing their basic rights of freedom of expression and assembly. Also The officers responsible for the seen violence against AlKhawja have been identified (names below) and should be taken accountable for the clear assaults they have committed.


19 Dec 2011

Zainab Alkhawaja (@angryarabiya)'s trial will be tomorrow. According to her family, Zainab is being kept in a cell with 40 women imprisoned on charges related to drugs an prostitution, and there is only one shared bathroom.

When Zainab was taken to Budaiya police station to see her 2 years old daughter Jude, which never happened, she was subjected to verbal harassments and threats, told she would not be allowed to see her daughter again except once a week.

Acc to lawyer, charges against Zainab (details below) can get up to two years imprisonment.

Police officers who have assaulted Zainab were identified: Police woman Gumasha has beaten Zainab on her head, arms and legs and spat on her, used sectarian derogatory language. Officer Isa Yousif Mohammed BuKamal spat on Zainab Alkhawaja, and has beaten Masooma AlSayed in detention.

HRDs call to free Activist Zainab Al-Khawaja

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16 Dec 2011

Interrogation with Massoma AlSayed and Zainab AlKhawaja started after 2 am and 4 am respectively (Bahrain time) and lasted for around 2 hours each. According to lawyer, interrogations were not recorded as per BICI recommendations.

Zainab Zainab AlKhawaja was charged with 1. illegal gathering 2. assaulting a female officer 3. inciting hatred against the regime. Masooma AlSayed was charged with 1. illegal gathering 2. assaulting a female officer.

Masooma Alsayed was kicked in her rights leg and is now limping, was not seen by doctor. There are red marks around her wrists because of the handcuffs.

Zainab when arrested had something sprayed in her eyes and was unable to see for approximately an hour. At the police station was beaten on head, arms and legs, as she was unable to see. Zainab recognized the voice of the policewoman who beat her, public prosecutor refused to write it down. Lawyer attempted to show public prosecutor video of the arrest, he refused to see it.

Policewoman came in with bandaged arm claiming Masooma and Zainab hit her. Zainab refused to sign statement unless policewoman's name who hit her was taken. Prosecutor got angry and made everyone leave the room.

Prosecutor decided that Zainab and Masooma will be detained for 7 days. They will be then presented to a judge who will decide whether to extend their detention or not.

Lawyer says they are worried about the safety of Zainab and Masooma as same police who beat them are transfering them to prison. The same police who arrested Zainab and Masooma are the ones who brought them to public prosecution and testified against them.

Zainab was examined today by the public prosecution's forensic doctor.

Zainab and Masooma have now been moved to womens detention in Isa Town. Police are refusing to take clothes for Zainab Alkhawaja or allow her family to bring her glasses although she cant see well without them, they are also not allowing her toothbrush or soap despite her needing to change and clean up after being dragged on the ground.

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16 Dec , 02:00 am

We writing to you regarding the arrest and physical violence and ill-treamtment practiced against human rights defender Zainab AlKhawaj and to call for your immediate action to guarantee her release and protection from further physical violence. We are deeply concerned about her safety after seeing the violence she was subject to during arrest.

Today Bahraini security forces used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse hundreds of opposition supporters attempting to protest alongside a highway leading to the island kingdom’s capital (more details) . Zainab Alkhawaja, 28, a human rights activist, has participated in this peaceful protest. She staged a sit-in on a roundabout with several women. The riot police have responded with shooting tear gas canister on the women where all of them left the place except Zainab. She continued her sit-in peacefully to exercise her right to freedom of expression in accordance to the declaration of the Human Rights. The police again shot tear gas canister, this time directly on Zainab video.

The female police came toward Zainab and handcuffed her. As seen on recorded video and the attached photos, Zainab has been slapped and hit on the face, dragged from the handcuff itself on ground all the way through to the pavement then to the street, she had her Muslim head scarf removed from her head. It's very worrying the way she was ill-treated in public.

She, as well as another woman Ms Masooma alSayed were then taken to the police station and referred to the general prosecution "for taking part & calling for illegal gathering & one of them attacked public security female employee near Busaiba" as MOI said in a statement. The available videos clearly show no kind of physical assaults practiced by Zainab.

At the general prosecution, Zainab told the lawyer that the female officer "took my scarf off and tied it around my mouth to stop me from speaking". Lawyer Zahra Masood who is with zainab Alkhawaja in the general prosecution, said that zainb looks tired & hardly opens her eye. She said there were red marks around her wrists due to the handcuffs. She is still there (since around 9pm Bahrain time) as we write these words.

Zainab is mother of 2 years old child. Her husband, father and uncle are all in jail. He father is the prominent Human Rights activist AbdulHadi AlKhawaja, a former Regional Protection coordinator for the Middle East with Front Line and former President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR). He is now in jail and sentenced to life be military court for taking part in the Feb 14 protest. Her husband Wafi AlMajed, was arrested along with her father and is now sentenced to 4 years in jail also by a military court.

Zainab has been targeted before, arrested from inside Bahrain UN house in June 2011 and before that she summoned for interrogation at the police station.

See this video where Zainab talks about her activism, family, human rights, Abdulhadi and the difficulties of struggling for human rights in Bahrain: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOQgvw7TGjk&sns=fb. More information about her below.

We call you to take immediate action to guarantee the release of Zainab AlKhwaja and her fellow who were arrested and assaulted for merely exercising her right to freedom of expression and assembly in accordance to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Please take every action in your hand to call for her release and protection from further targeting and ill-treatment. The officers responsible for the seen violence against AlKhawja can be easily identified and should be taken accountable for he clear assaults they have committed.

More about Zainab AlKhawaja

Zainab has been very active on twitter during the Feb-March protests under the name of @angryarabiya as she was posting news and reporters directly from the ground to her twitter page. After the crackdown on protesters last March, multiple members of her family were arrested, including her husband, uncle, brother-in-law and her Father Abdulhadi Alkhawaja on 9 April , who is a prominent Human Right defender in Bahrain, a former Regional Protection coordinator for the Middle East with Front Line and former President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR).

Zainab, as a witness on the brutal arrest of her family members has exposed to international media how her father was aggressively beating: DemocracyNow youtube.com/watch?v=naUBnvmDju8 BBC www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-mi.. CNN articles.cnn.com/2011-04-09/world/bahrain.a..

In April 2011, She sent an open letter to Obama and started a hunger Strike that lasted for 10 days and gained international awareness and was the first of a long chin of hunger strikes in support to the Bahraini people.

More photos from today:

After being tear gassed

Archive Photo - taken few weeks ago during a protest

Archive photo, with her daughter