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© 2009 Douglas J. Klostermann - Photoshare

Stop persecuting women's rights defenders in Bahrain!

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Jailed Bahraini women's rights defende Ghada Jamsheer was arrested in August upon return from seeing her doctor in London. She is very sick and can’t carry out her treatment in prison, where it is very cold and many women are sick, putting her at increased risk.


In a call from prison, she said, “Here in the jail, they don’t treat me necessarily very well because I’m a human rights defender. Please do something to help me. I want to get out.”

She is very worried about her young daughter, who relies on her mother for support.

Ghada Jamsheer (610x470)

Other women who have been jailed include human rights defender Zainab Al-Khawaja, freed from prison with her baby son on 31 May after serving time for ripping up a photo of the King. She was freed on humanitarian grounds, but she and her family were forced to flee to Denmark in June after being threatened that if she didn’t leave immediately, she would serve many more years in prison.

Her sister Maryam Al-Khawaja, Co-Director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), already lives in Denmark in exile – if she returns home she faces a one-year prison sentence incurred when she tried to return home to Bahrain.

Among the women human rights defenders in Bahrain who are not able to work freely are:

  • Nedal Al-Salman, Head of International Relations and the Women’s and Children’s Rights Program at the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), who was not permitted to leave the country on 29 August to participate in the UN Human Rights Council.
  • Ebtisam Al-Saaegh, networking officer for Salam for Democracy and Human Rights, who was prevented on 27 August from leaving via the causeway with Saudi Arabia.
  • Enas Oun, Head of BCHR’s Monitoring and Documentation team, who was prevented from flying to a human rights workshop in Tunisia on 22 August.
  • Nazeeha Saeed, France 24 and Radio Monte Carlo correspondent, who was prevented from traveling on 29 June; and later summoned to the Public Prosecution where she was accused of allegedly "practising journalism without a permit."
  • Jalila Al-Salman, Vice-President of the Bahrain Teachers Society, was prevented from traveling to Oslo on 13 June to receive the 2015 Arthur Svensson Prize in recognition of her union activism and commitment to human rights issues.
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