Bahrain jails activist for insulting king

Zainab al-Khawaja sentenced to three years after tearing up a photo of the king while making a court appearance.

    Zainab al-Khawaja's father is serving a life sentence for his role in 2011 protests [AP]
    Zainab al-Khawaja's father is serving a life sentence for his role in 2011 protests [AP]

    A Bahraini court has sentenced a prominent opposition activist to three years in prison for insulting the king after she tore up the monarch's photo, her lawyer has said.

    The activist, Zainab al-Khawaja, gave birth only a few weeks earlier. 

    Al-Khawaja on Thursday was also fined the equivalent of around $8,000, lawyer Mohammed al-Wasti told The Associated Press news agency.

    She has not yet been put in jail, but told Al Jazeera that she was prepared to go in order to further her activism.

    "Tearing up the picture of the king is not about the king himself, it is symbolic to trying to break the fear that the government are trying to control people through.

    "As a mother I worry about my five-year-old daughter and my one-week-old son, but as an activist I know this is necessary.

    "Human rights and democracy are not just a dream, they are a goal, and we are willing to endure sacrifices to get closer to this goal," she said.

    Her father Abdulhadi al-Khawaja is serving a life sentence for his role in 2011 protests by Shia Muslims demanding greater rights from the Sunni-led government.

    Her sister Maryam was sentenced this week in absentia to a year in prison on charges of assaulting police. Maryam is currently in exile in Denmark.

    Zainab al-Khawaja was detained in October after she tore up a photo of King Hamad while in court facing charges for two previous incidents of tearing up the king's photo.

    She was eight months pregnant at the time of her detention, but was released from custody in November and gave birth to a boy.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera And Agencies


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