Military Trial of Bahraini Activist Khawaja Begins

Zainab al-Khawaja, the daughter of arrested Bahraini human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, announced that her father was put on trial by a military court last Thursday. Khawaja was arrested along with his two sons-in-law earlier in April when the government began to crack-down harshly utilizing check-points within the city of Manama and in outlying Shi’ite villages.

The past two months has seen the worst unrest since back in the 1990s, mostly originating in the Shi’ite majority community in opposition to the Sunni-led government of this Gulf Arab Kingdom.

In reaction to the widespread uprisings taking place in Bahrain, the King enacted martial law as well as requesting troops from neighboring Sunni-led countries to help put down the revolt.

As a result of this crackdown hundreds of citizens have been arrested, a large number of whom are politicians and opposition activists. The government claims that only those accused of perpetrating a crime were arrested, and that all accusations will be investigated.

“The trial against him (Khawaja) started today but we family members were not allowed to enter the court. I don’t know what charges are brought against him,” his daughter Zainab al-Khawaja said.

“My father called last night. He didn’t sound fine. I think he has a mouth injury because he could barely speak,” she said.

“He kept saying oppression is great,” said Khawaja, who on Thursday stopped a week-long hunger strike to demand the release of her family members.