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UN Call on Bahrain to Release Three Female Critics of Government

© REUTERS / StringerProtesters holding pictures of Al Waad President Ebrahim Shareef march during an anti-government rally organised by Bahrain's main opposition party, Al Wefaq in Budaiya west of Manama, December 26, 2014
Protesters holding pictures of Al Waad President Ebrahim Shareef march during an anti-government rally organised by Bahrain's main opposition party, Al Wefaq in Budaiya west of Manama, December 26, 2014 - Sputnik International
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UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) called the Bahraini authorities to release three female activists.

Bahrain's Supreme Criminal Court of Appeal has sentenced prominent human rights activist Maryam Khawaja to one year in prison on the charge of assaulting police officers. - Sputnik International
Bahrain Sentences Human Rights Activist Maryam Khawaja to One Year in Jail
UNITED NATIONS, December 29 (Sputnik) — UN human rights experts on Monday urged the Bahraini government to free three women detained for exercising free expression and free association, a statement published on the website of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said.

"Deprivation of liberty on the sole ground of having exercised the right to free expression may be considered arbitrary. … All three activists have been detained or sentenced purely for their criticism of government authorities," Mads Andenas and three other experts from the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council, a UN body of independent experts, said in the statement.

The activists named are Maryam Al-Khawaja, the co-director of the Gulf Center for Human Rights, her sister Zainab Al-Khawaja, and Ghada Jamsheer, the head of the Women's Petition Committee.

Human rights activist Maryam al-Khawaja flashes the victory sign outside a police station in Muharraq, Bahrain, Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014 - Sputnik International
Bahrain Supreme Court Upholds Case Against Prominent Political Activist
According to the UN experts, the Al-Khawaja sisters, the daughters of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights' former president, were respectively charged on December 1 and 4 with allegedly attacking airport security personnel and tearing up a picture of Bahrain's king in court in October.

The third woman, Ghada Jamsheer, who has been fighting for a revision of Bahrain's family laws, was in detention since mid-September for three months for her "defamatory tweets." She has been under house arrest since mid-December and is facing 12 charges, assaulting a police officer among them.

"We urge the authorities to turn away from such persecution and immediately drop all the charges against the Al-Khawaja sisters and Ms. Jamsheer," they added.

The human rights experts concluded by saying that they had formerly expressed concern with the Bahraini government over the way it treats human rights activists.

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