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Front Line Defenders
The drive out to the military court building took us on a main road bypassing villages and eventually newly built apartment buildings.
We were about 20 minutes outside of downtown Manama, and heading to a military base in order to visit with Abdulhadi Al Khawaja, father of Zainab Al Khawaja who was driving fast in the hope of getting to see her father. We were late on the road because Zainab was at the appeal hearing of her husband who was sentenced to a 5-year prison term.
At the military court building, Abdulhadi and his 13 other co-defendants are brought into two rooms where family members are allowed to spend 3 hours with them every two weeks. They are allowed to bring clothes, books, food and other things to the men, most of which is permitted to be taken back to the prison. When Zainab and I arrived, colleagues from other human rights organizations had already tried to get in to see Abdulhadi but had been turned away. I checked in with the military police guards and headed to the door where Zainab was waiting. She opened and I rushed in in front of her, and headed straight for her dad, standing at the front of the room.