Nearly 160 civil society groups from more than 60 countries have urged Bahrain’s King Hamad to order the unconditional release of rights activist Maryam al-Khawaja, Reporters Without Borders announced on Thursday.
The letter sent to the Bahraini king said: “We, the undersigned 155 civil society organizations based in over 60 countries write to you united in our condemnation of the politically motivated arrest of human rights defender and co-director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, Maryam al-Khawaja.”
“We urge that Maryam is immediately and unconditionally released,” it said.
Khawaja “is being persecuted for exercising her legitimate rights to freedom of expression and association in the defence of fundamental freedoms including her cooperation with international institutions and her important role in documenting human rights violations in Bahrain,” it said.
“We stand in solidarity with Maryam and all other human rights defenders wrongly imprisoned by your government for their work and beliefs,” it added.
Khawaja, a director of the Beirut-based Gulf Centre for Human Rights, also has Danish nationality and is a daughter of jailed Abdulhadi al-Khawaja.
She was arrested after arriving at Manama airport on August 30 and will stand trial from October 1.