Bahrain activist’s detention extended
MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) — A Bahraini court on Saturday ordered human rights activist Maryam al-Khawaja to remain in detention for a further 10 days as authorities continue to investigate her case, which stems from her decision to return to the Gulf nation to visit her jailed father.
Al-Khawaja was detained after arriving on a flight to Bahrain a week ago. Authorities have charged her with assaulting police after she refused to hand over her mobile phone during questioning at the airport. She denies the charge.
Al-Khawaja has dual Danish and Bahraini citizenship. She was returning to Bahrain to visit her activist father, prominent rights activist Abdulhadi Al Khawaja, who is on hunger strike to protest a life sentence he is serving in connection to his role in 2011 anti-government protests.
Lawyer Mohammed al-Jishi provided details of the court order following a hearing Saturday. He said a Danish Embassy representative also attended the hearing.
The tiny island nation of Bahrain is a Western ally that hosts the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet. It has faced more than three years of unrest from an opposition movement led by the country’s Shiite majority that is seeking greater political rights from the Sunni monarchy.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki this week said Washington is concerned about reports of al-Khawaja’s detention and is closely following developments in the case.