Human rights groups slam sentencing of Bahraini activist who ripped up photo of King

Published October 22nd, 2015 - 11:00 GMT
Human rights groups have been criticizing the Bahraini government for cracking down on protesters (AFP/File)
Human rights groups have been criticizing the Bahraini government for cracking down on protesters (AFP/File)

Reports said on Wednesday that Bahrain’s Court of Appeals reduced the human rights activist’s sentence from three years in prison to one year.

The court also imposed a 3,000 Bahraini dinar ($7,700) fine on the 32-year-old activist, the daughter of prominent Bahraini imprisoned rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja.

The mother of two who has been detained and released a number of times since December 2011, has already served one year in prison on charges including taking part in illegal gatherings, insulting police forces and ripping another picture of the king back in 2012.

Meanwhile, human rights group Amnesty International (AI) has slammed the court’s decision, saying it is just the latest example of the Al Khalifa regime’s "total disregard" for the right to freedom of expression.

“The Bahraini Court of Appeals’ decision to reject Zainab Al-Khawaja’s appeal for freedom and to incarcerate her for one year is a vindictive assault on freedom of expression and offers yet another example of the Bahraini authorities’ use of oppressive tactics to silence peaceful activists,” Amnesty International’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa Program, James Lynch, said.

Zainab’s father is currently serving a life sentence for allegedly plotting to overthrow the kingdom.

Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations on the streets of Bahrain since mid-February 2011, calling for the Al Khalifa family to relinquish power.

Bahraini regime forces, backed by Saudi troops, have cracked down on protesters, killing scores of them. A large number of Bahraini activists are also serving time behind bars.

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