Human rights protestor and political prisoner, Zainab al Khawaja, has smuggled out a letter from her Bahraini jail cell, which was last night posted on Twitter by friends. In the letter, written in English, al Khawaja states that she will not be attending her own trial but intends to stay in prison to highlight the alleged human rights abuses of political prisoners in Bahrain.
Al Khawaja, who writes under the name ‘Angry Arabiya’ on Twitter, became famous for her role in the Bahraini uprising last year as well as for protesting her father’s detention and subsequent hunger strike. The human rights activist said she could not rest until other political prisoners such as Jaffar Salman and Hassan Oud were released. “Yes, I do dream of my daughter, while I sleep and also when I’m awake, but when I am home with her, I know my mind won’t be at peace. How could it be, while Jaffar Salman’s twin daughters are living without their dad for more than a year now.”
Writing from Isa Town Prison, she alleges that families of political dissidents have been targeted by the Bahraini government, citing 14-year-old Ali al Shaikh as an example: “Not only was Ali killed, but his family are being punished. Many of his family members have been in and out of jail. Some, the ones who witnessed the killing, have not come out.”
Human Rights Watch, a non-governmental organization, has described the situation in Bahrain as "critical" after the government crack down on pro-democracy protestors last year. According to their 2011 report, the government regularly uses torture as a method of extracting confessions from prisoners.
By Helen Brooks
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