23:51 GMT01 October 2020
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    Despite international protests, Bahrain has sentenced the prominent human rights figure to a year in prison. Maryam Khawaja was charged with assaulting police officers after refusing to hand over her phone.

    MANAMA, December 1 (Sputnik) — 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, a RIA Novosti correspondent reported Monday.

    "The Court found Maryam Khawaja guilty of assaulting police officers and sentenced her to one year of imprisonment," the court decree read.

    Khawaja is the director of the Beirut-based Gulf Center for Human Rights and daughter of Bahraini human rights activist Abdulhadi Khawaja. She was arrested in Manama on August 30 while travelling from Denmark, where she is also a national, to visit her imprisoned father, and charged with assaulting police officers after refusing to hand over her phone.

    According to the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, Khawaja's Danish passport was taken and she was prohibited from using her mobile phone. Khawaja and her lawyer also claimed she was beaten by officers of the law enforcement agencies.

    Her arrest has been heavily scrutinized by thousands of human rights activists, who want democratic change in the state.

    International human rights organizations, including the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), have repeatedly appealed to Bahrain's government to stop Maryam Khajawa's prosecution and called her arrest politically motivated.

    The Shia human rights activist is one of the many activists targeted by the Sunni-ruled Bahraini government. According to the OHCHR, the kingdom has detained over 15 Shia political activists this year alone.


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